I want to know if there is any distinction between care and care about. For instance, I often say 'What do I care about?' rather than 'What do I care?'. I looked up the Merriam-Webster dictionary and it did not help. It seems care and care about are almost the same. Sure I know in care about, care is an intransitive verb.

My possibly wrong guess is that care about puts more emphasis on the object that we care while care is very much focused on the verb itself.

'What do I care about' is really weird like you guys said. It should be 'What does somebody else care about?'. My bad :).

  • "What do I care?" is a common idiom. "What do I care about?" sounds like a rhetorical question. Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 22:15
  • It would be a bit weird to say "What do I care about?" - that's asking someone else to tell you what things you care about. Presumably you should know better than them! But "What do I care?" doesn't request an answer at all - it's an informal version of the rhetorical question "How much do I care?", with the implied answer "Not a lot - in fact, probably not at all". Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 22:16

2 Answers 2


"care" implies a much more general feeling or emotion. "care about" almost always has a more specific object/target.

You'd likely hear someone say: "I could care less". You'd virtually never hear someone say "I could care less about" unless it's followed by an object.

  • You need more than 1 point! +1
    – Oldcat
    Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 22:13
  • 1
    I think that's mainly the American version (which I must admit still sounds totally nonsensical to me, even after repeated exposure). The British version is "I couldn't care less". Whenever I hear the US one I always think "Well why don't you care less, since you're plainly not interested?" Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 22:21
  • We Americans care so little that we leave the 'not' out.
    – Oldcat
    Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 23:13
  • @Oldcat I love it! :D Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 23:35
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    Yes - in the US, "I could care less" and "I could not care less" mean the same thing.
    – Oldcat
    Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 23:54

"What do I care about" is a strange thing to say out loud. It implies you are asking yourself to list things that you care about...kittens, bunnies, flowers, etc.

"What do I care" is a dismissive statement to another person showing your disinterest in the subject they are talking about.

  • Thank you! 'What do I care about' is indeed weird! It should be 'What do you care about?' :). Thanks again. Commented Jan 30, 2014 at 23:37

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