Wacky Words ‘n’ Wierdness

April 30, 2009 at 10:20 pm | Posted in Books & Writing | Leave a comment
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Hello again!

Wrap your head around this little statement:

“I couldn’t fail to disagree with you less.”

Sound fishy? It should. If it doesn’t, look again.

This is a very interesting phrase, but it’s confusing, and pretty meaningless. To show those who are unfamiliar with it why it is so, I will now dissect it.

First of all, “I couldn’t fail” equates to “I must.” Next, “disagree with you less” simplifies to “agree with you,” (or very nearly.)
So “I couldn’t fail to disagee with you less,” becomes “I must agree with you.” Or does it?

Yes, of course there is a “but” in there! Why else would I talk about this? The problem is that there is another way to cut it up.

To start, “fail to disagree” becomes “agree.” That creates “I couldn’t agree with you less.”
The end result is “I must disagree with you”

But this creates a contradiction, as we already have an interpretation of it as an agreement, how can it also be a statement of disagreement? Those are complete opposites!

This problem renders the statement useless in normal speech, but it remains an object for study and thought. What makes it do that? What is the key part that, if removed, renders it normal?

I will leave these questions for you to discover. 😛

Untill next time, farewell!

EagleGirl

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