tell off

Meaning: to strongly criticize someone for doing something wrong

Synonym: rebuke, admonish (formal)

For example:

  • tell sb off My teacher told me off for getting to class late. She was really angry with me.

  • tell off sb If he's in a bad mood, the boss tells off nearly everyone who comes into his office.

Quick Quiz:

Our boss told us off for

a. not working hard enough

b. not being lazy enough

c. working really hard

Phrasal verbs grammar

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Contributor: Matt Errey