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Misused Idioms: Is It ‘Could’ Or ‘Couldn’t Care Less’?

Is It ‘Could’ Or ‘Couldn’t Care Less’? Is there a meaningful difference between these two phrases? Or do they mean the exact same thing? Keep reading this blog to find out! 

Misused Idioms: Is It ‘Could’ Or ‘Couldn’t Care Less'? | English Medium

Could vs. Couldn’t

We define could care less and couldn’t care less on the same page, with the single definition “used to indicate that one is not at all concerned about or interested in something.” These seemingly disparate idioms are on the same page because one is simply a variant of the other, and they are used in a synonymous manner. Well, this is what some people have to say and we disagree. 

The Phrase: Couldn’t Care Less

The phrase “couldn’t care less” is used to express disdain for or a lack of interest in something. 

Example: 

  1. I couldn’t care less about the weather.
  2. Preeti came up with her sob story, expecting me to show him sympathy, but I couldn’t care less.
  3. Personally, I couldn’t have cared less whether the ice-cream came from Italy or England.

These sentences imply that the speaker has no interest in the subject (eg: weather) that they are talking about. 

“Couldn’t care less” should be easy to remember because it makes sense on a literal level: if you have no interest in something, you cannot care less about it! However, many people use “could care less” instead, which can be confusing.

The Error: Could Care Less

People often say they “could care less” to express disdain or a lack of interest. For example: 

I have heard that my ex is going through another break-up, but I could care less. 

Taken literally, though, “could care less” implies that you care about something. After all, you must care at least a little bit if you could care about it less. And as such, this is the exact opposite of the correct phrase. 

However, we understand why there is confusion.This version is so widely spoken that it has whitewashed the grammatically correct version of the informal phrase.  But it is an error all the same, so try to avoid this version of the saying!

Conclusion

Both could and couldn’t care less are informal, and so you are unlikely to use either one in formal writing. Therefore, you shouldn’t worry about it too much but try to stick to using ‘couldn’t care less’ as much as possible. 

We hope this article helped you understand the difference between ‘Could’ Or ‘Couldn’t Care Less’.

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