Can we just say "Watch." instead of "Watch where you are going."?

Example Context: Let's say somebody hit me on the sidewalk.

Note: I know that it can be rude to say these sentences. You don't need to tell me that. :)

  • "Watch!" by itself means something like "Look at this thing!" – stangdon Jul 13 '18 at 20:45
  • @stangdon or more likely, this event or happening. – Jim MacKenzie Jul 13 '18 at 20:47

No, that's just a command to watch something. It could even be a warning of future consequences. But it's not the same as "watch where you're going." You can say

Watch it!

though. I know I'd say that, especially if I were peeved after the incident. Here are a couple of dictionary entries:

  • watch it
    used to tell someone to be careful:
    Watch it - you nearly knocked my head off with that plank!
    (Cambridge Dictionary)
  • watch it
    You say 'watch it' in order to warn someone to be careful, especially when you want to threaten them about what will happen if they are not careful.
    "Now watch it, Patsy," the sergeant told her.
    (Collins Dictionary)
  • I see. Thank you. Do you agree with my comment under Confused Soul's answer? – Fire and Ice Jul 13 '18 at 21:01
  • 3
    Or "watch out", if they present a danger to you. – Andrew Jul 13 '18 at 21:23
  • @FireandIce I leaning towards agreeing with you, but I still can't completely rule out "watch out". I keep thinking "watch out, man!" I know I'd say "watch it!" though if I were peeved after being hit. – Em. Jul 13 '18 at 21:35

"Watch" alone isn't used in English. You can use "Watch it", which practically means the same thing, as mentioned in another answer. "Watch out" could be used as a shorter version of "watch where you are going", and actually is less rude, since "watch out" has less of a negative connotation (at least to me) than "watch where you are going".

  • Thank you, but a far as I know, also according to what the Cambridge Dictionary says, "Watch out" is used when you want to warn someone or some people about something bad which may happen to them. For example let's say a dog is running towards a person. In that situation, you can say "Watch out!" to that person; but in the context I mentioned in my post, I think I need to say "Watch it" or "Watch where you are going". Don't you agree with me? – Fire and Ice Jul 13 '18 at 20:53
  • 1
    In terms of strict linguistic meaning, you are right and I agree. But if you are ever in such a situation, conversationally, you would not be expected to refer to Cambridge Dictionary. Rather, despite knowing that watch out is less accurate, I would still use it, since it indicates concern about the other person's well-being, and is a more diplomatic way to call attention. Regardless of the choice of words, the person is going to be notified they are colliding into you. Wouldn't it be better if the words you use are nicer rather than linguistically more precise? – Confused Soul Jul 13 '18 at 21:31
  • @FireandIce Let's say somebody hit me on the sidewalk. Then I might say "Watch out (for me)!" which would be acceptable. – user3169 Jul 13 '18 at 22:26
  • I think this is closer to 'Watch where you are going' than the 'Watch it' answer. Saying 'watch it' is more antagonistic in my experience and likely to result in an 'or what?' response. @Em.'s comment is telling. – mcalex Jul 17 '18 at 2:48

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