July 22, 2014

I could care less

Garfield knows.

Garfield knows.

This has always been a pet peeve of mine. When someone utters this phrase, I think, “You should try harder.”

I could care less vs. I couldn’t care less

The point of the statement is that the speaker doesn’t care at all. But to say s/he could care less literally means that there is potential to care at least a little less than s/he does right now.

Recently someone suggested that it’s more like a challenge. “You may care very little, but I could care less.” This kinda makes sense, but still implies that the speaker isn’t trying hard enough. S/he is still saying, “I could care less.” Not that s/he actually does care less.

The proper statement is “I couldn’t care less.” The literal meaning here is that no matter how hard I try, there is no possible way that I could care any less than I do right now.

You may ask, “Why now, Scott? You’ve had this bottled up deep inside for all of these years. Why choose today to unleash this opinion on the ab+c blog?” Well, Weird Al Yankovic reminded me of it with his new song “Word Crimes,” which has an awesome new video as part of his #8videos8days project to celebrate the release of what he’s calling his final album, “Mandatory Fun.” Not that he’s retiring; he’s just not going to make traditional albums any more. Does anyone still make albums? Maybe that’ll be the next blog topic — How digital downloads have changed the music industry…

C’mon, people. If you could still care less, try a little harder. Please weigh in with your take on the issue in the comments below.

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  • Randy Radcliff

    I like the derivative, “If I cared any less, it’d be criminal negligence” .