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"Opposition MPs charged the minister with neglecting her duty."

Q. Does "charge" mean just "criticize" ? or "take legal action"? or could be both depending on the context?

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thanks3Does "charge" mean just "criticize" ? or "take legal action"? or could be both depending on the context?

'criticize' doesn't quite work.

Let's say 'charge ... with' means 'accuse ... of', and it can be done unofficially or it can be done officially (by the police in coordination with a prosecutor, for example).

Opposition MPs charged the minister with neglecting her duty.
~ Opposition MPs accused the minister of neglecting her duty.
(unofficially, i.e., no one was going to take her to court)

Last week police charged Meg Newman with the murder of her husband.
~ Last week police accused Meg Newman of the murder of her husband.

(officially, i.e., the police were involved in making an arrest for a serious crime)

More often than not, the official form is cast in the passive voice:

Last week Meg Newman was charged with the murder of her husband.

CJ

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What do you mean by "(charged her) unofficially"? You were not going to take her court. You were just speaking badly of her or disapproving of her verbally. Am I right? (I used "criticize" in the meaning of that.)

thanks3You were just speaking badly of her or disapproving of her verbally. Am I right? (I used "criticize" in the meaning of that.)

OK, but to criticize is to point out faults. That is not what is happening here. "To charge someone with something" is to accuse that someone of the thing. If I say that Judy treats Kevin badly, that is criticism. If I say that Judy murdered Kevin, that goes far beyond criticism.

thanks3

What do you mean by "(charged her) unofficially"? You were not going to take her court.

Yes.

thanks3You were just speaking badly of her or disapproving of her verbally.

It's more than that. It's accusing her of wrongdoing. It's pointing a finger at her and saying, "You did such-and-such, and that's wrong! You should be ashamed!"

Criticism isn't quite so intense. It's more like, "You really shouldn't talk so loudly during the play. It disturbs the rest of the audience."

I admit, though, that criticism can be severe, depending who is giving it.

CJ

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Hmm... I must have had the wrong concepts of "to criticize", "to accuse"...

I thought "to criticize someone" means "to say that you're wrong, you did bad things..." and so "to criticize" and "to accuse" are almost the same meaning...

Anyway, thank you again, Mr. CJ Emotion: smile

What I understand is this: like Mr. CJ said, 'charge someone with something' means it can be done unofficially or officially. And 'it's done unofficially' means that you don't go far to take him to court but you say to him "you did such and such things and those are very bad things, you must be blamed". I hope I'm right.

Anyway tank you for your answer, Mr. anonymous Emotion: smile

thanks3

Hmm... I must have had the wrong concepts of "to criticize", "to accuse"...

I thought "to criticize someone" means "to say that you're wrong, you did bad things..." No. To say that someone is wrong is to accuse. and so "to criticize" and "to accuse" are almost the same meaning... Similar, but not the same. To say what you think is wrong with something is to criticize.

Anyway, thank you again, Mr. CJ

They're different because of the intensity ('accuse' is more intense than 'criticize') and because of the contexts in which they are used (You can only accuse people, not things, but you can criticize both people and things).


At the same time, they are similar:

accuse: to say that someone has done something wrong or committed a crime
criticize: to say what you think is wrong or bad about something


But they are not interchangeable:

I would like the city budget to be put online so people can see it and criticize it.

You can't possibly substitute accuse for criticize in the sentence above because you can only accuse people, not city budgets.


Here are some examples that might help you understand the difference between 'accuse' and 'criticize':

Republicans accuse Democrats of distorting the facts.
The officers accuse the warden of not cracking down on the group.
They accuse the American and Western press of lying about the events in Georgia.
The U.S. and some of its allies accuse Iran of seeking to build nuclear weapons.
Consumers accuse the oil industry of pushing up prices by holding back supplies.

One of the first thinkers to criticize logical positivism was Sir Karl Popper.
For most of my life my aunts and sometimes my mom would criticize me for my weight.
Many of the comments criticize schools for giving teachers excessive class loads.
In the letter to EPA, four members of Congress criticized the lengthy process.
All is well until your mother-in-law begins to criticize your cooking.

CJ

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Oh, Mr. CJ, it's so nice of you to go out of your way to help me Emotion: smile

Now, the difference between "criticize" and "accuse" got clear to me!

And is this comment I left for Mr. anonymous right?:

"What I understand is this: like Mr. CJ said, 'charge someone with something' means it can be done unofficially or officially. And 'it's done unofficially' means that you don't go far to take him to court but you say to him "you did such and such things and those are very bad things, you must be blamed".

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