Originally Posted by v5v
The "grad student" remark was supposed to be funny. I withdraw it in the interest of not muddying the discussion.
My point was, and is, that even big, respected organizations sometimes get basic, fundamental stuff wrong, because even big, respected organizations are run by people and people are fallible. My providing a link that rebuts your link would be pointless, because my position is that it doesn't matter whether "Expert A" says it *is* a sarcastic inversion while "Expert B" says it is not. Either expert could be wrong. Want proof? Watch the news on TV. Big, respected organizations sometimes get important details wrong. Read court documents. No better example of a system designed to wring out mistakes, yet they happen ALL THE TIME. How about textbooks? Do I need to go on? I'm not trying to insult anyone, I'm just saying that just because dictionary.com gives a phrase a label, it doesn't mean they're right.
I'm not trying to arrogantly put myself above so-called experts. I am and always have been an utter moron. That's why I'm so sure they're mistaken -- the test is so simple that even a doofus like me can get through it: apply the definition to the phrase and see if it fits, right? In the case of "I could care less" it just doesn't. You don't have to take my word for it or that of any third-party expert because you can do it yourself. The phrase doesn't fit the model of deliberately saying the opposite of what you mean to make a point about the actual intent. Even the author at dictionary.com failed to explain the logic in the claim, even though (s)he made a point of explaining how it applies to the other examples (s)he offered.
Besides, maybe I'm misreading what the dictionary.com author wrote, but to me it read kinda like, "I dunno, people in the States started saying it this way and no one is really sure why. Sarcastic inversion maybe?"
1. I'm not anonymous, I've said before that my name is Lorin and that I'm an audio engineer in Vancouver. Beyond that, my employer expects me to maintain an appropriate level of discretion. If you actually care to know more you can PM me, but you really needn't bother because (see next point)
2. I make no claim of special expertise. In fact, I claim that none is required.
3. I don't know how to be any MORE logical than to simply apply the definition the author supplied and see if it applies to the phrase in question.
4. Since a fundamental tenet of my argument is that so-called "experts" can be mistaken, it would be a contradiction of request 3 ("logical" argument) for me to provide citations supporting my position. But if it makes you feel better, here, try this: http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-ico1.htm
To me it looks like our "expert" at dictionary.com just plagiarized bits and pieces of this document to make a quick point, but failed to grasp the broader intent.
In the linked article the author does give a nod to the argument that it's a sarcastic inversion, but suggests that he, too, thinks that's an academically interesting but ultimately flawed explanation, suggesting instead that it's really just the result of people being basically stupid.