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Careless or carefree?

Children swingingBe careful not to confuse careless and carefree!

If someone is careless, they do not pay enough attention to what they are doing. If something is careless, someone has not given it enough attention. For example:

It was very careless of you to leave the door unlocked last night.
I’m worried about Jimmy’s bad spelling and careless handwriting.
One careless remark made when the microphone was switched on lost him the election.

If someone is carefree, they have no worries or are even irresponsible. If something is carefree, it causes no worries or problems. For example:

These days, her life is peaceful and she seems carefree.
He is very carefree with other people’s money.
He led a carefree life in that big, rambling farmhouse.

In other words, careless corresponds to Dutch onzorgvuldig, and carefree corresponds to Dutch zorgeloos.

©2014 Baxter Publishing, Hilversum, The Netherlands



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