Warning someone

Warning someone
There are several ways of warning someone not to do something.
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In conversation, you can say `I wouldn't ... if I were you'.

I wouldn't drink that if I were you.

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A weaker way of warning is to say `I don't think you should...' or `I don't think you ought to...'.

I don't think you should go in there. There's no telling what he might try to do.

I don't think you ought to turn me down quite so quickly, before you know a bit more about it.

I don't think you should try to make a decision when you are so tired.

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You can also warn someone indirectly not to do something by saying what will happen if they do it.

You'll fall down and hurt yourself if you insist on wearing that old gown.

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You can warn someone not to do something by accident or because of carelessness by saying `Be careful not to...' or `Take care not to...'.

Be careful not to keep the flame in one place too long, or the metal will be distorted.

Well, take care not to get arrested.

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strong warnings
`Don't' is used in strong warnings.

Don't put more things in the washing machine than it will wash.

Don't turn the gas on again until the gasman tells you it's safe to do so.

Don't open the door for anyone.

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You can emphasize `don't' with `whatever you do'.

Whatever you do don't overcrowd your greenhouse.

Don't get in touch with your wife, whatever you do.

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You can mention the consequences of not doing what you say by adding `or' and another clause.

Don't drink so much or you'll die.

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explicit warnings
People sometimes say `I warn you' or `I'm warning you' when warning someone, especially when preparing them for something they are going to experience.

I warn you it's going to be expensive.

I must warn you that I have advised my client not to say another word.

It'll be very hot, I'm warning you.

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Note that these expressions are also used as threats.

Much as I like you, I warn you I'll murder you if you tell anyone.

I'm warning you, if you do that again there'll be trouble.

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warnings in writing and broadcasting
`Never' is used with an imperative as a warning in writing and broadcasting.

Never put antique china into a dishwasher.

If you have children, never keep a pet if you intend eventually to eat it.

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`Beware of...' is used to warn against doing something, or to warn about something that might be dangerous or unsatisfactory.

Beware of becoming too complacent.

I would beware of companies which depend on one product and one man.

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The expression `A word of warning' is sometimes used to introduce a warning. So are `Warning' and `Caution', in books and articles.

A word of warning: Don't have your appliances connected by anyone who is not a specialist.

Warning! Keep all these liquids away from children.

Caution. Keep the shoulders well down when doing this exercise.

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warnings on products and notices
`Warning' and `Caution' are also used on products and notices. `Danger' and `Beware of...' are used on notices.

Warning: Smoking can seriously damage your health.

CAUTION: This helmet provides limited protection.

DANGER — RIVER.

Beware of Falling Tiles.

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immediate warnings
When you want to warn someone about something that they might be just about to do, you say `Careful' or `Be careful', or, more informally, `Watch it'.

Careful! You'll break it.

He sat down on the bridge and dangled his legs. `Be careful, Tim.'

Watch it! There's a rotten floorboard somewhere just here.

I should watch it, Neil, you're putting this on record.

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You can also use `Mind', followed by a noun referring to something the other person might hit, fall into, or harm, or a clause referring to something they must be careful about.

Mind the pond.

Mind your head.

Mind you don't slip.

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`Watch' is sometimes used in a similar way, especially with a clause.

Watch where you're putting your feet.

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Other warning expressions are `Look out' and `Watch out'. `Look out' is used only in urgent situations of danger. `Watch out' is used for urgent situations and for situations that are going to arise or might arise.

Look out. There's someone coming.

Watch out for that beast there.

`I think I'll just go for a little walk.' —-`Watch out — it's a very large city to take a little walk in.'

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Useful english dictionary. 2012.

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