The first time I used the phrase “I couldn’t care less” here in the U.S. I got a strange look from my American companion.
“You mean ‘you could care less’,” she corrected me.
“No,” I said “I could NOT care less, meaning I don’t care about the outcome.”
“Oh, over here we say that we could care less,” she explained.
And so that got me to thinking whether I could or I couldn’t care less. After examining the statement I decided to stick with the Irish expression. It just makes more sense to my Irish mind.
You see, if you say you could care less, to me it means you still care more than a little about the situation, which in fact could mount up to an awful lot of concern.
By making the statement in the negative, like we do in Ireland, it means you could not care any less, which to me, means not caring at all.
Now don’t worry. I won’t start trying to convince anyone my way of saying this expression is correct. I fully accept it is an American colloquialism and has become generally accepted over time.
But on the other hand, if I annoy my American friends with my expressions of NOT caring less, because you do care less, I couldn’t care less.
And on that note, I am not sure if I could or I couldn’t care less whether you found this little post, about the subtleties of expressions between two different cultures, to be beneficial or not.
Slán agus beannacht leat!
(Goodbye and blessings)
Irish American Mom