'I could care less'... is it just me?

I see this (and hear it from my American friends) from time to time. Is it just me who thinks it’s what Brits might call ‘arse-about-face’ (i.e. backwards)? Of course you could care less…Isn’t what you’re trying to say ‘I couldn’t care less’?

BTW, it’s not just Yanks - in the UK if something is unexpectedly good value, you’ll sometimes hear ’it’d be cheap at half the price’. !!! YES, IT WOULD!! Isn’t what we mean 'it’d be cheap at TWICE the price? Is there some cosmic thing I alone am not getting? Do I need to get out more?

Right on, Xerxes! Admittedly, I have seen other people here expressing great loathing for “could care less”, but I’ve also seen it used quite frequently here, and it’s so damn silly. (It’s a good thing there’s no recording of the things that I growl at my computer when stuff like that appears on screen.) :slight_smile:

As for “cheap at half the price”, you’re right, that’s weird too. I think it’s less widespread though, as I haven’t heard it at all often, and I tend to think that it must have been a sort of joke once, and has lost any point at all by becoming old and very stale.

Somewhere along the line the n’t was dropped. As a result, “I could care less” now means “I couldn’t care less.”

It was supposed to read:
It’s called an “idiom,” something not meant to be parsed literally

I am sure ‘it’d be cheap at half the price’ was originally sarcastic and not so long ago either. Certainly when I first started hearing it that was the intention. In the last few years, perhaps through overuse, people stopped listening to the words and missed the joke. A similar thing happened with ‘same difference…’ which IIRC was coined by Eric Idle in a TV advert for Breakaway chocolate biscuits (sorry, cookies) based around his Python ‘Nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more squire’ sketch: ‘digestive, suggestive - same difference, nudge nudge…’

I’m one of those people expressing great and terrible loathing for the phrase “I could care less”. Be grateful that you don’t live in Texas, Xerxes, where it’s horribly common (along with double negatives and other atrocities).

As for “Cheap at half the price”–it’s not so common here. I’ve always tended to parse it as “At half-price, it would still be overpriced”. My own phrase for this is “Cheap, yet not inexpensive”.

Right on, Xerxes! That particular phrase is a pet peeve of mine. I agree wholehartedly with you.

Two other things that set my teeth on edge:

*Using the word “goes” in place of “says” (i.e. “So, he goes, ‘I didn’t know!’”) He didn’t leave! He’s STILL HERE! He said he didn’t know. The things you hear when you don’t have a gun. . . :wink:

*Something that seems to be restricted to central/western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio: dropping the “to be” when discussing something that needs to be done. For example, saying “The floor needs waxed” instead of "The floor needs to bewaxed. I hate this almost as much as I hate the lyrics to “Heard It In A Love Song.” So take that, Charlie Daniels fans!

Your pal,


NO IT DOESN’T. It * should * be couldn’t care less if that is the meaning you intend. If you use could, then there are things that you do indeed care less about.

pant, pant
Can we all tell this is one of my peeves? The fact that English is a living and therefore changeable language does not mean we have to accept the lazy ass phrase or pronunciation over the correct phrase or pronunciation.
There are about a dozen threads on this sort of thing on this board - if you’re intersested in a lot of fruitless ranting, you may want to take a look.

Also…what’s this word ‘nother’? That’s a whole nother thing…NOTHER? short for ANOTHER? It STILL doesn’t make sense…it’s a whole OTHER thing.

grrrr…I married an English teacher, he’s taught me to hate.


Here’s another one that really grates me–and the media are especially guilty of using it:

(example) “The house is the largest, if not THE LARGEST, on the street.”

Now, what the speaker thinks s/he is saying is that the house may possibly be the largest one on the street. But what it really means is that, no, while the house is not the largest on the street, it is still quite large.

Somehow folks think that by inflecting on the word “the” (as in, “if not THE largest,”) it somehow changes the overall meaning. Doesn’t.

My own personal pet peeve, (along with ‘goes’ for said)
try and instead of try to.

“I’ll try and be there.”

No, you will “try to be there”

This is especially annoying to hear on the news.
When I went to school, way back when, journalism students were expected to know how to write. Shouldn’t this also apply to Broadcast Journalism, or whatever it’s called these days?
(I’m working on my Curmudgeon merit badge. I think I’m up to Grumpy old Fart so far.)

I despise the phrase “could care less.” You IDIOT. If you CAN care less, that implies that you DO care about what you’re talking about. And “could care less” does NOT mean “couldn’t care less.” In fact, it means exactly the OPPOSITE.

A friend and I used to make fun of a friend who said “I could give a rats ass what you are saying.” From then on, we kept asking her “Are you selling any rat asses? I am in desperate need of a rat ass, apparently you have some that you can give to me.”

Re: “The floor needs waxed.” Haven’t heard that one, but it sounds terrible. On the other hand, note that “The floor needs waxing” is correct grammar.

My pet peeve is people who’s pet peeve is “I could care less.”

Have you guys never heard of IRONY!?

“I could care less”, when said sarcastically, actually means “I couldn’t care less”!! Wow, what a concept!

Case closed, problem solved … now go find something else to bitch about, like “fat chance” or “head over heels”.

I humbly admit that I too, at one time, used the pharase “I could care less.” It was the mistake of a mixed-up teenager. I think that people who use the phrase are either:
b)making a feeble attempt at sarcasm while merely making apparent their lack of verbal skills.

I grew up in Pittsburgh. I didn’t even know that this was wrong until I moved out of that area. It took about six months of my gf yelling “TO BE! TO BE! TO BE!” everytime I left a “to be” out of a sentence before I started getting it right. FTR, I know get it right, 95% of the time.

I might start an 11-step program. “De-Yinz yourself in 30 days!”

I humbly admit that I too, at one time, used the pharase “I could care less.” It was the mistake of a mixed-up teenager. I think that people who use the phrase are either:
b)making a feeble attempt at sarcasm while merely making apparent their lack of verbal skill.

I live in Texas, so I can’t even begin to list the many phrases that anger me. One that is commonly used in the South and REALLY angers me is “fixin’ to.” “I’m fixin’ to go.” WHAT?!?! Are you fixing something, or are you leaving? I wanna know who thought of that one so I can beat his descendants senseless!!!

My brother is an English major, and he seems more able to accept colloquialisms than I am.

And, to drive home the point that I have learned a thinkg or two since I moved south, “Heard it in a Love Song” is by The Marshall-Tucker Band, not Charlie Daniels. :stuck_out_tongue:

Geeze. I tried to stop the first post from loading because I wasn’t quite done. And I was just about to angrily insult Monocracy for using"who’s" rather than “whose.” I’ll just be polite though. It’s a common mistake.

As you may or may not recall, Charlie Daniels’s most famous song is “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” Oh, how I loathe that song! I loathe it with a passion!!

I do recall that, but I dont see how it is relevant? :confused: