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An Alamy stock photo has the caption "Caution wet paint tape and cone around freshly painted bench so people do not sit on it"

It's clear that the tape is continuously labelled "Caution Wet Paint" and the purpose is to prevent people touching the new paint.

Does "Caution" act as a noun, verb or something else in this case and why?

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    No, it acts as a verb imperative… "Take care!" – Robbie Goodwin Feb 24 '18 at 22:18
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    Notice how “CAUTION” is written in large, uppercase letters, with “wet paint” in smaller, lowercase letters. That’s your visual clue that it’s meant to read “Caution: wet paint” or “Caution! Wet paint”, rather than “caution wet paint”, which would not make sense. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 24 '18 at 22:26
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    Have exclamations ceased to be considered as parts of speech? – Edwin Ashworth Feb 24 '18 at 22:52
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    An exclamation or interjection seems right – Stu W Feb 25 '18 at 0:35
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    This is not a sentence -- it's not even spoken -- and parts of speech do not apply. – John Lawler Feb 25 '18 at 1:11
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Caution here has the same meaning at Be Careful, both of which are verb imperatives.

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"Caution Wet Paint" is a name for the type of "tape". The individual words within that name cannot be further parsed, any more than had the name been "Potato You Quickly". The original author of the caption erred in not placing quotes around those three words.

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