Thursday 29 April 2010

A phrase that is repeatedly used incorrectly is ...

Guys, I just can't stand it. I seriously have to say this, because my friend Stephen pointed it out to me the other day, and now I can't stop seeing it EVERYWHERE. If you are one of the culprits - do not despair - today is the day that you will never make this mistake again.

The phrase is: I couldn't care less.

NOT: I could care less.

People, by saying 'I could care less' is implying the exact opposite of what you are feeling.

So there you are. My lesson completed. :)


  1. Yeah, there are couple expressions out there that people constantly seem to trip over...
    With that one, whenever I hear it I mentally complete it with "...but it would take a supernatural effort."

    Have you read this strip? It's directly related:

  2. Bahaha you crack me up! I understand though, say what you mean dammit!!!

  3. mom hated that one and "tell me about it".

    Personally, it drives me crazy when people take things out of the freezer to unthaw.

    uhhh, technically that means to freeze.

  4. @MissV: Technically, wouldn't that be to refreeze?
    Unthaw would imply that it thawed out to some extent and you had to reverse that effect...
    So basically unthawing is a serious health risk! ; j

  5. "I couldn't care less" stands on it's own.

    I still believe you can use the other phrase, but it has to be combined with a certain level of snarky clause, in order to get the meaning behind it --- "I could care less, but it's not worth expending the energy to get there."

  6. I would imagine that "I didn't do nothin'" would fall into the same camp.

  7. Yikes! You've pulled on over on the grammar police! I totally say "I could care less".

    Lesson learned!


  8. Ever since I first heard, "I could care less" I wondered what on earth they meant. :) It bugs me too!

  9. ...and then there are those who say "to all intensive purposes" instead of "to all intents and purposes".
    It would be funny if it weren't so ridiculously wrong.

  10. Hah, good one Jessica, I hate that too. I don't know why I'm such a stickler for certain little things in English when I am so disorganized and care free about most everything else.

    Oh well.

    I could care less ... but I won't.

  11. Yes, I've heard a lot of people botch that one. But I couldn't care less...:)

  12. The part of England where I spent most of my childhood speak alot like that, so I guess I am guilty of saying the opposite to what I mean.
    Very interesting , never thought about it before.


  13. i could easily be one of the the culprits in this! one day i was having a conversation with an English teacher in Hong Kong. i spoke the word
    in-ter-rest-ing dragging it out in long fashion. she said to me, "That's a loooong word , Bud." in a real condescending manner. paranoia crept in quickly at her remark. to be honest, it hurt. after that, i always said, "intristing"...

    BUT...i always listen to other pronunciations of the word now. Newscasters and commentators run 50-50 on how they pronounce this word. people with degrees up the kazoo go both ways on it as well.

    now...i'm going to remember this. but it's okay. it's a wonderful thing to be teachable:) this is how all of us can grow. thank you for this. i will watch it from now on....

  14. Oops, I think I have used I could care less before.

  15. Arrrgh. I hate this too!

    Thank you for the lovely comment on my blog!

  16. My pet peeve is when people say (and write!!!) "could of" instead of "could have".

  17. Ack! This one's right up there with irregardless...

  18. I like the whole, 'whet your appetite' vs. 'wet your appetite'...drives me nuts.

  19. Playing catch up on your blog.

    It is a pet hate of mine, that and, I am itching myself...grrr it's scratching, the fleas are itching! *grin*

  20. PART 1 OF 2:
    So it's getting to you now too, eh, AlliAllo?

    That has been driving me batty for freakin' decades. It's all I can do not to correct the person every time I hear it said. Normally, I can let that stuff go, because my grammar "ain't" perfect either, but this one, for whatever reason, is like nails on a chalkboard to me.

    On my politically incorrect Blog, I include a periodic series titled "Sex, Tattoos & Violence R Us" which is a collection of short, unrelated observations. In my June, 2009 issue, I included this:

    This is another thing that’s been bugging me for years: I can’t believe how often people say it incorrectly. Listen up, nitwits, the proper way to say it is, “I COULDN’T CARE LESS.” Why is it that so few say it correctly? No less than 8 out of 10 times, the person will say, “I could care less.” I even find it consistently written incorrectly in newspaper and magazine articles! You’d expect that at least the professional writers would “write it right.” Teachers and public speakers get it wrong on a regular basis, too! Do you realize that when you say “I could care less” you are actually saying the EXACT OPPOSITE of what you meant to say? The idea that you’re intending to convey when you say “I COULDN’T care less” is that this thing (whatever’s being discussed) is of such little interest to you that there is NOTHING out there that you care less about! That when it comes to caring, this is scraping the very bottom of the barrel. But when you say “I could care less” that’s like saying you COULD care less. Get it? In other words, you haven’t yet reached the very bottom of the barrel of caring. I’m only pointing this out to you people because I care more than I do not.

    ~ "Lonesome Dogg" McMe

    [Continued below...]

  21. PART 2 OF 2:
    In a different installment of "Sex, Tattoos & Violence R Us" I went on another rant about the English language. It looked like this:


    The only thing more messed up than America is the American version of the English Language. What’s up with this?! For instance: The plural of “potato” is “potatoes” and the plural of “tomato” is “tomatoes”. So, will someone please tell me why in hell is the plural of “avocado” NOT “avocadoes”? If you have more than one avocado, you have “avocados.” Where da “e” be?

