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"I could care less" vs. "I couldn't care less" 
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Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2011 2:39 am
Posts: 359
Post "I could care less" vs. "I couldn't care less"
Just an article i found that id like you crazy language raping Americans to look at XD

"I could care less" vs. "I couldn't care less"

When one usually states "I could care less", they usually mean "I could not care less". [e.g. "I could care less about linguistics."]

In order for one to "care less" about a subject, they must first care about it somewhat. Saying "I could care less about ... " does indeed imply, nay dictate, that there is some degree of care.

I've put together a handy chart to help visualize...


It can easily be seen that, in absolute terms, there is no caring at the zero marker. It is impossible to care less than that amount.

Let us use a different example...
I could have less food.
I couldn't have less food.

Which statement above means "I have at least some food", and which means "I don't have any food"?

**This short video by John Cleese sums it up pretty well XD

So in short:

"I couldn't care less" = It succinctly conveys that a person cares so little about something that they could not possibly care less. We can safely assume that whatever it is, they don’t care about it, at all.

"I could care less" = Is an American colloquialism, it's the use that has logical inconsistency rather than the phrase itself. The phrase “I could care less” taken alone, simply does not make sense if the intended implication is that you have no interest in a statement, and this is the intended implication in all the situations I’ve encountered it.

Before you go off on one it's intended as a joke with some logic thrown in XD


Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:47 am
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Post Re: "I could care less" vs. "I couldn't care less"
I concur. Spoghead and I actually talked about this quite a ways back, and we decided it seemed to be Americans in general that make the mistake of saying "I could care less."

Fun read.

Speaking of which, anyone have anything they always mess up? I used to think "case in point" was "case AND point" for the longest time. *shrug*

Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:34 am
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Post Re: "I could care less" vs. "I couldn't care less"
With regards to caring less about things, it always jolts me when I hear it even after years of exposure, but in most cases I regard it with an air of humour!

There's actually a term for such mental mishearings, named, as linguists are won't to do, after one such famous example of the thing it describes. They're called eggcorns.

Wikipedia, go!

Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:54 am
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Post Re: "I could care less" vs. "I couldn't care less"
Me, I get around the whole thing by simply saying "I could care."

Implies that if I made the effort, I might actually give a hoot or two, but as it stands, no hoots are being given. The needle is broken on my give-a-hoot-o-meter. Not a single gram of hoot shall be given today.

And you may replace hoot with the proper curse word. I'm just too tired to swear.

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Mon Jan 02, 2012 4:30 am
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Post Re: "I could care less" vs. "I couldn't care less"
It bugs me when people say "I could care less." Mostly cause they fail to notice that that means that they still care. XD

Mon Jan 02, 2012 5:48 pm
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Post Re: "I could care less" vs. "I couldn't care less"
I could care less.

"I'll go on alone with the pain - And I swear that I won't complain
'Cause I'll have the dream you gave me - To keep me strong just how I should be
You were once what made me happy - What I once had called my everything
But it faded and I could see - Being with you was all just a dream "

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Mon Jan 02, 2012 6:07 pm
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Post Re: "I could care less" vs. "I couldn't care less"
I'd say on a scale of 0 to 100% caring, "I could care less" goes from around 5% to 15% caring. Only at these levels of caring, the information "there are lower levels of caring I could be standing on right now in regard to your statement" is informative. For example, if i'm at 100% caring, the sentence is obvious, therefore 0% informative, while lowering in caring, the sentence becomes allways more informative. The reason I stop at 5% rather than x>0% is because at that interval the sentence "I almost couldn't care less" is more apropiate. (The reason I stop at 15%, however is not clear to me, it was given by an unknown divine pokemon that descended to give me the answer when seeing how troubled I was deciding the upper limit of this interval)

PD: I've never heard any of these statements, here we say (traduced) "I care a pickle"

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Fri Jan 06, 2012 9:55 am
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