Today, I spoke with someone on the phone. He was really frustrated. REALLY frustrated. I mean, I could hear him stomp his feet and imagined his arms were flailing all around. I'm SURE his face was turning red. His part of the discussion built up to the end when he pretty much yelled, "And you know what? I COULD CARE LESS!!!"
That probably wouldn't be the best time to point out the error of this phrase, right?
Don't worry. I didn't. But, I wanted to do so. Instead, I literally bit my tongue and - as always - tried not to laugh. I rarely succeed.
There are numerous ways in which we flub up our words and pronunciations and grammar, and there is no crime in that. We're human. (I do it all of the time here on the blog.) But, it isn't common to find a phrase that is used by numerous people which is the exact opposite of what they mean to say.
I have been in a few meetings through the years where I haven't been sure if a participant really meant to use the phrase. It can take a while to figure that out because we hear it used incorrectly so often.
My cousin Stephen has the tendency of not using exactly the right words to explain himself. We have a good chuckle when we get together and tease each other about everything. At Christmas, he told me that he could care less about something. I told him I think he meant to say 'I COULDN'T care less.' He told me he couldn't care less about what I think about what he should say. It serves me right.