I have faced a lot of times at a chat or some Q&A site a reply:

Care to elaborate?

As far as I understand, the poster is asking for more details or explanations.

However, in this case, I'd use more polite "Would you elaborate?", because the word "care", in this context, sounds a bit offensive. Am I right or I misunderstood a "flavour" (I don't know how to call it as a non-native speaker) of this is a widely used phrase?

Should I understand it as passive-aggressive, neutral or even polite?

2 Answers 2


I've always treated "Care to elaborate?" as a neutral statement without any ill will, additional politeness or passive aggressiveness. It's just a shorthand for the more formal sounding alternative you provided:

Would you elaborate?

This doesn't mean that "Care to elaborate?" can't be used passive-aggressively, but that would be down to context, intonation, all the usual things that would signify this type of subtext.

  • So the conclusion is the phrase is neutral, but keep aware that although it's usually neutral, there could be a passive-aggressive meaning behind, which is hard to guess in case of a stand-alone statement, right? Oct 9, 2017 at 11:55
  • That is a good summary of my answer, yes.
    – Mara
    Oct 9, 2017 at 12:11

Care to elaborate? is elliptic (conversational) for Would you care to elaborate?

The literal meaning of that is "Would you (be willing to) take the trouble to elaborate?"; so, far from being rude, it is politer than "Could you elaborate".

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