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Not for naught

It occurs to me, on proofreading that last entry, that I’m entirely unsure about the legitimacy of the phrase “it fazes her not”. Not because it doesn’t make any grammatical sense to negate a clause by putting not at the end of it —we’ve had the construction “can not” in popular use for so long it’s contracted to the common can’t— but because of the word naught.

“I care naught” makes just as much, if not more, sense than “I care not”. Caring naught is literally having no care, there’s no sticky grammatical juggling as there is between “I do not care/I care not”, and yet as a result of the cot/caught merger it’s basically impossible to discern the two.

Damned Americans and their merged vowels.


Clarity strikes, in the shower of all places, and I’m reminded of the four-hundred year old reason I started using the “I care not” construction in the first place:

By my head, here come the Capulets.
By my heel, I care not.

Disregard all that hath transpired here.