LINGUISTICS & CULTURE
|Data:||10/OUT/2005 4:07 PM|
To tell someone off in the US is often associated with swearing (it almost means like you "cussed them out") and is not a term I would use when referring to your own children. In Europe, it's different then.
Maria, I think you're looking more like
I gave my son a good talking to.
I gave him a long lecture and washed his mouth out with soap for saying that word. (to use your "lecture" example)
Admonish is a bit formal, but it is okay.
I admonished him for scaring his little sister.
To scold, as Gus mentioned, is perfect for using with children.
The teacher scolded him for being such a bully.
To "chew someone out" is a phrase you can use to mean you really scolded someone without swearing, but it's a bit slangy and informal [it's even included in "A Dictionary of Informal Portuguese" on the English side of "dar uma bronca em," as is "to scold"]
I chewed my daughter out good when I caught her making long-distance phone calls.
Hope this helps,
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