If I am asked to report the sentence:
"I couldn't care less" -- am I supposed to report it us usual, I mean:
"He said he hadn't been able to care less" or 'hadn't been able' sounds too cheesy? Or I'm not allowed to report idioms?
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I would report it as: 'he said that he couldn't have cared less'... if the caring situation were past. If it were not, but still existed, I would report it as: 'he said that he couldn't care less'.

I brace myself for the onslaught.`
Hi MrM
1) If so, what's the meaning of my version of the report?

2) How would you report 'he said he couldn't do it' ? (If the situation has already lasted...)
If couldn't have cared, why not like like proposed ?
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1) Same meaning, not standard.

2) I'm not sure that I understand you-- do you want a report of a report of a speech? Or do you want the reported version of 'I couldn't do it'? If the latter: 'he said that he couldn't have done it' or 'he said that he hadn't been able to do it'. (The situation couldn't be continuing because the original speech is in the past.)

As you say, 'I couldn't care less' is idiomatic (and in the non-past); idioms are resistant to changes in structure, so the 'had been able' version seems unnatural.
Hello Maverick

A subjunctive mood in a reported subordinate clause is (usually) independent in tense from the main clause.

(1-D) She said;"I couldn't imagine my life without him"
(1-R) She told me that she couldn't imagine her life without him"

(2-D) She said;"I couldn't have imagined my life without him"
(2-R) She told me that she couldn't have imagined her life without him.

By the way "could care less (about X)" is an AmE fixed phrase. Its first use was 1966. But the original is BrE :"couldn't care less (about X)" [first use: 1946] and both mean the same: "feel completely uninterested (in X) or utterly unconcerned (about X)" Not interesting?

I brace myself for the onslaught.

LOL, Mr. Mic! I know the feeling!
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Paco, "told" requires an object! Emotion: smile Jim

Thanks a lot !

Thanks all but:
1) The structure of our reported speech (couldn't care less--->couldn't have cared less) takes present perfect. What's the reason? (I mean present perfect instaed of past...I understood that both are possible, but..)

#1 Idiomatic phrase
#2 Usage of modal

2) Does a reported sentence always take present perfect tense (or it's prefarable) when a modal is involved?
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