Is there a difference between:

Look out! There's a cable on the floor.

Be careful! There's a cable on the floor.

In general, is there a difference in when and how to use them?

I'm attaching an exercise whereLook out! OR Be careful! should be used. I wonder which picture takes which. I also wonder what the sentences will be for Pictures e, h, and i.


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Hi Izzy,

Generally speaking, I would use "Look out!" to warn someone of danger that seems imminent.

I would be more likely to use "Be careful" to warn someone of potential/possible danger.
I agree with Amy.

We could also say 'Watch out!'

'Look out' and 'watch out' call attention to immediate danger. 'Be careful' is more general and can apply to daily tasks. For example, a jeweler must be careful in his daily tasks. A good chef must be careful in measuring the ingredients. A pilot must always be careful.
Given only those three choices, Izzy, this is how I'd answer that exercise:

b) Look out!
c) Look out!
d) Stop!
e) Be careful!
f) Be careful!
g) Be careful!
h) Look out!
i) Look out!
j) Stop!

But I'll tell you something, Izzy. I don't think there's a hard-and-fast rule for which one or ones work in each situation shown in that exercise. I think the exercise is quite lame. They could have come up with much more clear-cut situations, and they should have included Watch out! which Rachel pointed out.
Thanks a lot, Rachel.

I think the exercise is quite lame.

I dead agree with you, Richard. But I wonder if I can have your sentences, Rachel and Richard, for pictures e, h, and i, as I wasn't able to make sentences for those three pictures. Please see that attachment above again.
The pictures are kind of weird, Izzy, but here's what might work:

e) Be careful! Don't saw through that wire by accident. You might get electrocuted.

h) Look out! Don't touch that wire! Someone drove a couple of nails through it.

i) Look out! Somebody left a ladder sticking out on top of that wall. Don't walk into it.

That's the best I can do, Izzy.

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