In my post about the 2010 World Cup Murals, reader Nina left a comment to correct my grammar:
It’s “I COULDN’T care less about soccer.” “I can care less” implies that you do in fact care about soccer and it would be possible for you reduce the amount you care. Make sense?
This was particularly interesting, because I really did think that “I could care less” is a form of sarcasm; hence, my grammar was correct (in my eyes).
Perhaps this mistake owes itself to my not being a native English speaker. But at the same time, this excuse holds no merit when you take into account the fact that I am currently much more comfortable with English than Korean.
However, I still have trouble recognizing common idioms and phrases because I spent the first 8 years of my life in another country, speaking another language. I have picked up a lot through Google and immersement into the (American) English language, but I confess that sometimes I do feel like an idiot when someone uses a not-so-literate piece of jargon and I have to nod and pretend I know what he/she said, or just try figure it out myself.
Hence, the “I could care less” issue. My friends are a sarcastic bunch. I myself am a sarcastic person (I didn’t earn the nickname “Daria” in high school for no reason). I just assumed that it was a sarcastic way of expressing your severe disinterest in a subject.
Are there non-native English speakers among my readers who face similar problems when it comes to deciphering idioms or common phrases, or distinguishing between sarcasm and proper grammar? Or is this confusion also shared by native English speakers?