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Could[n't] Care Less

By: Miss Marm

It's 101 degrees in New York today. Perhaps a plunge into the icy waters of grammar will cool us down! Here's a great email from sligers118:

This isn't exactly having my grammar corrected in an essay, but I just had a small question I was wondering if you'd maybe like to clarify for me. I'm not sure it even counts as grammar but... it's been niggling at me for a while, and I'd love a definitive answer.

So, I'm English and I'm not usually bothered by differences between English and American colloquialisms, but I've seen this in quite a few books and movies and it just doesn't seem to make sense. I'm talking about the distinction between "couldn't care less" and "could care less." To me, it seems like this:

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