Watch out for the car

When I say “watch out” FOR the car, how about “be careful”?
Be careful “with” the car? Be careful “about” the car?

Thank you!

There is no preposition for that, i don’t think, not in the context of being careful because a car is about to hit you.

You can say ‘be careful with the car’ if you mean for example that a kid is playing with a toy car and you want them to take care of it or something. Or ‘be careful around the car’ might be heard if for example some kid is waving a stick about and running around in the driveway and you want to make sure they don’t scratch it.

If you want to use ‘careful’ in terms of ‘watch out’ then you’d need to say something like ‘be careful, there’s a car coming’ or ‘careful, there are lots of cars about’.

Sounds good. One small addition for lily: you wouldn’t say be careful “about” the car.

Also, if you said be careful “with” the car, you could be talking about the toy car example above or more likely, it’s parents lending their teenage kid their nice family car and they want to make sure they don’t crash it, spill anything in it, etc.

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Be careful of the cars.

If you’re teaching your children to be careful when crossing the street, it is typical to say:

Look both ways before crossing the street. or
Watch out for traffic. (Watch out for cars.)

It is hard to know exactly what situation you are describing when you say, “Watch out for the car” (for just that one car). That’s probably why we’re all guessing at how to answer your question.

If there were only one car coming toward you on a street, you might say, “Watch out for the car,” or “Always be careful whenever a car is approaching” or something similar.

What is the situation when you are saying, “Watch out for the car”?

Typically if someone says, “Be careful with the car,” they’re cautioning you to be careful while driving the car. There may even be something that is already known to be wrong with the car. It’s not very typical for someone to say, “Be careful about the car,” but they could be cautioning someone about taking care of the car or warning them not to scratch or damage the car in any way. Sounds more like a line from a movie. “Hey, Vinnie, be careful about the car. I don’t want any scratches on it when I get it back.”

Short answer: neither of these is a replacement for “Watch out for the car.”

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Thank you very much for the explanation, it’s quite clear.

What is the situation when I am saying, “Watch out for the car”?
The situation is like when crossing the street. Actually, there’s a sentence after, like, there’s a car coming.
So I think it’s better just to say “watch out, there’s a car coming”.

“Watch out, there’s a car coming.”

That’s perfect.

Just today on my way back from the grocery store, a little kid ran right out the gate and into the street, right in front of my car, without even looking. He wasn’t even aware of my car until I came to a stop and we looked each other in the eye. I think the look of surprise on his face lasted no more than a second or two. Then I just gave him a little wave and he ran on past my car and up the street. The other kid who was chasing after him, I didn’t really get a good look at, but at least he stopped at the gate. Luckily, it was in my neighborhood where I have to be hyper-aware of these kids who are always playing in the street. Whenever I pass this one house on the corner in particular, I’m constantly having to be on the lookout for these kids on top of driving really slow.

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Thank you for sharing.
May I keep asking a question? I found out something that I didn’t know from your story.
The last sentence: I’m constantly having to be…
I didn’t know “have to” can be used in present continuous tense.
You used “be having to” because of the word “constantly”?

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[I deleted and reposted this as an answer to myself so that the answer posts don’t keep moving further to the right.]

That is a very good question. Short answer: yes.

This is one of the most overused tenses in English and it’s sometimes hard to explain why. Native speakers of English are very fond of the present progressive, whereas native speakers of most other languages, including other Germanic languages, are perfectly happy with just the simple present. It is worth noting that there is a continuous (or progressive) form of every single tense in English.

The present continuous (or present progressive) is used, among other things, when referring to activities in progress (or perceived to be in progress). Think “always.” If it is something I ‘constantly’ have to do every time I drive, then it is an activity that is “always” in progress, hence, the progressive. I always have to do it every time I drive from my house. So, when looking out for these children who play in the street, it is something I am “always” doing. I am “always” having to do it.

To find more examples of this, just do a Twitter search for “i’m constantly having to.”“i’m%20constantly%20having%20to”&src=typd&lang=nl

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On second thought, I think it may have more to do with outside forces versus a personal need.

For example, I personally feel the need to brush my teeth after every meal. So in that case, I might say, “I always have to brush my teeth after lunch.” But there is no element of complaining when I say this. It’s not something I literally “have to” do, but I feel a strong personal need to do it. I always feel the need to brush my teeth after lunch.

In the case of the children, it is not a personal need, but something I feel compelled to do because of outside forces. So in this case, I might say, “I’m always/constantly having to look out for those children.” There is also an element of complaining when saying this. Again, it is not something I literally “have to” do, but I feel compelled to do it out of a sense of safety. There is always a responsibility to watch out for children. (A rule is a law. There are signs on the street that indicate, “Slow, Children at play.”) But I have a special concern to watch out for those children in particular, who I often see playing in the street whenever I am driving. I’m constantly compelled to look out for those children.

I really don’t know if this is a good explanation or not. Or whether it is helpful or not. But the thought just occurred to me and I thought I would share it.

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Thank you very much again. That IS a good explanation and VERY helpful. I DO appreciate that.