care for vs. care to

We should care for them.
We should care to them.

What’s the difference?


“Care for” is used when talking about nouns. Ex: “Jim cares for Martha.” <–means: Jim has affection for Martha.

“Care to” is used when talking about verbs. Ex: “Would you care to go to the mall?” <–means: Would you like to go to the mall?

“We should care to them” is grammatically incorrect.


somewhat formal : to want to do something or to be something

  • I wouldn’t care [=like] to have to make that decision.
  • I wouldn’t care to be in your shoes right now.
  • I’m going for a walk. Would you care to join me?
  • He’ll show the photos to anyone who cares to see them.
  • More factors influenced her decision than she cares to admit.

care for [phrasal verb]

1 care for (someone or something) : to do the things that are needed to help and protect (a person or animal) : to look after (someone or something)

  • She cares for [=takes care of] elderly patients.
  • Who is caring for your son while you are at work?
  • I cared for his cat while he was away.

2 care for (someone) : to feel affection for (someone)

  • He sent flowers to show that he cares for you.
  • I got the feeling he never really cared for me.

3 care for (something) somewhat formal
a : to like or enjoy (something)
—often used in negative statements

  • I don’t care for [=like] jelly beans.
  • He doesn’t care for sports.
  • I don’t care for your tone of voice.
    b : to want (something)
  • Would you care for some pie?
  • I don’t care for any more coffee.