Just a quick note about something that really annoys me from time to time. People who say “I could care less” to mean they don’t care.
I’m not being in any way anti-American, but this grammatical quirk has developed only in American-English, and is not present in British-English. I’m not just saying it’s bad-English; this phrase in particular has exactly the opposite meaning to what is intended.
Let’s assume that I don’t care about something at all. That would mean I care a zero amount about it. I could NOT care any less than zero about it. I couldn’t care less.
On the other hand, if I do care about something, then you could say that I care more than a zero amount about it. If I’m caring more than zero about it, I could care less.
So if you say “I could care less” then that means that you do care. If you mean to say that you don’t care, you need to say “I couldn’t care less”.
That concludes today’s English lesson!
Are there any nonsensical common phrases that you find annoying? Please leave a comment below.
Did you like this post? Then you may also like my new post about the misuse of the word “humble”.
UPDATE (May 2010)