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 Post subject: Could or Couldn't You Care Less?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 2:31 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2007 5:01 pm
Posts: 5732
Location: The Shore
Which is it?

Brian A. Klems wrote:
Q: Every time I say, "I could care less," my husband stops me and says, "It's 'I couldn't care less.'" But everyone I know says it the same way I do. Which is correct?—Anonymous

A: For years, my grandma beat "I couldn't care less" into my head just as often as she made me eat my dinner vegetables. And just like broccoli, her grammar correction always left a bad taste in my mouth. But was she right?

When taken literally, the two phrases have opposite meanings. "I couldn't care less" means that it's impossible for me to care any less about the subject at hand than I already do. If I say, "I couldn't care less about hockey," I mean that on a scale of one to 10—with 10 suggesting that I'm the [most] enthusiastic hockey fan this side of Canada, and one meaning I don't give a flip about the sport—I'm a one. I don't care about hockey at all.

On the other hand, "I could care less" literally means "I care more than I might seem to." If you could care less, you're saying that you care some, which is the opposite of not caring at all. Now, some folks will argue that "could care less" is intended to be sarcastic and therefore shouldn't be taken literally. But it's hard to convey that in print, so it just looks like unpolished writing.

Stick with "I couldn't care less."

"I wonder how many people I've looked at all my life and never seen."
~John Steinbeck

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 Post subject: Re: Could or Couldn't You Care Less?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 11:02 am 
The Scribe of Athero
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Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 3:20 pm
Posts: 7448
Location: FantasyFic HQ
Yup. :)


Don't let aging get you down. It's too hard to get back * up. ~Maxine

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