If You Could Care Less, You Could Care Less

Typebars in a 1920s typewriter

Language Lessons. ... Image via Wikipedia

Per my wife’s request, today I give you a Language Lesson pertaining to something that really gets under her skin. Now, maybe you could care less about what my wife thinks—

Oh, wait. It was right there. Did you see it? I just did what she hates. But maybe you could care less about what she and I—

Dang. Did it again.

The subject of this Language Lesson is often overlooked, but it’s quite logical when you consider it: when someone says “I could care less,” what they mean is that they have zero interest in the topic at hand—that is, they couldn’t care less. If you “could care less,” then you could still care less than you already do, but what you’re trying to say is that you don’t care at all about what’s being addressed; therefore, the proper wording is “I couldn’t care less.”

My wife and I hear this mistake all the time. We’ll be sitting on the couch in the evening watching TV—sometimes a “reality” show, sometimes a scripted one, and in both instances we’ll hear someone make this mistake. When they do, my wife and I instantly give each other a certain look, as if to say, “Did they really just say what I think they said?”

I know, I know. We’re total nerds and have a boring existence, but we can’t help noticing what we notice. Besides, I could couldn’t care less what you think about us.

Class dismissed. =)


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