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Lesson Transcript

Hi, everybody. Welcome back to Know Your Verbs. My name is Alisha and, in this lesson, we're going to look at the verb "watch." Let's get started.
The basic definition of the verb, "watch" is to focus the eyes on something that is moving usually. We expect it to move. So, like now, you're watching this video. In a sentence, "Let's watch a movie later." "Can I call you back? I'm watching a baseball game."
Let's look at the conjugations for this verb. Present, "watch," "watches." Past, "watched." Past participle, "watched." Progressive, "watching." Now let's talk about some additional meanings of this verb. The first additional meaning is "to stay with someone or to stay with something to ensure safety," like to kind of guard that thing or to protect that thing. Examples, "I have to watch my neighbor's kids for a couple hours." "Can you watch my plants for a while next month?"
Okay, in both of these sentences, we see the verb, "watch," is used to mean ensure the safety of something. In the first example sentence, it's "I have to watch my neighbor's kids," so we're ensuring the safety of the kids. In the second sentence, we use plants. "Can you watch my plants?" It doesn't mean forever like watch the plants grow. It means just make sure my plants are okay while I'm out of town for something similar. It doesn't mean watch my plants forever. It just means to make sure my plants are safe, like to take care of my plants while I'm out of town, for example. So, also, the nuance here, the feeling here is that this is just a temporary situation. When we're watching someone's kids or watching someone's pet while they're away, it's just a temporary situation.
Okay, let's go to the second extra meaning for today. The second one, the second meaning of "watch" is to be careful of something. Examples, "Watch your language." "He needs to watch his weight." So, in both of these, we could replace "be careful" with "watch." So, in the first one, we could say, "Be careful of your language." In the second one, "Be careful of your weight." In other words, there's some kind of danger or you need to be careful because something about your behavior or something you've said, something you've done is maybe not a good idea, so be careful of that thing, but we say, "watch" instead. "Watch that thing," instead of "Be careful of that thing."
In addition, we can also just use "Watch out," as a set phrase, which means "Be careful," in general. If we're in a situation where we quickly want to warn someone of something, like danger, something bad might happen, we can say, "Watch out!" really quickly. So, "watch out" doesn't mean look or watch something. It means be careful. We always say, "watch out." If you have time and if you want to be specific, you can say, "Watch out," for something. Like, "Watch out for that car," or, "Watch out for that child." "Watch out for those bees." "Watch out for your computer. It's going to fall," or something like that. We always say, "Watch out for," or just in quick situations, "Watch out." It just means be careful as well.
Alright, let's go on to the first variation. So, the first variation is "watch it." "Watch it" also means be careful, like watch out or just the regular watch your something, but "watch it" is very casual and actually kind of aggressive. "Watch it" implies like if you don't take care, I might do something bad to you. So, it's quite an aggressive phrase. Examples, "Watch it, I'm walking." "You better watch it, kid." "You better watch it or else, I'm going to do something bad to you." I don't know. So, it's aggressive. It's an aggressive phrase and you should not use it with people who are above you. You should not use it in polite situations. I would not really recommend using this but you might see this in TV shows, in other media. "Watch it," it means be careful but it's aggressive.
Okay, let's go to the next variation. The next variation is "to keep watch." This means like to stand guard, to guard against, to protect something. This expression means to guard against danger and it often means alone, like, often, you're doing it by yourself while someone else sleeps. Examples, "I'm going to keep first watch tonight." "You keep watch. I'm going to get some sleep." So, to "keep watch" means to stay awake or to stay alert looking for something that might be dangerous. You can see this in movies where people are travelling somewhere and they're camping out on the side of the road, like maybe in "Lord of The Rings" or something where everybody's sleeping but one person is awake near the fire and watching to see if anything dangerous happens. And then, they wake up other people if something dangerous is coming. So, they're sort of the guard in that case. So, to keep watch in that case.
Okay. Let's go to the last variation. The last variation is "to watch one's back." To watch your back, let's use that. To watch your back means to be cautious about your safety. So, to be careful about yourself, not because of some physical object, like a bus is going to come and get you, I don't know. No, it means someone, an enemy might try to do something bad to you so watch your back. Examples of this, "You'd better watch your back, Stevens." One more example, "Hey, watch your back. You're making enemies." So, in these cases, "watch your back" is said rather seriously and with the meaning that you need to be careful, someone might try to hurt you in the future. It could be physically, it could be financially, it could be your reputation, whatever. "Watch your back" means be careful, someone might try to hurt you in some way.
However, be careful, this expression, "watch your back" is totally different from "got your back." So "watch your back" and "got your back," totally different. "Got your back" is a support phrase, like, "I've got your back." It means "I'm supporting you. No problem, I will try to help you," or, "I'll try to support you, I'll try to keep you safe. I've got your back. No problems." "Watch your back" means be careful, you might be in danger. Be careful, you have enemies. So, quite different, "watch your back," "got your back."
Alright, so I hope that you got a few new meanings for the verb, "watch," that you can use there. Thanks very much for watching this episode of Know Your Verbs and we'll see you again next time. Bye.