I Could Care Less

Hey, you know this phrase that gets language nerds kinda mad?

“I Could Care Less.”

I really dig it.

I know! I’m not meant to! It’s American and Wrong! It implies that you still care a little bit, and therefore, it doesn’t convey what the right phrase, I Couldn’t Care Less conveys! And that’s wrong! Clearly you mean to convey that you couldn’t care less when you say you could care less, right?

See, for me, the joy of I Could Care Less is that there’s a threat in it. It’s a response to when you’re engaged with a thing at a very minimal level, but if someone really wants to push your enthusiasm, it’s going to go away rather than grow. The implication is You could make me care less. It’s a different phrase for a different time. I couldn’t care less is definitive. I could care less has potential. I mean, it clearly indicates there’s some small space between ‘not caring’ and where you are, because you wouldn’t define how little you could care if the amount you cared was obvious.

Some people get really mad because they see only one way I could be meaning what I say. The gift of idiom is to ignore what is said, and I suppose nitpicking idiom is the way to pick on the things someone didn’t even say. It doesn’t bug me too much when people make jokes about this, I suppose. I mean

I could care less.

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