Spanish word of the week: cuidado

el cuidado NOUN care

One of the basic meanings of cuidado is care:

Esta blusa hay que lavarla con cuidado. This blouse needs to be washed with care.

The phrase con cuidado often translates as carefully:

Lo abrió con cuidado. He opened it carefully.

And you can intensify cuidado with adjectives such as mucho or the more literary sumo:

Hay que estudiar la propuesta con mucho cuidado. We need to look at the proposal very carefully.
Abrió la puerta con sumo cuidado para que no la oyeran. She opened the door very carefully so that they wouldn’t hear her.

Tener cuidado is the basic and most common way of saying to be careful. There are many different ways it can be used:

¡Ten cuidado! Be careful!

Hijito, deberías tener más cuidado con quien te juntas. Son, you should be more careful about who you associate with.

And if you want to avoid doing something, the construction is tener cuidado de no hacer algo, to be careful not to do something:

Debes tener cuidado de no tomar demasiado sol. You must be careful not to sunbathe too much.

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