beware (of)

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Baltic Sea

Hello everybody!

I have always thought that "beware" is always followed by "of" + noun except when "beware that ......." is used. Now I know for sure that there's another variant, namely, beware + noun.

Below, I attach two examples of sentences with "beware".

  1. Beware salespeople who promise offers that seem too good to be true.
  2. You should beware of undercooked food when staying in hot countries.
Could you tell me when to use "beware of + noun" and when "beware + noun"?

Thank you for your king replies.
  • Renaissance man

    Senior Member
    There is no particular difference except that "beware of" is more common in modern English.
    I think beware without preposition is more common in short warnings, like "beware of dog", but I could be wrong about that.


    British English
    I think a simple rule of thumb would be just to use "of" in all circumstances.

    Your sentence 1 doesn't sound wrong to me, but it would sound just as natural, if not more so, as "Beware of salespeople…" Your sentence 2, on the other hand, would sound a little odd to me with the "of" removed.

    So I think "beware of" is probably the safer and more flexible option in general.


    Senior Member
    I have read an article entitled "Beware the Dirty Sea", which is about pollution of the Mediterranean Sea. So I suppose it is at least acceptable to use beware without the preposition "of".


    Senior Member
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    The use of beware + noun makes the sentence sound like a proverb or like common wisdom. In modern speech it is more of a rhetorical device that, sometimes humorously, adds weight to a statement.
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