Monday, October 18, 2010

영어 Hint of the Day #16: "I could not care less" OR "I could care less." 상관 있어요?

영어 Hint of the Day #16:  I could not care less OR I could care less.  Which one is right?

"I couldn't care less" translates to 상관 없어요, except that it is used in situations when it really doesn't matter. 

When something does not matter to the speaker, than the speaker could say:
(o)  It does not matter to me.
(o)  I don't care.
(o)  I couldn't care less.
(x)  I could care less.

This phrase should not be used when speaking to people that you respect.  It is used is a very negative way.  For example, it is not appropriate when choosing choosing something to eat.  It is usually a phrase used when you may strongly dislike all of the options.  In that way, it is a bit stronger than 상관 없어요.  Neither phrase is used when speaking in formal situations, and not when the speaker wants to speak politely. 

Many native English speakers actually use this phrase incorrectly, and say "I could care less."  There isn't any real reason that this occurs, other than the fact that someone has learned incorrectly, developed a bad habit, and continues to use the wrong phrase.  Now, the fact is that "I could care less" could also mean "I care more."  So logically, the phrase does not make sense when spoken as "I could care less." 

If you think that you have heard someone say "I could care less," the speaker really meant "I couldn't care less."


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