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- Jamie Johnston on I Could Care Fewer at 12:20 on 17-08-2014 - link On the subject of attempts to verbalize the extent to which one does or does not care, I've just heard someone out in the street shouting, 'I don't give two monkeys'.
- Sonia Mitchell on Matthew Reilly Hits the Exclamation Mark. Bam! at 21:49 on 14-08-2014 - link Hmm, could be something in that. Maybe there's some kind of Axe Cop arrangement.
- Angmar Bucket on Matthew Reilly Hits the Exclamation Mark. Bam! at 01:50 on 14-08-2014 - link Is it possible he's a 12-year-old boy? Has anyone ever seen this "Matthew Reilly"? And if they have seen him and confirm he's a grown man, has anyone considered the possibility he's a stand-in for some young boy somewhere with deep pockets?! And then his bodyguards show up and use their guns to shoot whoever finds out?!
Sonia Mitchell on Matthew Reilly Hits the Exclamation Mark. Bam!
at 22:15 on 13-08-2014 - link
Re Temple, it's been while since I read it but that main issue I remember was what the hell the rapas (big cats) were eating. There is no way human sacrificealone could account for a whole pack of them.
- Angmar Bucket on Matthew Reilly Hits the Exclamation Mark. Bam! at 03:16 on 09-08-2014 - link I know this is my first post with my shiny new user name but all I can say to the above comment's explanation of this research style and the fruit thereof is this: ?!
Ashimbabbar on The Worlds Dick Made
at 11:50 on 08-08-2014 - link
re The World Jones Made: Cussick's disgust with the gender-shifting mutants has always struck me as part of his characterization - a shallow and ineffectual man who embraces Relativism because it's the only thing that gives him a sense of identity: a toy made to order for Jones. Nina is as shallow ad pathetic as he is in her 'rebellion' that leads her to join Jones' fascistic movement…
Jones is clearly expected to dominate the novel and to have no serious human foils, which is logical enough considering his power - and to bring his end by his own errors as by the requirements of tragedy…
Arthur B on Matthew Reilly Hits the Exclamation Mark. Bam!
at 20:57 on 07-08-2014 - link
Just read Temple and it really drives home his amazingly inconsistent approach to research. For instance, he'll look up the names of all the guns and aircraft he utilises and he'll read up on the genocide of the Incas, but at the same time he has absolutely no qualms about making shit up that on the one hand requires a certain baseline level of understanding of the subject matter he's dealing with to think up in the first place, but at the same time utterly flies in the face of reality.
For instance, the super-isotope that the Incan idol is made out of and can be used to make a superweapon that can blow up the Earth is exponentially more powerful than Uranium or Plutonium and about twice as heavy as either because it was formed in a binary star system, and everything in binary star systems is doubled apparently.
Dan H on I Could Care Fewer
at 11:02 on 05-08-2014 - link
There are dialects where "I forgot it at home" is unacceptable? Hey, I learned something new!
I'm *pretty sure* based on a small straw poll of my colleagues, that it's incorrect/non-standard in British English (everybody I've tried it on sounds really confused). Of course there's always a possibility that I'm just unfamiliar with the phrase and am projecting that onto my students (I semi-seriously suspect that a lot of language "rules" start exactly this way - some teacher has an idiosyncratic understanding of correct usage, and this propagates throughout the population over a decade or so as their students go around "correcting" other people).
For what it's worth, in my experience people do mis-hear some things, like "could of" for "could've"
That's very true, but again the ngram data for the two looks very different.
I also think there's quite a big difference between "could of", "tow the line" and "could care less" because I think the non-standard/deprecated usages come from very different places (although I am, of course, not really basing this on much evidence).
I suspect that "tow the line" comes from the fact that, as you observe, a lot of British idioms don't make much sense anyway and so people who hear the phrase spoken basically have to pick a homophone at random (indeed you could reasonably argue that "tow the line" makes a lot *more* sense and even - if you are averse to using nouns as verbs - constitutes "better" English). There is basically no way you can correct this yourself because the whole idiom is a set phrase and its conventions have to be learned arbitrarily. You could almost see it as a pure spelling issue, since somebody who says "to(e/w) the line" means "to(e/w) the line" not "drag the line behind you" or "poke the line with your feet."
"Could of" is slightly more complicated. I don't think this one *is* a spelling error, in that I think people who use it definitely intend to write "could of" and not "could have" (they are, in my experience, usually perfectly capable of writing the word "have" in other contexts, and nobody I know ever says or writes "I of got a lovely bunch of coconuts"). So I think these people have, in essence, internalized a rule which says that the correct way to express possibility or counterfactual obligation is with the construction "could of" or "should of".
I would agree that this variant almost certainly comes from the fact that "could've" and "should've" sound almost identical to "could of" and "should of" in many accents, but I think it is different from the "tow the line" example in that it seems to represent a genuine divergent grammar.
Finally, I think "could care less" is different again. Unlike "tow/toe" the line "couldn't care less" isn't an arbitrary set phrase with a meaning wholly unique unto itself, and unlike "could of" people who say "could care less" don't exhibit a consistent pattern of saying "could" instead of "couldn't". The most plausible explanation of "could care less" (for me) is simply that "could care less" and "couldn't care less" come from two sets of related phrases, one hyperbolic and one understated.
So "couldn't care less" is related to "couldn't eat another bite", "couldn't agree more", "couldn't have liked it more" and "couldn't be happier". All of which, I would argue, roughly mean "my feelings incline strongly in the direction indicated" but none of which, I would also argue, constitute literal claims about your absolute capacity or your capacity relative to other people.
Conversely "could care less" is related to "could have been worse", "could be better", "could take another cup of coffee" "could be persuaded", and so on. There is less commonality between these phrases, and their meanings sometimes vary depending on tone and emphasis ("it could have been worse", for example, could be used to mean that something was very bad but you are trying to make light of it, or that something was pretty good but you are trying to underplay it).