Everything Language and Grammar

Do You Really Care?

Posted by languageandgrammar on July 16, 2009

How many times have you heard someone say I could care less? For every time you’ve heard it, have you wondered why the person saying it COULD care less about something he seemingly doesn’t care about at all?

The correct saying is I couldn’t care less–which, considering the context within which it’s always said, makes more sense.

I could care less if you’re breaking up with me means that you’re admitting that you do care about being tossed aside like yesterday’s newspaper. Β And while we all probably do care when that happens to us, we usually don’t want the other person to know, so we say I couldn’t care less (not I COULD care less), meaning, Here’s your hat; what’s your hurry?

I could care less means that you actually could care less than you do, which means that you do, in fact, care. I couldn’t care less means that you could not care any less than you do.

That’s the correct usage—in case you care.



5 Responses to “Do You Really Care?”

  1. newtowritinggirl said

    I read this earlier this morning and was shocked as I’d never heard it before – and couldn’t understand why anyone would say that. Then I was reading a review of a book, and they used this expression. I couldn’t believe it. It totally put me off the book!

  2. Grammarian said

    Hi Sherry,
    I do care! I do care!
    I love your site. There are lots of fun and interesting things to read here.

  3. I’ve always thought that if you say this either way, you’re proving you care. Just saying. πŸ™‚

    • languageandgrammar said

      No, I don’t see why they would mean the same thing at all.

      I couldn’t care less clearly means that I don’t care. I could care less means that I care unless I’m trying to be sarcastic, at which time I could almost care–and the typical way of saying it—would be more effective.

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