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Is warn a synonym of "let someone know"?

I want to say "te mando este mensaje para avisarte de que". Can I say "I'm writing you this email to warn you about"?

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closed as general reference by FumbleFingers, Brian Hooper, Hellion, Kristina Lopez, choster Jun 12 '13 at 17:12

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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No. Warn is limited to notification of bad things. You can warn someone that something bad is going to happen, but you can't warn them about anything else. Notify is the neutral term. –  John Lawler May 7 '13 at 16:09
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You can even say "I'm writing this e-mail to advise you about". –  MετάEd May 7 '13 at 22:37
    
Or "I'm writing this e-mail to tell you about," depending. –  user867 May 8 '13 at 5:21
    
No, they are not the same. You have a range of options, listed here in increasing severity of "warning": "I am writing to let you know …" (casual, no danger implied) "I am writing to inform you …" (this is rather formal) "I am writing to alert you …" (more urgent than the above) "I am writing to warn you …" (only if the recipient is at risk) –  dland May 8 '13 at 8:00
    
Many thanks to all! –  Natalia May 9 '13 at 16:37

2 Answers 2

No, they are not the same.

You have a range of options, listed here in increasing severity of "warning":

"I am writing to let you know …" (casual, no danger implied)

"I am writing to inform you …" (this is rather formal)

"I am writing to alert you …" (more urgent than the above)

"I am writing to warn you …" (only if the recipient is at risk)

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Somewhere in between the good examples you've given are the kind of legal-sounding locutions that could imply warnings, but are not really warnings until the reader infers they are: "I am writing to advise you," "I am writing to notify you," "I am writing to remind you." Then there is the clear warning contained in "I am writing to put you on notice." –  rhetorician May 9 '13 at 1:26

I may not have been alert enough, but I just don't see anything in the question that precludes that what follows the given phrase is not something negative, a disaster even.

Given that, Yes, you can use warn if the mail is about something negative coming up/ likely to come up.

"I'm writing you this email to warn you about possible consequences that may be unpleasant."

A commonly used alternative, though, is alert, which seems more like what you have intended.

Unless the rest of the sentence and maybe also the context is provided, it would not be correct say that warn is not appropriate for the sentence.

warn verb

Inform someone in advance of an impending or possible danger, problem, or other unpleasant situation.
Give someone forceful or cautionary advice about their actions or conduct: "friends warned her against the marriage".

[src: Google]

Usage note:
I believe you need to be in a position of authority/ seniority to warn someone. You cannot warn your boss that his house is, or will be, on fire.

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