One day, When I am with my 3 year baby, he was with his bicycle riding on the road. I saw a big pot hole on the road and I want to tell him to be careful about the pothole. But I could not get the proper phrase to say it to him.

What is the sentence/dialogue I should have used in that situation to tell him not hit the pot hole and go around it for safe ride?

  • 2
    Using your own words, you could just tell the child to Be careful about the pothole! (more commonly, Be careful of the pothole!). Likely alternatives from native speakers include Mind the pothole! and Watch out for the pothole!, but any specific "preferred" option is simply a matter of opinion. – FumbleFingers May 29 '18 at 13:49
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    @FumbleFingers - In my opinion, your comment should be an answer, rather than a justification for a close vote. "Watch out!" is far more idiomatic than "Be careful about..." – and asking for an idiomatic way to say something is fair game on ELL. – J.R. May 29 '18 at 21:25
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    @J.R.♦: It's a bit more complicated than that. OP's context appears to be one where a single hazard X (one pothole) definitely exists, but I'd bet that in the real world people are more likely to be warned about multiple potholes. Personally, I'd tend to use Mind the potholes! if I knew for sure there were potholes, whereas Watch out for potholes! would be more suitable if I didn't actually know whether there were any or not. And of course there's stuff like Beware of potholes! Related: Mind your head or mind the table? – FumbleFingers May 30 '18 at 12:08
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    @FumbleFingers - Fine; I'll make it an answer if you won't. – J.R. May 30 '18 at 14:18
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    By the way, we don't usually call someone old enough to ride a bicycle and understand spoken directions a "baby". A child, but not a baby. – stangdon May 30 '18 at 17:13

As was shared in the comments, there are a few idiomatic ways you could say this.

When you are riding your bike with your child, and you suddenly see a hazard, the phrases "Watch out" or "Look out" are commonly used:

Watch out for the pothole!
Look out! There's a pothole!

However, when your child is old enough to ride on his own, and he tells you where he plans to go ride his bike in an area you know is riddled with potholes, you might use a phrasing that has less urgency:

Mind the potholes!


Keep an eye out for potholes.

  • Thank you for your answer. if its not too much, Can I ask you one more thing? will the dialogue just end with one instruction of "watch out for the pothole!"? or will it be followed by few extra dialogues like "go right side" or "take left side" or "go around the pot hole" etc.? I would like to understand in a real life situation, what are the phrases that native speakers would use? – Aayvu.com May 30 '18 at 17:00
  • If you're riding a bike, chances are there isn't enough time to say much more than "Watch out!" – J.R. May 30 '18 at 21:04

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