I Could Care Less

The Top Five Reasons Why People Say I Could Care Less

No. 5 – They don’t know that they’re wrong

That’s hard to believe, because the difference between could and couldn’t is obvious, but apparently it is possible.  Couldn’t is a shortened version (contraction) of could not, so I couldn’t care less means that you do not care.  Not at all.  Not even a little bit.  It would be impossible for you to care any less than you already do.  You are at the absolute pinnacle of not caring.   If you are attempting to express a total lack of interest in a subject, I couldn’t care less is the phrase for you.

I could care less means that you do care, since you have to care at least a little before it’s possible to care less.

The two sentences have opposite meanings.  They are not interchangeable.  Ever.

No. 4 – They really mean it

They do care somewhat, so they could actually care less.  To me, it’s an awkward way of saying you care.  Why bother mentioning that you could care less than you currently do?  And how much less could you care?  A significant amount?   A miniscule amount?  A smidgeon, iota, whit?  A tad, mite, wee bit?  A lot?  Whole bunches?  Or is it measured in percentages?  I could care 25% less … what would that mean???

No. 3 – Laziness

After years of knowing we’re overeating and under-exercising, it has come to this:  a population too lazy to spit out 2 letters and an apostrophe to complete a sentence.

No. 2 – They’re just following the crowd

But mom, the other adults are saying it!  It’s true that lots of people who should know better – newscasters, politicians, teachers and writers – are getting it wrong, but you know mom’s response.  “If everyone else jumped off a building, would you do it too?”  So poor grammar doesn’t compare to a face-plant into pavement; it’s still silly to mindlessly copy other people.  Writers should be too ashamed to put I could care less into a script, actors should refuse to let their characters say it unless they’re supposed to be totally uneducated, and teachers … really?

And the No. 1 reason why people say I could care less:

No. 1 – They couldn’t care less that they’re wrong

A nasty combination of nos. 2, 3 and 5 above has people parroting others, too lazy and/or uneducated to notice or care that what they’re saying isn’t what they actually mean.

Sadly, they couldn’t care less.

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1 Comment

Filed under Grammar

One response to “I Could Care Less

  1. Pingback: C is for Crazy Cat Lady « Grammar Tales

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