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Life skills tip of the week: ways of warning someone

Macmillan Life Skills: language is a life skillLearning about pragmatics and how to express yourself successfully is a useful life skillsaid Michael Rundell in January when he introduced the new pragmatics series on Macmillan Dictionary. The series is part of the Macmillan Life Skills campaign, offering free resources for English language students and teachers each month.

As part of the series, we’ll bring more useful content and tips from the Macmillan Dictionary on expressing yourself.



This week’s language tip helps with ways of warning someone:

(Be) careful: the most usual and general way of warning someone:
Be careful with that teapot – it’s fragile.
Careful, you might fall!

Beware: a formal way of warning people, often used on written signs:
Beware of the dog.

Take care/Mind how you go: a way of warning someone that is often used before someone leaves to go somewhere:
Take care on your way home.
Have a safe journey – mind how you go.

Mind: a way of warning someone that there is something dangerous nearby:
Mind your head on that lamp!
Mind you don’t spill coffee on the carpet!

Watch out/Watch yourself/Look out/Mind out: a way of warning someone when they are in immediate danger:
Watch out! There’s a car coming!
Watch yourself! There’s broken glass everywhere!
Look out! It’s going to fall!

Easy does it/Steady: used for telling someone to do something carefully and gently, especially when they are moving something large or heavy:
Easy does it! This old cabinet was my grandfather’s.
Steady! You can’t lift that table on your own. You’ll hurt yourself.

You can’t be too careful/Better safe than sorry: a way of warning someone to be careful and not to take risks:
Make sure you take a torch with you. You can’t be too careful, you know.
Call us now if you have any concerns on the safety of your home, better safe than sorry.

Would you like to learn more about pragmatics? Keep a close eye on our pragmatics page; you can find the ninth life skills lesson plan there. For more information about Life Skills, visit the Macmillan Life Skills page.

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Liz Potter

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