'Put your best face forward' / 'I could care less'

Damien Hall halldj at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Fri Feb 3 15:14:31 UTC 2006

Just a note to say that, at the moment, neither "Put your best face forward" nor
"I could care less" is current in BrE.  We still talk about feet in the first
case and, in the second, the version without the negative is typically
nonsensical to a speaker of BrE.  If they have heard it at all, they will be
vaguely aware that it's an American version of "I couldn't care less", but they
will think that the Americans have got it wrong and aren't talking sense!
("Surely, if you could care less, then you *do* care to some extent, maybe even
a lot?")  Of course, this analysis won't be new to members of this list -
Americans have cited it to me as an acknowledgement that their own expression
is strange - but I put it here for the record.

Damien Hall
University of Pennsylvania

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list