I Couldn't Care Less
Could you tell me why the phrase "I couldn't care less" means "I do not care at all"?
I really could not figure it out. Contrary to how other people interpreted this, my understanding of "I couldn't care less" is totally different, I think it means "I care a lot."
This is how I got this impression,
Here, the term "less" is used as an adverb, which means "to a smaller degree", right? Okay, then I interpret "I couldn't care less" as "I couldn't care to a smaller degree". To put "I couldn't care to a smaller degree" in other words, it is equivalent to "I could care a large/ huge degree", so I think it means - "I care a lot".
But, according to the definition in my dictionary and a lot of related discussions on the internet, the meaning of "I couldn't care less" is "I do not care at all". Could you tell me why?? How do you interpret this phrase as "I do not care at all"? Could you make this phrase clear for me? Thank you very much!
Hi Presl, this one seems tricky and I can see why you might interpret this expression the why that you did. I will try to make it clear to you.
First, your dictionary is correct.
I couldn't care less = I don't care at all
Think about it this way. Imagine that you are looking at your level of caring and it is on a scale of 1 to 10. One is the lowest amount of caring and ten is the most you can care about something.
Imagine someone asks you if you care that your boss got fired (had to leave his position). Imagine that you HATED your boss. So you do not care at all that he got fired.
Basically, it is impossible for you to care less because you already care the least amount possible. That is what I couldn't care less means. That you already care so little, that you can not possibly care any less.
Physically speaking; if you do not have any money, it isn't possible for you to have less money...because you don't have any.
Another expression that extends this one is, I couldn’t care less, even if I tried. Even if you wanted to care less, it is impossible because you already care the least amount possible.
Make sense now? I hope that helps you understand the meaning. :)
Great question Presl!
Have a great afternoon.
PS: I bought a new office chair (as I was using a dining room chair before) and it is much more comfortable and I think it will be much better for my back when I am working. Let's hope that it helps my back recuperate. :)