Why do you think 'care' does not used transitively preceding an object as in "He is caring her."

I want to know why you are feeling it incorrect, if you have good ideas to explain it clearly.

In my opinion, it does not make sense, because the meaning of the sentence cannot be fixed to be one thing.

That is to say, for me, it seems likely to be read largely as either his care is affecting her to feel tired of him, or he is affecting her to care, so I suppose by the ambiguity 'care' cannot be used transitively in such a construction and native speakers are feeling it unnatural, though they seem to know it is incorrect instinctively by the knowledge having been unwittingly accumulating for a lifetime.

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    So you are asking, "Why is English English, and not Something-that-isn't-English?". I'm sorry, languages are as they are, not as somebody thinks they ought to be. – Colin Fine Jul 28 '18 at 8:54
  • A sentence can be ambiguous (address two things) and still be correct in the use of English. An example is "If the baby does not thrive on raw milk, boil it"... – Solar Mike Jul 28 '18 at 8:57
  • @Colin Fine I can't help agreeing anymore with you, but I am the ideologist insisting that everthing comes from a reason, even though it is a subjective thing like a language. There should be an appropriate reason for it. – Zenith Jul 28 '18 at 9:08
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    @EvaristeGalois: Good luck! (For clarity, I am using that wish in its common ironic meaning, something like "I don't think your plan has the slightest chance of success"). – Colin Fine Jul 28 '18 at 9:14
  • @Solar Mike However, I think, in the case you suggested, if a context were more added, the ambiguity could be resolved unlike care-sentence. There is nothing context to help care-sentence get rid of ambiguity. – Zenith Jul 28 '18 at 9:19

Because the verb "care" is intransitive.

As English is a natural language, the only reason "why" is historical. In this case, the older meanings of "care" are related to having a feeling: If you were happy, you "rejoiced"; if you were sad, you "cared" (This meaning is obsolete in modern English)

Since it used to mean "have an emotion" it wouldn't make much sense to "care somebody". Just like we can't say "I rejoiced her" or "I cried her" we can't say "I cared her".

Now "care" has lost that meaning and picked up new ones. But the grammatical rule that "care" is intransitive has persisted. Nobody planned this.

"He's caring her" is not correct English. If someone said this it would probably be understood to be an error for "He's caring for her", or "He cares about her", depending on context. It could not be understood to mean "His care is causing her to be tired" or "He is causing her to care".

  • Then, what do you think of my reasoning? Doesn't it make sense and be plausible at all? – Zenith Jul 28 '18 at 10:20
  • And transitive also— don't care what they say • doesn't care a damn, Would you care to dance? – Michael Login Jul 28 '18 at 10:44
  • I don't care for your reasoning. "care" could a transitive verb, meaning "care for". It wouldn't be particularly ambiguous. – James K Jul 28 '18 at 11:09
  • @My Log Good suggestions! However, they are not of the case I subjected as a problem. – Zenith Jul 28 '18 at 15:39
  • @Mv Log: I would not consider I do not care what they say to be an example of a transitive use of care. It is not at all the same as I do not like what they say. I understand what they say in the care example to be a form of whatever they may say. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jul 28 '18 at 16:41

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