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admonish

To admonish someone means to give them a stern warning or reprimand. It can also mean to give solemn, friendly advice to someone.

Here’s a hint: You can give your friends advice, even somewhat critical advice, but if you admonish them too often or too strongly they’re not likely to remain your friends for very long. In that case, the second sense of the word admonish would, technically, no longer apply.

As an example of how you might use this word. Imagine a neighbor is out walking her dog and the dog craps on your carefully manicured lawn. If she fails to stoop and scoop up the crap, you might admonish her for her discourtesy.

If you swear and cast aspersions on her family as part of admonishing her, that might encourage the miscreant to listen to you and scoop up her dog’s droppings. However, don’t be surprised if she then hurls it in your face. That will likely infuriate you and may stir you to violence against her. She’ll then call the police and charge you with assault. Thus, it could get horribly ugly, all as a result of admonishing her more vehemently than is advisable.

You might have been right in admonishing her, but that won’t necessarily stave off a strong reaction. I’m just saying. Or maybe I have too wild an imagination. You decide.

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