“Whoa, whoa, watch it. It's gonna tip over!”
You're fishing in a canoe with a friend. Your friend has hooked a big fish, and he's pulling it in excitedly. It's making the boat unstable, so you warn him not to move so much.
Whoa, whoa, watch it. It's gonna tip over!
"Whoa!" means "Stop!" or "Slow down!"
Originally, "Whoa!" was a command that people gave to their horses. Not many of us ride horses regularly these days, but we still say "Whoa!" to other people.
For example, you can say this to the driver of a car:
Whoa! Slow down. There's an accident up ahead.
Or if your child has gotten too many cookies, you can tell them:
Whoa! Who told you you could have all those cookies? Put two of them back.
"Watch it!" means "Be careful!"
There are two situations in which English speakers say "Watch it!"
- When there's something dangerous for the listener to be careful of. For example, if you're walking on the sidewalk with your friend and your friend almost steps on someone's dog, you can yell:
Hey! Watch it!
- To warn someone that you're starting to get angry and that they should change their behavior. Parents say this to their children when the children misbehave:
Watch it! If you keep acting like that, I'm going to take away the iPad for the rest of the day.
"Tipping over" means falling down from an upright position and spilling something. Here are some things that might "tip over":
- a glass of water
- a bookshelf
- a small boat
Here are some things that you usually wouldn't describe as "tipping over":
- a person
- a building
- a tree