Regular Doses of Common Sense™

Could You Care Less or Couldn’t You?

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“I couldn’t care less.”

“I could care less.”

They’re two little phrases that convey opposite meanings, yet they’re almost always universally understood to mean the same thing: that the speaker isn’t interested — and, in fact, couldn’t be less interested — in whatever’s being discussed.

So which one is the correct one? This: “I couldn’t care less.”

It means, literally, that it’s not possible for you to care less, which is to say, you don’t care at all.

People who say, “I could care less,” are actually saying that it is possible they could care less than they do, which can only mean that they do care at least a little.

Does it really matter? It does if you’re trying to be understood as completely as you can be. And once people know the difference between the two, it becomes one of those little mistakes that you can’t help noticing.

And the person who uses the wrong one is the one who ends up looking bad.

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8 Comments on "Could You Care Less or Couldn’t You?"

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This is just good nerdy fun right here! I think I would just talk around it. Perhaps “I really don’t care” is better?


Ooh! I love these types of lessons :-). But then again, of course I would!!!! It’s the comm prof in me. Ellen


That’s funny PP…it’s so interesting how badly most people mangle our language!


BruceSallan Thanks, Bruce. Yes, it’s interesting…and sad. 🙂


What a grammer lesson… I thought I was back in middle school… but so true, thanks for sharing this!


dadofdivas My grammar rants have become fairly popular, but I try to at least make it a little more enjoyable than middle school! 😉


Love the grammar lesson! I wonder how many people really do know the difference between the two? I mean those who love grammar do, but the average person probably not. Which is sad if you think about it.


Michelle_Mazur Very true. But once you DO know the difference, it’s hard not to chuckle at those who don’t seem to!