"I could care less"

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by Ghost of Cutten, Jun 30, 2010.

  1. This American expression has always puzzled me. I'm not sure if you are aware, but in the rest of the English-speaking world, the phrase is "I couldn't care less". In both cases, the term is used when the speaker wants to convey that he doesn't care at all about the subject in question. The American version appears to be functionally illiterate, because its grammatical meaning is the exact opposite of the intended meaning.

    "I could care less" means that you care more than you might about something. I.e. you care somewhat about Y, but it's possible you could care even less than you do. I.e. Y is not of trivial importance to you, you do care about it more than the minimum.

    By contrast, "I couldn't care less" means that it is literally impossible for you to care less about the subject. You therefore care nothing at all about Y, as it is simply not possible to care any less about it. Y is therefore of trivial importance to you.

    In other words, the American version of the expression makes no sense whatsoever. Not only is it wrong, but it's almost the opposite of what people who use it think it means. It's like saying "I can take it or leave it" when you mean "I absolutely must have it", or "I am really interested in baseball" when you have no interest in baseball whatsoever.

    Can someone explain how this version came about? Are people who use it aware that it is a totally incorrect usage of language? If not, why not? If so, why do they keep using it?
  2. Hello


    Another one i hate is when people proclaim that they would like to "axe" you a question. (with axe replacing ask) Often times someone will say they axed him a couple questions as opposed to "asked." I really "couldnt care less," when this happens but it is definately unnerving. :)
  3. Sanaz3


    And many people think it is spelled like above, but in fact it is "Definitely" :D
  4. Hello


    Damn you, i actually looked it up!! :)
  5. Sanaz3


    Why have "n" in "damn" but not in "dam", with same pronunciations.

    You, U, Yew, Ewe, all are pronounced the same.:confused:

    an evergreen (= never losing its leaves) tree with flat leaves like needles and small red cones, or the wood from this tree

    a female sheep, especially an adult one
    ewe's milk
  6. m22au


    It's similar to "I'm over it". The expression has now taken on a second meaning, (which is the opposite of the intended meaning), along the lines of "I'm not over it" or "I wish it was over".

  7. How about those people that say the word "idea" as if it has the letter "r" in it. They say "Idear" I have an idear!

    Or the people from Boston that cant pronounce the letter R.

    "I was playing cads at the pack"
    "I was playing cards at the park"

    But whats even worse is when you fly over the pond to England. In London it seems like they cant pronounce the letters "th"

    For instance...if a brit wanted to say "I have three teeth" They would pronounce it like "Ah'v free teef"
  8. The phrase "I could care less" has more threatening connotations. Whereas, "I couldn't care less" implies indifference and inaction. Speakers use them interchangeably without attention to implications.


    Bob: " Vinnie, give me another year to pay you the loan. I know you
    have given me 1 year extenstion already....but I need time."

    Vinnie (response option 1): " I couldn't care less."
    Intended meaning:[Oh, sure, buddy...take as much time as you want to pay up]

    Vinnie (response option 2): "I could care less".
    Intended meaning:[ I can take this to a whole new level of persuasion]

    Personally, I couldn't care less which phrase people choose to use.
  9. You hang around too many rednecks.
  10. Probably best to avoid using that phrase. The speaker may understand what he is saying but the speakee may not or visa versa.

    I couldn't care less for an egg salad sandwich.

    Best to just say "Fuck egg salad".

    "But Joey you like egg salad."

    "Yeah, but ma I'm over it"
    #10     Jul 1, 2010