Careful of/about/with

“One must always be careful of books,» said Tessa, «and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.”

Cassandra Clare «Clockwork Angel»

Когда встречается прилагательное, после которого равноправно могут выступать несколько предлогов,  хочется более тонко уловить разницу между их употреблением. Например, хочется знать, что лучше употребить после careful: of или about или нет разницы?

Сareful of has the sense of being cautious with the idea of mind. Often a notice warning that there is a dog in someone’s house is: Beware of the dog.

Careful about has the idea of paying attention to something you are doing — some kind of action as in: Be careful about crossing this road because the cars travel very fast.

Careful with suggests handling something/someone with particular attention as in: Be careful with that glass ornament because it is very delicate.

Careful on is somewhat unusual because ‘on’ transfers more to another object rather than having a close association with ‘careful’ as in: Be careful on getting (when you get out of) out of the train.

Как видите, о предлогах about и with словарь говорит довольно определенно. Также:

If you tell someone to be careful about doing something, you think that what they intend to do is probably wrong, and that they should think seriously before they do it.

If you are careful with something such as money or resources, you use or spend only what is necessary.

Сделаем вывод, что после about чаще всего употребляется ing-форма, а with имеет значение быть осторожным, чтобы не повредить что-либо, не причинить вред, не разбить, не сломать (Be careful with my heart! Don’t break it!)

Употребление careful of часто сопоставляют с beware of, что значит: Будь осторожен!

В ряде случаев, как видно, можно сделать чёткий выбор между предлогами. Если же выбор затруднителен, придётся выбирать между of/about и with. Попробуем?

Exercise 1. Fill in the gaps with necessary prepositions.

  1. It would force industries to be more careful with natural resources.
  2. She was careful of their feelings.
  3. You can never be too careful about these things.
  4. They are very careful with their money. [=they only spend what they can afford]
  5. Be careful of the traffic.
  6. Please be careful with my glasses (= Don’t break them) .
  7. I’m very careful about washing my hands before eating (= I make sure I do it) .
  8. Bitter past experience had made her careful of what she confided to Nadia.
  9. He’s very careful of his reputation.
  10. She was quite careful about how she spoke to him.
  11. Mara was careful about what she ate.
  12. In such circumstances one would have to be very careful about interpreting the results of Turing tests.
  13. I just have to get my rest, and be very careful with it.
  14. One needs to be very careful about asking if modern science really does commit one to rejecting objective purposes and values.
  15. I was always careful about promises and threats.
  16. People should be more careful about the things they say.
  17. I think you should be careful about talking of the rebels as heroes…

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