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'I Could Care Less'

'I Could Care Less'

'I Could Care Less'

(OP)
It is a constant source of amusement when I hear someone utter 'I could care less' when they are attempting to portray complete apathy.  I would assume that they mean to say 'I couldn't care less' as this would show that to care any less than they currently do would be impossible.  To say 'I could care less' implies that there is in fact, some degree of caring taking place.  Another trite statement that staggers me is, 'Who died and made you ---?'  Wouldn't the obvious answer be ---, since the only way I could have taken over the position is if it has been recently vacated?  Just goes to show why I don't have a lot of friends.

RE: 'I Could Care Less'

This is a stretch, I know.

"I could care less"  ---> "I have a present level of care regarding this topic.  If I wished, it would be possible for me to re-evaluate my position, with one possible outcome being a reduction in my level of caring."

RE: 'I Could Care Less'

That is a possible interpretation.

My belief is that the n't got lost.

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RE: 'I Could Care Less'

I was raised here in the Pittsburgh PA. area and specifically remember being told in grade school the "I could care less" was a variation peculiar to Pittsburgh. In my family we used "couldn't", and I honestly don't think I'd heard the "could" variation until it was mentioned in class. There was a strong implication by the teacher that "could" was improper.

If one favored "could", I can see MintJulep's explanation as being a plausible rationalization. Actually, that's pretty much the way I'd explained it to myself when I first heard it.

RE: 'I Could Care Less'

So the implication would be: "I could care less.... but not likely."    The tail end (but not likely) would be left off.

A similar construction might be: "Yeah right, I might let my teenager drive my brand new car to school..."

(The unspoken but understood conclusion would be something like ".... when pigs fly").

But now think about the tone of voice used in the teenager/car example.  You would emphasize the word "might" to underscore your meaning, and you would trail the sentence off in a manner that leaves the impression there is something unsaid.

But for "I could care less", there is no emphasis on "could" and the sentence sounds done when you finish saying it.

So it would seem to me that the intonation used proves the underlying meaning is not I could care less.

I think this useage simply comes from the same people who say "in't" instead of "isn't".  Save a syllable. Sound efficient.

btw - mj did mention this was far out. It is certainly worth considering. After all it might be the correction origin of this expression...

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