I Could Care Less or I Couldn't Care Less?

Should writers use "I could care less" or "I couldn't care less?" If you could care less, then find the answer in this post from editor Brian A. Klems.
Author:
Publish date:

Q: Every time I say, "I could care less," my husband stops me and says, "It's 'I couldn't care less.'" But everyone I know says it the same way I do. Which is correct?—Anonymous

A: For years, my grandma beat "I couldn't care less" into my head just as often as she made me eat my dinner vegetables. And just like broccoli, her grammar correction always left a bad taste in my mouth. But was she right?

(Grammar Rules for Writers.)

When taken literally, the two phrases have opposite meanings. "I couldn't care less" means that it's impossible for me to care any less about the subject at hand than I already do. If I say, "I couldn't care less about hockey," I mean that on a scale of one to 10—with 10 suggesting that I'm the most enthusiastic hockey fan this side of Canada, and one meaning I don't give a flip about the sport—I'm a one. I don't care about hockey at all.

On the other hand, "I could care less" literally means "I care more than I might seem to." If you could care less, you're saying that you care some, which is the opposite of not caring at all.

Now, some folks will argue that "could care less" is intended to be sarcastic and therefore shouldn't be taken literally. But it's hard to convey that in print, so it just looks like unpolished writing.

Stick with "I couldn't care less."

*****

Grammar and Mechanics

No matter what type of writing you do, mastering the fundamentals of grammar and mechanics is an important first step to having a successful writing career.

Click to continue.

Tags
terms:
Grammar Rules
Funny You Should Ask: What Is Going to Be the Next Big Trend in Fiction?

Funny You Should Ask: What Is Going to Be the Next Big Trend in Fiction?

Funny You Should Ask is a humorous and handy column by literary agent Barbara Poelle. In this edition, she discusses the next big fiction trend, and whether or not all books are the same.

From Script

A Change in Entertainment Business Currency and Disrupting Storytelling with Historical Significance (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by ScriptMag.com, learn about how crypto currency is making a wave in the entertainment business, what percentages really mean in film financing, the pros and cons of writing partnerships, an exclusive interview with three-time NAACP Image Awards nominee, co-creator and former showrunner of CBS’ 'S.W.A.T.' Aaron Rahsaan Thomas and more!

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Putting Off Submissions

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Putting Off Submissions

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is putting off submissions.

The Transformative Power of a Post-First-Draft Outline

The Transformative Power of a Post-First-Draft Outline

Have you ever considered outlining after finishing your first draft? Kris Spisak walks you through the process.

Poetic Forms

The Skinny: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the skinny, a form created by Truth Thomas.

The Benefits of Writing Book Reviews

The Benefits of Writing Book Reviews

A book review is more than sharing an opinion—it's a conversation between readers. Sam Risak shares the benefits of writing books reviews, as well as best practices for getting started.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Give In

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Give In

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character give in to something or someone.

Essential Versus Non-Essential Mystery

Essential Versus Non-Essential Mystery

What gets a reader to keep turning pages? Author Amanda Kabak seeks to answer that question here.

5-Minute Memoir: Anonymous Fame

5-Minute Memoir: Anonymous Fame

5-Minute Memoir is exactly what it sounds like—a personal essay on some facet of the writing life, be it a narrative or a reflection, pensive, touching or hilarious. Enjoy this installment from Barbara Neal Varma.