Today's podcast is about taking care!
I want you to imagine that you are visiting England. You and some friends decide to go for a walk in the country. The sun is shining, the birds are singing and all is right with the world. You walk through a pretty village, and then through a wood. You climb over a fence into a big field. “This would be a good place for a picnic,” you say. So you sit down on the grass under a tree, and unpack your picnic.
Then your friend sees something. “There is a notice on the fence over there,” he says. “can you read what it says?”
You look hard at the notice. You can hardly see the writing. “I think it says – beware of the bull!” you say. “What does ‘beware' mean?”
You find your English dictionary at the bottom of your rucksack, You have just started to look for ‘beware' when you hear a snorting noise. You look up to see a large bull standing about 10 metres away.
Now, some bulls are kind and “hospitable“. They are pleased when visitors come to their field, and they try to make them welcome. One look at this bull, however, tells you that this is not the kind and hospitable sort of bull. He is, rather, the unkind and inhospitable sort of bull. There is only one thing to do. You and your friend run to the fence and climb over it. The bull runs after you, snorting angrily. He stares at you for a few minutes; then he goes back to the tree where you were sitting and starts to eat your picnic.
Now you know what “beware” means. It means “danger! be careful!” “Beware” is actually a shortened form of “be aware”. You can use “beware” as an imperative verb – that means, a verb which gives orders or instructions. You can tell somebody “beware of the bull” or “beware of the dog”. But you cannot say “I beware of the bull” or “you beware of the the dog.” So, “beware” is an incomplete verb – you can only use it to warn someone to be careful.
You will often see “beware” on notices that warn people about dangers. Near a railway line, there might be a notice “Beware of the trains”. Beside a river – “beware – deep water”. Or near a road junction – “beware of traffic from the right”.
And here are some other words or phrases which you can use to tell somebody that something may be dangerous.
There is a little quiz on the website about warning notices and the places where you might find them. Take care!