≡ Menu

“I Couldn’t Care Less”

“I couldn’t care less.”

What an eloquent way of putting it. When you use this phrase, what you’re telling me is that you care so little about something that it would be technically impossible to care less than you already do. The expression effectively tells me that your level of caring is as low as it could possibly go, and, well, you simply couldn’t care less than you do right now.

So why do so many people constantly mangle this phrase and say:

“I could care less.”


When you tell me that you could care less, you’re basically telling me that, at the very least, you kinda care. In other words, your telling me that your level of caring has a cushion below it; if you were to measure how much you care right now, it would be technically possible to bump it down a notch or two on the caring scale.

But when it’s all said and done, you haven’t really told me anything at all.

“I could care less”.

OK. You do that. I really couldn’t care less.

I just did some research on the phrase. According to one source, the phrase apparently originated in Great Britain in 1940, and invariably used “couldn’t”. By about 1960, “could” was occasionally (and incorrectly) substituted, and today both versions are used with approximately equal frequency, despite their being antonyms. And despite half of the population being wrong.

This is yet another example of how an error in English, if commited often enough by enough people, can achieve widespread acceptance. It becomes a blind-leading-the-blind type of situation.

Am I the only one who has a problem with this?

1 comment… add one
  • BLane June 6, 2005, 10:55 am

    Only you my brother, would be up at 1am hashing this one out in that labryinth of superior intellect you call a mind!

    Don’t ever change…

Leave a Comment

Next post:

Previous post: