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Psychiatrist: As a psychiatrist it can be depressing listening to clients' problems all day, but that's the job.

Person: So is it just a job to you or do you actually care?

Psychiatrist: I care.

  • Is the question natural and meaningful?

  • Is "care" enough? Is it clear what is meant by it? Or should I add something to it "care about…"?

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    Your two conversants could spend the rest of the day discussing exactly what to care might mean in the context of people working in the caring professions. This isn't really a question about "English" - it's about how people in those kinds of jobs maintain some kind of meaningful work/life "balance". – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica May 4 at 13:52
  • Is this question about something you are writing? The answer depends on what you are trying to say. Also, the previous question was asked with the same ambiguity: "Do you actually care?". If that question was accepted as is, "I care." is an acceptable answer. – Jack O'Flaherty May 4 at 13:52
  • There's usually a difference between saying a nurse cares for patients or cares about them (which there might not have been, a century or two ago). But is that actually what this question is about? – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica May 4 at 13:54
  • "So is it just a job to you or do you actually care about your clients?" Is this natural and meaningful to ask? Would "genuinely" be better than "actually"? – Doctornf May 4 at 14:22
  • Better in what sense? It's your sentence. What are you trying to say? – Jack O'Flaherty May 4 at 14:43
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As written it's entirely natural in moderately formal spoken English.

The difference between care and care about ("...do you actually care about it?") in this context would be a subtle one. In my opinion care fits better because its opposite is a slightly more generalized apathy. One can easily imagine a character saying, "Nowadays psychiatry is just a job to me. I don't care any more." It just sounds more jaded and burned out than, "I don't care about it any more," which implies overall emotional health and just a simple loss of interest.

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