“I could care less” about English!

Language is in constant evolution, and we know it. It is normal to use language differently with time, but usually that means using it incorrectly. Nowadays, it is more common to hear “I could care less” instead of “I couldn’t care less”, but can we use it like that?

“I could care less” is used by younger generations, mostly in the US, but it is rapidly spreading to the rest of the world. Not only seen in social media, where spelling and grammar mistakes are commonplace, but also in real life (schools, notices…).

Is it correct?

Short answer, no. It is still incorrect, the correct way of saying it is “I couldn’t/could not care less”. Why does it matter? By saying “I couldn’t care less”, you are saying there is no way something bothers or excites you. For instance, “I couldn’t care less about sports” means that I have no preference or dislike for sports, they do not affect me in any way and I do not want to know anything about sports.

If you say “I could care less,” it means that there is margin for you to care less about it. In other words, it would mean that you care about something to an extent. Semantically, it would not make sense with what you actually mean. For example: “I could care less about German politics” means that I am somewhat interested or invested in German politics and that there could be a possibility where I do not care about them as much as I care now.

Grammar matters

Moreover, “I couldn’t care less” is an idiom (like “I couldn’t agree more”) so, for it to mean ‘to not care at all,’ it has to be written that way. Idioms are groups of words with a meaning not deducible from the meanings of the individual words. If we change a word of the idiom, it loses the category of idiom and we are also changing the overall meaning. Therefore, we cannot say “I could care less” because we are changing the phrase both grammatically and semantically.

Do you want to know other common mistakes in English? Let us know below!

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1 thought on ““I could care less” about English!”

  1. Pingback: Could have (could've) vs. could of – Lyngua Translations

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