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OK - which is correct? I hear both used.

I could care less.
I couldn't care less.

I am assuming that the second one is correct in indicating a lack of concern.

Thank you for your time,
Robin
Comments  
Both indicate lack of concern. The first is an abbreviated form of "There's no way I could care less". The second states the thought a slightly different way, without any abbreviation.

CJ
OK - which is correct? I hear both used.

I could care less.
I couldn't care less.

I am assuming that the second one is correct in indicating a lack of concern.



JTT: Both are correct, Robin and both mean, more or less, the same thing. While this might seem odd at first blush, you have to remember that language says what people intend, not what some wag believes.

Here's one such wag, Paul Brians. He's quite good at making errors himself.

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Common Errors in English - Paul Brians

http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/care.html

Clichés are especially prone to scrambling because they become meaningless through overuse. In this case an expression which originally meant “it would be impossible for me to care less than I do because I do not care at all” is rendered senseless by being transformed into the now-common “I could care less.” Think about it: if you could care less, that means you care some. The original already drips sarcasm, so it’s pointless to argue that the newer version is “ironic.” People who misuse this phrase are just being careless.

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JTT: Read his first sentence, above, a oft repeated canard. {Why can't these prescriptivists think for themselves?}

How is it possible for an idiom to become meaningless through overuse? There are of course countless idioms that have become meaningless to speakers of modern English through underuse.

Next, 'caring some' is not what those who seek solace want. "I could care less, but your problem doesn't rate very high at all on my list" hardly marks one as a caring person.

If we were to look at all the idioms/idiomatic phrases of English and test them for their logic, many would fail. But language has its own logic.

Paul Brians is out to lunch on his analysis. In point of fact, it is no analysis at all. "I could care less" is perfectly grammatical and it has full meaning within language. There's nothing more that's required.
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"Could-care-less" began to be used in 1966 by some Norte Americanos who couldn't care less about its original phrase in British English where "couldn't-care-less" has been idiomatized since 1946.

paco
To CJ,

I liked your explanation about "could care less" but I am wondering if it is your version of how to interpret the expression, or it's more like a general fact widely accepted among people.

I hope you would reply. This thread is a decade old.
M
mitsuwao23I liked your explanation about "could care less" but I am wondering if it is your version of how to interpret the expression, or it's more like a general fact widely accepted among people.
There are no "standard" and "accepted" explanations of many of the strange expressions we have in English. Emotion: smile

My paraphrase is designed simply to make it as easy as possible for non-English speakers to remember the expression and its meaning.

CJ
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Thank you, you made sense!
M