Posted by ESC on April 27, 2007
In Reply to: I don't care to do it posted by Bob Grossman on April 27, 2007
: "I don't care to do it" apparently has two opposite meanings here in the US. In the North, it means, "I don't want to do it." In the South, it means, "I don't mind doing it." (The divisions I mention are approximate: I know people from Indiana who use the northern version and people from Ohio who use the southern version, and both are northern states. I live in Kentucky, a border state, where both meanings are current.) I have found only one mention of the southern meaning of the phrase, in this forum in 2005. Does anyone else know of an English phrase that has *opposite* meanings in different locations? I suppose the two phrases can be expanded to, "I don't feel strongly enough about it to see that it gets done," or, "I don't feel bothered by having to do it." In other words, the northern meaning uses a positive meaning of "care" -- if you care, you'll do it -- and the southern meaning uses a negative meaning -- if you care, you'll be too inconvenienced to do it.
I live in Kentucky and am familiar with the above. It can get you in trouble. See previous discussion at http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/44/messages/256.html There I told a story about a new employee that, when her boss asked her to do a task, she would say, "I don't care to." Meaning, "OK. I don't mind doing it."