Could Care Less or Couldn’t Care Less; Do You Care?

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?

I could care less if you’re breaking up with me means that you’re admitting that you do care.  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, meaning, the amount I care is the lowest possible amount there could be; it could not go any lower.

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.


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5 Responses to Could Care Less or Couldn’t Care Less; Do You Care?

  1. newtowritinggirl says:

    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 says:

    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. 🙂

    • languageandgrammar says:

      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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