Phrase Friday: I Could(n’t) Care Less

I’ve seen a lot of contention over the correct way to say this phrase. Either way, usually the writer’s/speaker’s intent is “I don’t care,” but the phrase makes more sense if you use “couldn’t.”

  • I Could Care Less: this implies that you do care a little bit, because the potential for you to care less than you already do exists.
  • I Couldn’t Care Less: The implication here is that you don’t care at all, so you could not possibly care any less than you do.

Of course, the argument could also be made that “I couldn’t care less” would still be true if you cared a lot, but felt that there was no way you could stop caring. Whereas with “I could care less,” maybe you care a little, but you can find it in your heart to care even less than you do.

How would you say this phrase, and why?

Further reading: Dictionary.com; Grammar Girl

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