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  1. ATDM's Avatar

    • Join Date: Dec 2005
    • Posts: 31

    Post "Care less-2"

    I appreciate the prompt response by Mr. Pedantic, and I understand the meaning of said response, yet I would still like a precise answer to the my question on which expression of the two is correct. Below is a copy of the question I posted today:

    I often hear people say "I could care less" about a certain issue, and I know they mean to imply that the issue does not matter to them. Would it be correct to say "I couldn't care less" (which, frankly, makes more sense to me as someone whose first language is not English). Or, are these expressions both acceptable and correct? I hear them on the radio, TV, read them in books, articles... and more often than not it's "I could care less"... spoken or written by very well educated people. That's what prompted me to ask this question. I apologize for any potential mistakes in this message since it is going to be reviewed by an expert in English language, but in my defense, English is my fifth language,.. so please, do not be too hard on my grammar and let me know which version of the expression is correct.

    Thank you in advance

    Below is th response by Mr Pedantic:

    It isn't always possible to disentangle an apparently illogical set phrase; especially in cases like this, where the phrase has a certain emotive content. It might be easier to think of it as a single lexical unit.

    Once again, I really appreciate Mr. P's time and effort in answering my quewtions... This answer was very informative for anyone interested in certain verbal, conversational applications, but my intent was to receive a response with correct grammatical applications. I already know what people mean when they use either one of the phrases... I simply want a correct grammatical answer.
    thank you

    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,434

    Re: "Care less-2"

    The problem is, as MrP indicates, that spoken, colloquial, English does not necessarily follow strict grammatical rules.

    What you have to listen for is the tone in which each is said.

    "I could care less" said with a tone of scorn carries a particular meaning - the thing under discussion is of little importance, and that is what I am sticking to.

    "I couldn't care less" said in a dismissive tone rather implies that the person actually is aware that they should care, but is determined not to admit the fact.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • Canada

    • Join Date: Oct 2008
    • Posts: 1,211

    Re: "Care less-2"

    The fact is that "very well educated people" would not say "I could care less." They would know it is nonsense and the correct, and always dismissive, phrase is "I couldn't care less."

    Irregardless if alot of people say something, it don't make it alright.

    (Gosh, it actually pained my fingers to type that!)

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