Which one of the following sentences sound more natural to you:

  • Don’t touch the wire! You may get shocked.

  • Don’t touch the wire! You may get an electrical shock.

For me both sound natural and mean the same.

  • I think you may like to include "electric shock" too. However, the noun "shock" stands for the electric shock. IMHO.
    – Cardinal
    Commented Aug 5, 2016 at 11:35
  • I agree with the suggestions to use "electric" rather than "electrical". However, consider that "You may get shocked" is inadequate for what is meant to be an explicit warning: most people will automatically regard "electric shock" as something to take care to avoid. Commented Aug 5, 2016 at 17:09

2 Answers 2


"You may get shocked" is a perfectly natural way to express this. Your second variant:

You may get an electrical shock.

Would be more natural if you used "electric" in place of "electrical." Here are the dictionary definitions for those two words (from Oxford Dictionaries):

Of, worked by, charged with, or producing electricity:
"an electric cooker"

Concerned with, operating by, or producing electricity:
"electrical appliances"


The only difference between the two is that the second sentence explicitly states that you are talking about an electric shock. In the example you provide, this is obviously the case anyway, so it doesn't matter. However, if you are writing in a context where other types of shock could also make sense, the first phrasing gives more room for ambiguity:

If you look at how badly this house was wired, you may get a shock!

This could mean "you are really surprised by the bad wiring," or it could mean "you get electrocuted." If you replace "shock" with "electric shock," then only the second meaning is possible.

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