    My brother Nappy speaks fluent Spanish, and he once told me that in many ways English is a much harder language to learn than is Spanish. Granted, Spanish has some rules that one cannot discern through reason and must therefore be memorized - such as whether a word is considered masculine (ending in “o”) or feminine (ending in “a”), etc. But there are many more nonsensical rules to English that cannot be logically explained and must just be remembered. There have been times when Nappy was attempting to explain the English language to a Mexican and the person asked, “But why is it said so and so?” And Nappy, unable to provide any logical explanation, has had to reply, “It just is”. That’s pretty sorry. And it makes us English speakers seem like maroons.

    And this is why for many years I have been in a permanent, angry rebellion against the English language. If you read the stuffs I write for any length of time, you will notice a number of oddities in the way I capitalize and punctuate. For one thing, I never use a semicolon in conjunction with a conjunction! Sometimes my unconventional punctuation occurs because I’m sloppy, and I’m sloppy because I’m careless. And other times my punctuation is sloppy because I’m drunk. Or it might be sloppy because . . . Uhp! I’m an idiot! But more times than not, my unconventional punctuation is a deliberate act of rebellion.

    To illustrate: Let’s suppose I walked into a bar, pulled out a gun and told bartenderboy to make me a martini and to be quick about it. If I were to write about this crime later, I would do it like THIS:

    I walked into the bar, pulled out a gun, and I told bartenderboy, “Make me a martini and be quick about it”.

    Notice how I put that period OUTSIDE of the closing quotation mark rather than before it? According to “orthodox” punctuation, that’s incorrect. But logic demands it be punctuated the way I do it. Why? Because the text enclosed by the quotation marks is supposed to indicate EXACTLY what I said to bartenderboy, and I DID NOT SAY to him, “Make me a martini and be quick about it period”

    [And I’ll tell you another thing: If bartenderboy made that martini with vodka, I would have shot his arse. How many times do I have to tell you people that a martini is made with gin? Don’t make me say it A-GIN!]

    Now I’ll admit that I frequently forget to rebel and I ACCIDENTALLY punctuate and capitalize in the “orthodox” way rather than the right way. But those are the times when I’m just careless, idiotic, or drunk. Or all three.

    For me, the bottom line is this: Until publishers start publishing the books by e.e. cummings with book covers that read “by E.E. Cummings” (properly capitalized), then I consider ALL of the so-called “rules” of written English to be but mere “suggestions.” If e.e. cummings is above the law, then why ain’t I? (Yeah, uh-huh, that’s right, I said “AIN’T”. Whatchoo gonna do about it, Teacherboy?)

    ~ "Lonesome Dogg" McMe

  22. God bless you and I think I love you, is that ok?

    I am such a grammar freak and hate when people say that too and have NO clue they make no sense! I have been a real word freak lately too, it seems like everywhere I look people are talking about ectopic pregnancies, except at least 3 times in the last month or so, they have said eptopic pregnancy. NO SUCH THING PEOPLE!!!! Not even a word!

    Then this morning I was listening to the radio and the guy was trying to say the word 'tenet' as in the fact that Jesus Christ was wholly man is an important tenet in Christianity, except he pronounced it 'tenant'...and I screamed a little.

    So that's all, and that's why I love you more today, LOL!

  23. YES. Just yes.

  24. Yep, I'm right there with ya on this one. OH and here's a good one: Instead of saying "chest of drawers", I've heard it said "chester drawers". UGH! But I've made my share of these types of mistakes, so I'll stop here. :)

  25. Thanks for your input guys! But really ... I couldn't care less. No. Seriously. I do. I couldn't not care less :) What? You could care less? NO! I COULDN'T I said. Ah bleh.

    Stephen: WHOAH! Where's this politically incorrect blog of yours? I wanna join :)

  26. I thoroughly this post and all of the interesting comments. I follow a blogger in Australia (royal rendevous) who writes concise histories about members of the British royal family. I follow another blogger in England (rose tea cottage) who serves 'afternoon tea' with beautiful photos and lovely poems. And so on. I guess the point is that we all speak English. And the fact that English is the language of so many throughout the world is truly a gift. The bow on the gift is that we can correct those errors through discussions like this. So, well done!

  27. You are absolutely, inevitably, undoubtedly, indubitably correct. That, too, has bothered me for a long time. Good for you for pointing it out. Best regards to you, Ruby

  28. One of my students wrote that she had been "taken for granite." Sometimes grading is fun.

  29. Ooh, that one gets me, too. Along with other chestnuts like "most importantly." It's "most important" people!! LOL. We could do this all day :D


“I'm using my art to comment on what I see. You don't have to agree with it.” ~John Mellencamp

“Allowing an unimportant mistake to pass without comment is a wonderful social grace” ~Judith S. Marin

“I don't ever try to make a serious social comment.” ~Paul McCartney

“I'd make a comment at a meeting and nobody would even acknowledge me. Then some man would say the same thing and they'd all nod.” ~Charlotte Bunch

“Probably what my comment meant was that I don't care about the circumstances if I can tell the truth.” ~Sally Kirkland

“We're not going to pay attention to the silliness and the petty comments. And quite frankly, women have joined me in this effort, and so it's not about appearances. It's about effectiveness.” ~Katherine Harris