Mom telling son: If you don't follow the rules, you will be punished/penalized.

Police: Don't break the law or you'll be penalized/punished

Soccer coach: Don't break the rules or you'll be punished/penalized.

Is there any difference between the two?
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New2grammarIs there any difference between the two?
In my mind there's a difference. When you're punished, the object is to make you suffer some degree of physical or emotional distress.

When you are penalized, you are made to give up something - ten yards on the football field. Any attendant physical or emotional distress is coincidental.

These distinctions may not be fundamental. It's just my impression.
Avangi, it sounds like in some contexts, you would prefer one to another. Could you give an example where one is preferred over the other?
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Penalties often involve money. If one is late in filing a tax report, a financial penalty may be assessed. Whether or not this "hurts" a person depends on his financial situation and on how much he loves money.

Your question really raises a moot point, because as categories these wouldn't be negotiable. That is, you wouldn't be able to exchange a penalty for a punishment. On the other hand, the terms are used interchangeably in some circumstances.

You'd be more apt to be offered a choice of punishments than a choice of penalties. A penalty is usually intended to compensate the other party for some loss he's suffered because of your misdeeds. You illegally interfered with his play in some kind of ballgame, so he gets a free shot. You have to pay a thousand dollars a day because you're company is late in completeing some work on a building. This compensates the owner for his loss of business.

On the other hand, they often speak of the penalty phase in a murder trial. This I would consider a punishment issue.

If you plead guilty to a drunk and disorderly charge, the judge may say, "five hundred dollars or three weeks in jail." Different people in different circumstances might have their own reasons for choosing one or the other.

There was an interesting case where an American teen-ager was sentenced in Singapore to a severe caning for writing graffitti on public walls. This is obviously punishment in the purest sense.

Sometimes lawbreakers are punished by jail sentences and must also pay restitution to people who suffered losses because of their actions. I suppose you could say this involves both punishment and penalty.

One may speculate about personal obligations. You sometimes hear, "If you don't pay me the money you owe me I'm gonna take it outta your hide!" - meaning "I'm going to punish you - beat you up." Some people would pay a lot of money to avoid pain. Some people would endure a lot of pain to keep their money.
penalize: higher register, a bit formal, less physical
Thanks, Avangi. I think I see the difference now. Punishment is inflicted on the violator and the victim, if there's one, gain nothing as compensation. On the other hand, penalty serves both purposes, punishing the victim and compensating the victim.
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This is really tough to explain, and probably tougher to follow. There's a lot of overlapping. It's hard to think of an example of one term which could not be described by the other term to some degree. When your team is penalized for being off side, someone might ask, "Why are we being punished?"

I think you got my point, but your post left me unsure. You use "victim" to describe both parties. American cops often refer to lawbreakers as "perps," which is short for "perpitrators." (Of course they also use "suspects" for legal reasons.) The victim is someone damaged by the perpitrator. I suppose you could say the perpitrator is eventually the victim of the punishment.
Avangi I suppose you could say the perpitrator is eventually the victim of the punishment.
Sorry, I wanted to say violater. it's what you would call a brain fart.

I guess I should create a new thread for this question but let me ask here and if it's a long discussion,I'll create a new one. What's the difference between perpetrator and violator?
New2grammarWhat's the difference between perpetrator and violator?
In this context, a violator breaks a law, and a perpertrator commits an act which may or may not be illegal. In police reports, a statement that someone is guilty of something is studiously avoided. "The suspects were observed exiting the building." This doesn't even say what they were suspected of doing. If the police catch two teenagers in the act of tagging a building, they might say, "The perpitrators were observed with cans of black spray paint, applying gang symbols to the east side of the building." This statement says they did such and so, but falls short of accusing them of a crime.

A speeding ticket would be different. You might say the arresting officer actually indicts the speeder, documenting the evidence and specifying the "vehicle code" number of the violation of which the driver is accused, and ordering him to appear or respond to the charge.

Best wishes, - A.
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