Other Annoyances

Being the crusty old pedants that we are, we cannot, nay, must not stop at BTQ Abuse. Here are a few other quirks of modern Western vernacular which have roused our ire. These are but the tip of an iceberg, representing what we believe to be the most egregious examples of literary deficiency.

Could Care Less

"Ew, like, your ex-boyfriend married his elderly gay step-uncle!"
"Oh bah, like, totally, I'm over him and I could care less."

If you say you could care less, it implies that you are currently caring more. If it is your intention to say that you do not care, please say that you "couldn't care less." Does it make sense to you that having a Caring Level of Zero would preclude the possibility of a below-Zero Caring Level, and therefore you could not care less? Please refer to The Caring Continuum for a visualization of your error.

Could Of / Would Of / Should Of / Had Of

For this apalling verbal travesty, we refer you to this passage from The American Language, by that infamous and disagreeable iconoclast, H. L. Mencken:

To have, as an auxiliary, probably because of its intimate relationship with the perfect tenses, is under heavy pressure, and promises to disappear from the situations in which it is still used.... Sometimes it is confused ignorantly with a distinct of, as in "she would of drove," and "I would of gave." More often it is shaded to a sort of particle, attached to the verb as an inflection, as in "he would 'a tole you," and "who could 'a took it?" But this is not all. Having degenerated to such forms, it is now employed as a sort of auxiliary to itself, in the subjunctive, as in "if you had of went," "if it had of been hard," and "if I had of had." I have encountered some rather astonishing examples of this doubling of the auxiliary.

Mencken, H.L. The American language: An inquiry into the development of English in the United States, 2nd ed. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1921; Bartleby.com, 2000. www.bartleby.com/185/.


Since when did "literally" start meaning "not literally?" An adverb meant, quite obviously, to point out the literal nature of something being said, now is being thrown about merely to punctuate figures of speech which are not literal. Stop that. If what you're saying is literal, then you may say "literally." If what you mean was figurative, then you may not. Literally, A Weblog tracks the abuse.

Apostrophe's Apostrophes

This sure sign of flailing illiteracy has been thoroughly and eloquently addressed in Bob the Angry Flower's Quick Guide to the Apostrophe, You Idiots.


There's "irrespective," and there's "regardless," but there's no such thing as "irregardless." More on that from Get it Write and Q & A.