Today I’m answering a question from a student who asked how to use the phrases “I couldn’t agree more” and “I couldn’t care less” – so today I’ll explain them by using a couple of mini-dialogues.
When you’re learning English phrases, it’s so helpful to learn them in context – that way you can see how people use them, and understand the phrases better.
That’s why the lessons in my Everyday English Speaking Courses are based on conversations – first you read/listen to a conversation, and then you learn the phrases that were used in it.
I couldn’t agree more
OK, let’s look at our first mini-dialogue between Sarah and Joanna:
Sarah says: “I think there should be stronger laws to protect the environment.”
Joanna: “I couldn’t agree more! Preserving the earth and its resources is the most important issue for our generation.”
Does it sound like Joanna agrees or disagrees with Sarah?
She agrees – Joanna expresses an opinion that is in line with Sarah’s, not in conflict with it.
Does she slightly agree or strongly agree?
She strongly agrees – she says the issue of environmental protection is essential.
So the phrase “I couldn’t agree more” expresses extremely strong agreement – you agree 100%; it’s not even possible for you to agree more than you already do.
I couldn’t care less
Now let’s look at “I couldn’t care less.” Here are John and David talking:
John says, “Did you know that Rachel Robinson just broke up with her boyfriend?! It’s all over the news…”
David replies, “Uh, I don’t even know who she is. I couldn’t care less about the personal lives of celebrities or whatever.”
Does it sound like David DOES care or DOESN’T care?
He clearly doesn’t care.
How about the degree – does he not care only a little bit, or he REALLY doesn’t care?
He REALLY doesn’t care.
The phrase “I couldn’t care less” means I care 0%, it’s not possible for me to care even less.
A quick note – some people use an incorrect version of this phrase and they say “I could care less” – still with the meaning of completely NOT caring. This doesn’t make sense, and like I said it’s incorrect, but I want you to be aware of it so that if you hear someone say it, you won’t be confused. It still means they totally don’t care about something.
Today we learned that “I couldn’t agree more” means “I agree 100%” and “I couldn’t care less” means “I care 0%; I completely don’t care.”
If you want to learn lots and lots more English phrases and expressions for everyday life, come check out my Everyday English Speaking Courses – the lessons are fun, fast, and really work well for improving your spoken English.
One last thing, I challenge you to put today’s phrases into practice – what’s a statement to which you would respond “I couldn’t agree more”? And what’s something you couldn’t care less about? Give it a try so you’ll remember these expressions better.
That’s all for today – I’ll talk to you in the next video!