Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"

Is there anything you couldn’t care less about?

Today you’ll learn a common mistake natives make with this phrase.

We’ll share interesting phrases for sharing you do or don’t care about something.

These are much more interesting than just saying you don’t care.

Looking forward to anything?

Aubrey asks Lindsay if there is anything she is looking forward to.

Lindsay shares she is looking forward to attending an ugly sweater party.

She is hosting the party.

Aubrey shares that she is looking forward to her kids walking home from school.

This is a huge milestone for her family.

She usually walks them to school and she will now be free of that task.

Today’s episode is inspired by a question from a listener from Taiwan.

Today’s question

I’m Zack. I’m from Taiwan. I have listened to your show for 4 years. I can remember that the first time I listened to your show, I only understood about 50%~60%. Nowadays, my listening skill has indeed improved. Now, I can understand maybe 80%~90%. I really appreciate your great work and I also believe in connection not perfection, so I do recommend my friends who wants to learn English to listen to All Ears English Podcast.

Recently, I read an article. There’s a phrase “couldn’t care less”. It confused me, because it has two negative words, “couldn’t” and “less”. From my instinct, two negative words equal a positive word. However, “couldn’t care less” actually means “couldn’t care” not “could care”.

Could you help me figure out why this phrase needs to add “less” after “couldn’t care” and it still keeps the negative meaning? Is there any other grammar like this?

Thanks again 🙂

Bear Regards,
Zack Huang

Couldn’t be more

Lindsay and Aubrey first discuss the phrase ‘couldn’t be more.’

This was used in their conversation starting the episode.

It is used to emphasize.

  • I couldn’t be more happy…
  • This couldn’t be more expensive…

You will also hear ‘couldn’t be less’ which is also used to emphasize that something is lacking or absent.

Lindsay and Aubrey will dive deeper on how to use this to build connections in English!

You can also check our episode AEE 2109: Fortune 100 Speaker Jessica Kriegel on 3 Culture Questions You Must Ask in a Job Interview.

When less is more and more is less

The most common words that are negatives are ‘no’ and ‘not’.

Other negative words include:

  • neither
  • never
  • no one
  • nobody
  • none
  • nor
  • nothing
  • nowhere

When you use two negative words, it creates the double negative Zack is referring to in his question.

Here are some examples of double negatives.

  • Nobody did nothing.
  • No one went nowhere.

However, these are very glaring mistakes that you should avoid.

In the phrase ‘couldn’t care less’, the word ‘less’ isn’t a negative.

In this context, it’s just sharing the degree or amount of how much something is.

It is used as an adjective to describe or give comparison of how little something is.

Here are some sample phrases with a mini roleplay each:

#1: Couldn’t care less

This means you don’t care at all.


  • I’m sick. I couldn’t care less about keeping my house clean right now.
  • Can be rude or harsh in the same way saying “I don’t care” is.

Mini roleplay

Aubrey: I don’t think that’s what happened.
Lindsay: I couldn’t care less what you think!

#2: Couldn’t be less…

You could use this to mean you are amused with someone or something.

You would also often hear this being used to emphasize you are not interested.


  • I couldn’t be less amused by their behavior.
  • From the film About Time: “I couldn’t be less interested in a life without your father.

Mini roleplay

Lindsay: So you’re upset?
Aubrey: No! I couldn’t be less upset! I’m actually thrilled!

You can also use the following verbs to use this sentence structure:

  • Have: I couldn’t have less time
  • Feel: I couldn’t feel more tired.
  • Show: He couldn’t show less concern.
  • Look or Appear: She couldn’t look more bored.


Adding ‘less’ or ‘more’ to create these chunks is a great way to emphasize what you feel or a point you’re trying to make.

Intonation is also important to make sure you get your message across clearly.

Use these to clear up misunderstandings and add emphasis to your conversations.

What is something you couldn’t be more happy about?

We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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