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Re: Could care less = couldn't care less

Posted by R. Berg on November 16, 2005

In Reply to: Re: Could care less = couldn't care less posted by Brian from Shawnee on November 16, 2005

: : I heard Dr Phil (Frazier Crane on TV) use the expression "could care less" when in fact he means "couldn't care less". Although the two expressions are logical opposites, I quite often see them used interchangeably in Internet forums. My question is, if you find this to be an error, or if it is actually legitimate to say, as Dr Phil did: "She could care less about what you think" when you mean "she does not care (at all) what you think"?

: It's legitimate as long as your audience understands that you mean "couldn't care less" when you actually say the opposite. This is really the same as using a double negative like "We ain't got no bananas" to mean "We have no bananas". There are some who will point out the technical inaccuracy.

I find it to be an error, not just a technical inaccuracy. "I could care less" was discussed recently in a "pet peeves" thread on a forum for writers and editors. It was around in casual speech (not speech or writing where standard English is expected) before the Internet.