The thing is that the answer key to Round Up 3 says: Watch out! You are going to fall! BUT Be careful or you will burn your hand.

I wonder whether it is possible to interchange 'to be going to do smth' for future simple in the above sentences as the rule goes like this: We use "will" for prediction, warning, offer, promise, threat, polite request, on-the-spot decision, opinion, hope, fear (especially with the words: think, expect, suppose, hope, believe, know, probably, sure etc). e.g.: Be quiet or the teacher will get angry. (warning) I'll write to you every day. (promise)

While we should bear in mind that one of the uses of 'to be going to do smth' is when there's evidence that smth is about to happen: There's going to be rain because the sky is overcast.

So, i can't quite tell one from the other - whether it is a warning or evidence of what is going to happen and could they be applied simultaneously to one case? Meaning, one can use both depending on what they imply.


2 Answers 2


The difference is that

Watch out! You are going to fall!

is an immediate warning, while

Be careful, or you will burn your hand

is not. If somebody was climbing, and reaching for an insecure handhold, you could yell

Be careful! Or you're going to fall!

If you're telling a child how to put cookies into the oven, and there's no immediate danger, you would say

Be careful, or you will burn your hand.

But if you see somebody is about to pick up a pot you know you've just taken out of the oven, you could say:

Watch out! You're going to burn your hand!

  • so, am I right in concluding that there isn't such a situation where one can say: Watch out or you will fall! because 'watch out' itself implies smth immediate and evident?
    – Yukatan
    May 4, 2014 at 15:12
  • 1
    @Yukatan: Nearly. You could say "watch out for wolves on your journey or you will be attacked", or "watch out that you don't step on a land mine or you will be killed". But plain "watch out" without a following preposition or conjunction like "for", "that" or "when" implies something immediate. May 4, 2014 at 15:15
  • thank you very much for your detailed answer accompanied by useful examples:)
    – Yukatan
    May 4, 2014 at 15:19

Watch out: is used to warn someone of danger or an accident that seems likely to happen:

  • "Watch out!" he shouted, but it was too late - she had knocked the whole tray of drinks on the floor.

Be Careful: to give attention to something, to mind.

  • Be careful with that box - the bottom isn't very strong.

  • Be careful (that) you don't bang your head on the shelf when you stand.

Between the two, watch out with respect to be careful, has a stronger effect as a warning that something bad may happen. The use of each expression depends on the perception of the degree of the danger involved.

  • This doesn't answer the question., '1 OR 2?' Mar 4, 2015 at 23:41

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