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"I couldn't care less."

 
 
Reply Fri 15 Jul, 2016 05:17 am
Hello.

I beg your help in understanding the meaning of "less" in the title.
Is it a noun or adverb?
And my book says the sentence means "I don't care at all." but I also don't know why it uses "couldn't" other than "can't."

Thanks and waiting for your answer!
 
View best answer, chosen by botanica
maxdancona
  Selected Answer
 
  7  
Reply Fri 15 Jul, 2016 05:40 am
@botanica,
It is an idiom. It means you don't care (and it is emphatic). Idioms don't have to make sense.

This one does make sense though. You can read it as.. I care so little that I couldn't possible care any less., The "less" is a quantifier on how much you are caring (I hope that helps). It is saying you are caring the absolute minimum amount possible.

You also hear Americans say the opposite "I could care less", which means the same thing even though it seems to be saying the opposite.

But, as I told you, idioms don't have to make sense.

izzythepush
 
  2  
Reply Fri 15 Jul, 2016 06:26 am
@botanica,
If you took the opposite meaning, I could care less, it would need a bit more to make perfect sense. IE. I could care less if.....(something happened that would make me care less.)

I couldn't care less means that regardless of future events and circumstances there is nothing that would make me care any less about this than I do now.

Btw, people who use the term could care less are ignorant of the true phrase, like people who say escape goat, tenderhooks and pass mustard.

It's called an eggcorn.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Fri 15 Jul, 2016 06:42 am
@botanica,
To answer your other questions, "less" in this case is an adverb (modifying the verb to "care").

Could and can are simply two different verbs with different definitions. The phrase "I can't care less" makes grammatical sense. The auxiliary verb "can" relates more to one's ability to do something. The verb "could" relates more to possibility. (The meanings are similar).
0 Replies
 
mark noble
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Jul, 2016 07:23 am
@botanica,
Simplified - "I don't care".
Anything else is embelishment - Which allows (user), whether intended or not, to be categorised.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Jul, 2016 07:26 am
@mark noble,
What's wrong with embellishment? Normal people use these idioms and if you are going to be fluent in English you have no know them.
Sage of Main Street
 
  -1  
Reply Sat 16 Jul, 2016 07:30 am
@maxdancona,
"I could care less" is ignorant; it is not a legitimate idiom. Stupid people don't think about what they say; hearing this phrase gives us a clue that we shouldn't take their opinions seriously. It fits the pattern of "I could eat less," so it actually means "I care too much," which is the opposite of what they think they are saying.

By the way, the bimbo Valley Girl word "clueless" is also illogical, because the ignorant conformist way it is being used would fit the absurdity of saying, "When it comes to doing crossword puzzles, he is clueless."
mark noble
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Jul, 2016 07:32 am
@maxdancona,
Absolutely, not a single, thing, wrong with embelishment.
But 'truth'......
Is one word.
0 Replies
 
mark noble
 
  0  
Reply Sat 16 Jul, 2016 07:33 am
@Sage of Main Street,
I agree.
0 Replies
 
mark noble
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Jul, 2016 07:35 am
@maxdancona,
"NORMAL PEOPLE"!?

What the flying f**K is that?
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Sat 16 Jul, 2016 10:04 am
@mark noble,
This is a thread started by an English language learner. How normal everyday people use the language is the point.
mark noble
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Jul, 2016 10:07 am
@maxdancona,
'Normal-everyday-people'?
Lost me there, max.
I deal with k's of peeps throughout my week - None of them are less than Nuts, nor am I.
What the ******* is Normal, please?
InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Sat 16 Jul, 2016 11:10 am
@mark noble,
Quote:
What the ******* is Normal, please?

People who regularly use embellishments in their speech.
izzythepush
 
  -1  
Reply Sat 16 Jul, 2016 02:11 pm
@mark noble,
I'm guessing sad, middle aged, American white guys who spend all their time whining about how hard it is to be a man.
maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Sat 16 Jul, 2016 02:46 pm
@izzythepush,
What about happy, middle aged, American White guys who spend their time whining about how hard it is to be a man?

You don't think we would do all this rape apologistic wife-beatin' misogyny if it didn't make us happy, do you Izzy?

0 Replies
 
mark noble
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 Jul, 2016 07:25 am
@InfraBlue,
Doing so intentionally.
Follow the plot - It's expected.
0 Replies
 
 

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