Wordplay is a blog project featuring posts from students enrolled in ENG 320 Grammar and Linguistics (Fall 2019)

“I Could Care Less” About This Blog

by Jessica Whetham

There are many common phrases in the English language that are frequently used incorrectly. If you’re anything like me, you cringe and feel the urge to correct a person when they do so. I often pick my battles wisely and just bite my tongue. But, there have been times in the past that I have addressed the issue and it caused more problems than it was productive. My good friend in high school often said, “I could care less about [blah, blah, blah],” when it was clear that she should have been saying, “I couldn’t care less about [blah, blah, blah].” She had a horrible attitude towards whatever she was speaking about, and when she said she “could care less,” it implied there was more room for her to actually care less. If she would have been saying, “I couldn’t care less” about the issue, everyone would understand she had already cared as much as she possibly could and there was no more room for her to care any less.

Professor Paul Brians from Washington State University says, “’Could care less,’ whatever meaning you take it to have, does not have that crucial message of zero interest which gives the original saying its sting” (Brians, 2013). When a person is trying to express they really don’t care at all, they should be saying “I couldn’t care less,” rather than, “I could care less.”

Here is a visual to help explain this issue:

As you can see, when you say, “I couldn’t care less,” this means you don’t have any more room to care. When you say, “I could care less,” this means you still have some room to care, implying you still do care about whatever you may be talking about; hence, the title of this blog post.

This blog post is titled, “’I Could Care Less’ About This Blog.” This title was carefully considered, as I do care slightly care about this blog post. Here are some considerations of titles and why I selected the one I did.

“I Care About This Blog”

If I titled this blog, “I Care About This Blog,” it would imply this is something I may find myself doing for enjoyment in my free time. This, however, is not the case. I would not be spending my Saturday night on CSC English Department’s Blog Site doing this for fun, although it is much more enjoyable than expected.

“I Couldn’t Care Less About This Blog”

If I titled the blog, “I Couldn’t Care Less About This Blog,” it would imply that I do not care about this blog at all, so I probably would not be writing this post, voluntary or not.

I Could Care Less About This Blog

The title is, “I Could Care Less About This Blog,” because I do slightly care about this blog post. I am writing this blog because it is a required assignment for ENG 320 that Dr. Evertson will be issuing a grade for; however, I would not do this blog post just for fun.

So, to simplify everything that has been stated above:

Smallest amount of caring- “I couldn’t care less about [blah, blah, blah].”

Medium amount of caring- “I could care less about [blah, blah, blah].”

Largest amount of caring- “I care about [blah, blah, blah].”

So, next time you find yourself or someone else incorrectly using this phrase, please refer back to this blog. I couldn’t care less if this issue doesn’t bother you as much as it does me. I will really care, and will make sure you understand how much I care, if you incorrectly use this phrase around me.


References:

Brains, Paul. (2013). “Common Errors in English Usage.” Washington State University. Retrieved from https://brians.wsu.edu/2016/05/31/could-care-less/


Jessica Whetham is in her fifth year of college studying Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education. She attended Casper College in Casper, Wyoming for three years and is now attending Chadron State College to finish up her degrees. She was born in Chadron, then moved to Greybull, Wyoming when she was eleven. While it is nice to be back in a familiar area with family while attending school, she calls Greybull home–where, she hopes to obtain a teaching position.

5 thoughts on “Wordplay Blog: “I Could Care Less” About This Blog

  1. Jess,
    I loved your creative title for this blog! I really liked that you explained the different ways that you could have titled the bog and how that would change the meaning of it. But laying out exactly what each word means in a sentence, care, could care, and couldn’t care, it lets the reader know exactly which one they should be using. I liked how clear you made this point. After reading this, I can tell that it is a topic that you are interested and passionate about which makes your blog that much better. Very creative topic. Good job!

    Like

  2. Jessica,
    I loved your post! This saying is one that people get incorrect all the time, and I am always so tempted to correct them. I probably do correct the saying more than I should! I have never been that big on grammar in general, but when it comes to certain incorrect phrases or more specifically, the use of “good” and “well”, I usually cringe at the incorrect use by other people. For example, when someone says, “You played good!”, I hear it as a very incorrect way of speaking. I will usually repeat what they said and put “well” in place of “good”, which doesn’t always make people very happy. I don’t know if you are as anal as I am, but I am working on not being so straight forward when I am displeased by someone’s speech!

    Like

  3. Jessica,
    While reading your post, I couldn’t help but giggle. I think you made it very easy to read and follow along with your commentary, and I really was able to evaluate my language usage when I say things like “I could care less”, and realized that I am wrong. The use of graphics was great for a visual learner, and it definitely helped me see and understand just how many cares you give, and just how many cares there are to give. Great post!

    Like

  4. Jessica, I am like you, when I hear people misuse sayings, or phrases like this it makes me cringe too! Another one that I can’t stand is, “I seen”. Absolutely drives me nuts! You are right though, sometimes we have to stifle depending on the situations which can be rough considering we are suppressing our English taught instincts. I can think of many people who could benefit from this blog! Do you think this is something that we can combat in the future, or something that you will stress to your future students?

    Like

  5. Jessica,
    Great job on you post! I really like your title and how explained the different ways you could of titled the blog. Changing a word or two can change the complete meaning of a sentence. There are some words or phrases that people say that drive me nuts, but I am not huge on it. Everyone says words or phrases different because of where they are from or grew up. I usually just accept it and don’t let it bother me.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s