“Could Care Less” vs “Couldn’t Care Less”: Main Differences & How to Use Both Correctly as a Writer

I couldn’t care less vs I could care less.

These phrases, which are supposed to communicate that someone doesn’t care about something, are often used interchangeably. Just like other phrases like them, only one actually conveys this intended meaning.  

The correct expression is “I couldn’t care less.” It means a lack of empathy. The second phrase means the opposite of this.

I was also confused about their usage until I gained mastery. You’ll gain mastery after reading this article.

What does “I couldn’t care less” mean?

I couldn’t care less is a figure of speech that is used by people who are expressing that they do not care. It means zero care.

For example, your friend tells you there’s a new romantic movie that has just been released. If you’re not a fan of romance movies, you can respond that, “I couldn’t care less about the movie.”

In this scenario, you’re telling your friend that you do not care at all about the release of the new movie. You have no interest in it.

I couldn’t care less is a way of saying I don’t care. It clearly expresses that you are not concerned about something. This expression can be considered rude.  

How can you use this tip to remember; couldn’t and don’t are synonyms since they end with the same word “nt and they mean opposites. Couldn’t is the short form of could not and it is the same as don’t which means do not.


  • My sister boasted about her new bag, but I couldn’t care less about designer brands.
  • They often discuss the show but I couldn’t care less about celebrity shows because I have enough going on already.
  • I couldn’t care less if he honored the invitation, I will enjoy the meal regardless!

See also: “Wavered” vs “Waivered”: Main Differences & How to Use Both Correctly as a Writer

What does “I could care less” mean?

Most times, when people say I care less, they are actually intending to say they don’t care.  I could care less means you still care about whatever you were saying but not in a high degree. Maybe you’re not excited about it, but you’re not totally indifferent or unconcerned about it.

For example, someone can say;

I could care less about accounting class.

When picking the sentence apart, it may seem this person still has room in their heart to care about accounting, even if what they mean to say is that the class is uninteresting.

Using a scale that is from 0 to 100%, you can care about 30% when you say I care less.

If someone says I could care less, it means that they do care.

I could care less = I care

Examples of could care less vs couldn’t care less

  • I couldn’t care less about the result; I just wanted to brag.
  • I could care less about the result; I just wanted to brag.

Just keep in mind that I couldn’t care less means I don’t care.

Which is Correct; could care less or couldn’t care less

“I couldn’t care less” is correct. But if you use “I could care less,” you’re not alone. Many people have used the wrong expression, and it has almost become a norm.

If you’re using the phrase in writing, however, don’t use “I could care less” because it can lead to confusion. In fact, it may be best to stay away from both phrase since they’re informal, especially in academic and professional writing.

See also: “Homophone” vs “Homonym”: Main Differences & How to Use Both Correctly as a Writer

could care less vs couldn’t care less FAQs

What does “I could/couldn’t care less” mean?

“I could care less” and “I couldn’t care less” are both used to express one’s level of lack of interest in a thing. particular situation or topic.

Is “I couldn’t care less” or “I could care less correct”?

 “I couldn’t care less.” Is this the correct expression? It is the grammatically correct use of the phrase. Though “I could care less” is acceptable in most social settings, it can lead to confusion.

Why is “I could care less” incorrect?

The phrase is used to say  that you care but at a low degree.

Can they be used interchangeably?

No. “I couldn’t care less” is the correct way to say it, but both are socially acceptable in informal communication and get the same point across.


Our advice to you is to stick with the original and correct phrase, “I couldn’t care less,” if you mean to say I don’t care.