Posted by: Idioma Extra | March 16, 2011

Thursday Tidbit

Take care of, care about , or watch out for?

English learners often get confused when using the phrases take care of, watch out for, and care about. There are specific contexts in which to use each one. Let’s take a look at them.

Take care of

Take care of is used when talking about managing, supervising, or acting responsibly for something or someone. It involves some sort of action. Here are some examples:

I need to take care of my nephews this weekend because my sister has to work.

You really should take care of yourself better if you want to be healthy.

Gregory takes care of his bills first before spending his money on other things.

Care about

Care about is used to refer to how you feel about something or what you think is important or not important (if used negatively). It refers to sentiment, not action. Here are some examples:

Some people really care about environmental issues.

It’s obvious that he doesn’t care about his car because it is in such bad condition.

My ideal mate is someone who cares about my problems.

Watch out for

Watch out for is similar to take care of, but is used when referring to something dangerous or risky. It is generally used to warn someone of something that may occur.  Here are some examples:

You need to watch out for robbers while walking through San Jose at night. (you might get robbed)

Be sure to watch out for spelling errors when writing your essay. (you might fail the assignment)

Whenever Shelia is drives, she watches out for pedestrians. (she might hit someone)

Check Yourself

Underline the correct expression to complete the sentence.

1. I need someone to (take care of / care about) my house while I’m on vacation.

2. When you are traveling, you need to (care about / watch out for) people that want to steal your money.

3. I really don’t (care about / take care of) what beach we go to. I just want to leave San Jose!

4. I told her to (care about / watch out for) sharks in the water while swimming.

5. Most people don’t (take care of / care about) things that happen in other places in the world.

6. You should (watch out for / take care of) your belonging when traveling on the bus.

7. My brother never has any money. That’s why he needs to (watch out for / take care of) his money better.

8. I will (take care of / care about) the situation as soon as I return.

9. I don’t think politicians really (care about / watch out for) the people that vote for them.

10. Please (take care of / watch out for) sharp objects when walking on the beach.

Answers to last week’s Check Yourself

Complete the following mini-dialogues below with either What, How, or That’s.

1. A: The teacher talked for hours and hours.

B: _What_ a boring class!

2. A:  I took my son to the hospital yesterday.

B: ___How / That’s__ terrible! Is he OK?

3. A: I bought a new car last week and I’m already having problems with it.

B: __What__ a piece of junk! You should have the dealership fixed it for free.

4. A: I forgot to bring my wallet with me last night and my friend refused to buy me a beer.

B: ___What_ a cheapskate!

5. A: My sister just had twins.

B: __How / That’s__ wonderful! Are they boys or girls? Or one of each?

6. A:  My mother made her home-made lasagna last night.

B: ___How__ delicious! I love Italian food!

7. A: I love ketchup on my pizza!

B: ___How / That’s__ gross!

8. A: I won the lottery just after losing my job.

B: __What_ a lucky break!

9. A: It took me three hours to get home because of traffic.

B: __How / That’s___ frustrating! I hate rush hour!

10. A: Look! My dog destroyed my house while I was at work.

B: __What__ a mess! This’ll take hours to clean up!


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