I Could Care Less | Meaning & Use

Common Mistakes updated on  February 20, 2024 2 min read

“I could care less” is a variant of the expression “I couldn’t care less,” which means “I’m not concerned or interested in someone or something.”

Many argue that “I could care less” is grammatically and logically incorrect because the statement conveys that one does care a bit, but it’s possible to care even less.

Despite its literal meaning, “I could care less” has been in use for a long time, and most people would understand it to indicate a lack of interest in something.

Examples: I could care less in a sentence
I could care less about where we go; I just want to eat.
She said she could care less about how the game ended because she had fun either way.
I could care less about what the reviews say; I thought it was a great book.

I couldn’t care less

“I couldn’t care less” is the original and older expression that indicates that someone or something is unimportant to you. In other words, “I couldn’t care less” is synonymous with “I don’t care.”

If you break down the phrase, “I couldn’t care less” expresses that you care so little about something that it’s impossible to care even less than that.

Examples: I couldn’t care less in a sentence
I couldn’t care less about who wins because I’m just here for the food.
He told me that he couldn’t care less about which movie we saw.
They said they couldn’t care less about where they stay as long as they’re together.

Could or couldn’t care less

To remain as logical and grammatically correct as possible, use the phrase “couldn’t care less.”

Although “could care less” is used and understood by many to indicate a lack of interest or concern, it’s possible someone might interpret your statement to mean that you do, in fact, care.

“Could care less” and “couldn’t care less” are both casual phrases and should be avoided in professional and academic writing.

Do you want to know more about common mistakes, commonly confused words, or other language topics? Check out some of our other language articles full of examples and quizzes.


Rhetoric

Commonly confused words

Fallacies

Symbolism

Possum vs opossum

Straw man fallacy

Play on words

Weather vs whether

Post hoc fallacy

Juxtaposition

Inter vs intra

Fallacy of composition

Paronomasia

To vs too

Tu quoque fallacy

Allusion

Subjective vs objective

Either-or fallacy


Frequently asked questions about I could care less

Is it correct to say I could care less?

“I could care less” is an accepted and widely used variant of the expression “I couldn’t care less,” which means that one is “not concerned with or interested in someone or something.”

For example, “Luisa could care less about where we go” indicates that someone named “Luisa” is not concerned with the destination.

To remain grammatically correct while expressing your lack of interest, use “couldn’t care less.”

Is it could or couldn’t care less?

The original (and more logical) saying is “couldn’t care less” (e.g., “I couldn’t care less who wins”). However, “could care less” is widely popular and accepted as a variant of the original saying (e.g., “I could care less how we get there”).


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Gina Rancano

Gina holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, as well as a certificate in professional and public writing from Florida International University. When she’s not writing, she spends her time reading.

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