sign in   |  sign up

Common errors > scold  verb

 printer-friendly version

Incorrect or non-standard usage, overuse etc.

I scolded my son for fighting
My boss scolded me for being late
Michael's work is very careless. You'd better scold him
The team leader was scolded for disregarding health and safety regulations

The problem

(1) The verb 'scold' is very formal and rather old-fashioned.

(2) It suggests a high degree of authority of one person over the other - especially of an adult over a child. It is not normally suitable to show one adult criticizing another.

In informal spoken English, the phrase have a go at smbdy is common in British English.

He was fighting so I had a go at him.
David had a go at me for being late.

Remind is also used when you don't want to sound too harsh:

I noticed John was twenty minutes late again this morning and I had to remind him to be punctual.

Very formally, and in serious situations censure can be used:
He was censured for reckless behaviour.

Standard English

I had a go at my son for fighting.
My boss had a go at me for being late.
Michael's work is very careless. Perhaps you could remind him to take more care.
The team leader was censured for disregarding health and safety regulations.

See Common errors:  blame


Online dictionary links are available for the following words:

Head word Part of speech Mac Cam Dic
Wik Save
censure verb MacCantabDictWiktAdd
have a go at somebody phrase MacDictWiktAdd
scold verb MacCantabDictWiktAdd

Back to common errors index