Ask the Editor
Archive
Serenity Carr, Assistant Editor
What is the Difference between "I Couldn't Care Less" and "I Could Care Less"?
Tuesday July 24th 2018
Question
How do I know when to use "couldn't care less" and when to use "could care less" if I don't care at all about something? Which one is the correct sentence? — Koustav , India
Answer

If you say you "couldn't care less" about something, it means you do not care about it at all. You cannot care less than you do. Below are some examples of how the phrase is used:

  • Sherry couldn't care less what restaurant they go to. [=she does not care at all what restaurant they go to]
  • The man said he couldn't care less who his children marry as long as they are happy. [=he does not care who his children marry. He only cares that they are happy]

 

Sometimes you will hear people say "could care less" in the same way. Below are some examples of this:

  • I could care less if you leave.
  • She can order whatever she wants; her date could care less.

 

English teachers and grammarians will say that "could care less" is wrong because it should mean the opposite of "couldn't care less." Logically, if you could care less, it means you do care some. But in informal speech people often use "could care less" to mean they don’t care at all.

 

"Couldn’t care less" and "could care less" are both used to mean someone doesn’t care at all, but English teachers and grammarians will say that only "couldn't care less" is correct, so that is what you should use in formal or academic writing.

 

I hope this helps. For more posts about words, idioms, grammar, and usage, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Don't forget to subscribe to our Word of the Day e-mails!

Click here to try one of our vocabulary quizzes before you go! 

 

Archive