'accuse' and 'charge'

Kimaunz

Member
Korean - South Korea
Hi,
Can I replace 'accused him of theft' by 'charged him with theft' in the following sentence and what's the difference between 'accuse' and 'charge'?:

When the store owner saw the man shoplifting, she called in police and police arrested the man and accused him of theft.
 
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  • Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    "Charge" normally refers to an official process by which a person is formally accused of a crime by the police or a prosecutor. It isn't appropriate in this case.
     

    Kimaunz

    Member
    Korean - South Korea
    "Charge" normally refers to an official process by which a person is formally accused of a crime by the police or a prosecutor. It isn't appropriate in this case.
    Ok. Thanks. