Couldn't Care Less: English Lesson 11

I’ll let David Mitchell in the below video do most of the talking for this English Lesson post. Thanks to my English native friend Ben who sent it to me with the blog in mind. I have always wondered why we say “I couldn’t care less”….


I especially love the part where he says “it’s an inflatable hover fort” (3:00).

Phrases in England are different from ours. As are words spelled differently and pronounced funny, to me anyways. It was these subtleties that taught me British English rarely mirrors the English I had been speaking and perfecting for 22 years.

Sometimes I would answer a question that wasn’t a question at all–their intonations threw me off. Other times I would realize mid-conversation everything the other person was saying was sarcastic which made everything I had been saying understood with sarcastic intentions I didn’t know I had. Confused yet? So was I, for about 12 months.

I’m grateful my professors didn’t deduct points when I consistently dropped the “u” from words like “color” and used the ” instead of the ‘. My supervisor was gentle in how he told me to tone down the American-sounding phrases in my thesis, always the less formal ones. I suppose we tend toward sloppiness in our speech. And they tend toward long-windedness.

Not that one is better than the other, but an dialect that allows for an efficient and completely useful word like “y’all” is fine by me.


  1. Heather on July 22, 2010 at 10:39 am

    Brilliant. Even as an American, it bothers me when people could say “I could care less.” It doesn’t make sense! I’m so glad someone is on a crusade to stop this madness… 🙂

  2. Angela on July 22, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    I loved this blog – especially the video. Being Canadian and having gone to an American university I am fanatical about putting the “u” in colour and neighbour. My students didn’t understand me all the time either! And we share the longest undivided border in the world! One thing I did find strange was the differences between one US state and another. My roommates didn’t always understand each other either!

  3. ashleynashville3 on July 26, 2010 at 11:22 am

    I’ll never forget when my Scottish roommate asked me to hand him the Al-you-min-ee-um.

    I burst into laughter and said “Ah-lum-in-um?! Aluminum foil?!”

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