Couldn’t Care Less vs Could Care Less

Couldn't Care Less or Could Care Less? Alright, I’m not going to lie. When I see or hear this one, and people get it wrong, it does frustrate me just a little bit. When people use this expression, what they’re basically trying to say is that they really don’t care whatsoever about whatever it is that is being referred to. However, it’s actually pretty common to see this written incorrectly and many times even spoken incorrectly - even by people who should know much better.

So, the correct expression to use is “couldn’t care less” or, more fully, “could not care less”. They’re the same thing. 

What is incorrect is to say or write “could care less”. It’s just plain wrong. What you’re saying when you write or say “could care less” is that you’re really not at your maximum level of not caring - there’s still some way to go. Think about it.

So. imagine your scale of caring goes from zero to a hundred. At the 100 level you care very much, at zero you don’t care at all. And so, when you correctly say “I couldn’t care less”, it’s really shorthand for saying “I couldn’t care any less”. So, if you can’t care any less, then you must already be at zero on your “caring scale”. There’s just nowhere lower to go.

But, if you instead incorrectly say the expression as “I could care less” then by definition you must be somewhere higher on your caring scale than zero, as you still have some room to go lower. Right? I mean, you basically just said you could care less even more so than what you already are. 

For some people this clicks right away, for others you may have to ponder on it for a while. So, whenever you use that expression in the future, there’s probably a 100% certainty that you really mean to use the phrase “I couldn't care less”.