What's the difference between "care for something" and "care about something"? English is not my first language so I'm looking for clarity. May use them interchangeably?

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    "Care about" means it matters to you; "care for" means you take care of it. You care for your child because you care about your child.
    – Dan Bron
    Dec 10, 2014 at 18:07
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    @Dan: I've no intention of trying to find corroborating evidence, but I'm sure the vast majority of people who've ever said "You know I care for you" or similar meant it in the sense of "You matter a great deal to me" rather than "I attend to your needs". Dec 10, 2014 at 18:16
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    @FumbleFingers Fair point, but I think that's an idiomatic usage, and the more common and useful rule of thumb is the one I outlined above.
    – Dan Bron
    Dec 10, 2014 at 18:18
  • @DanBron I have heard people use these two statements in place of the other 1. I dont care for your opinion and 2. I dont care about your opinion. Is it right in both instances if not, which one is correct.
    – Tatenda
    Dec 10, 2014 at 18:30
  • While your example of 'care for' was the first one to spring to my mind, there is also the usage, "I don't care for pungent cheeses". This version implies a more mild preference where as care about would be used to describe how you feel regarding the near extinction of giant pandas.
    – IchabodE
    Dec 10, 2014 at 18:33

1 Answer 1


Care about has one meaning: to have it be important to you. If you care about a cause, fashion, your family, etc., it means that those things are important to you.

Care for has a wider variety of meanings. It can mean something similar to care about, but it's often used to talk about people you care about. For instance, you care about the environment and you care about your family, but you also care for your family because they're important to you and you love them. Care for can also mean "take care of," as in "I'm caring for my aunt's dogs while she's out of town."

Not care for, in addition to meaning the opposites of the meanings of care for, can also mean "mildly dislike," as in "I don't care for the color purple."


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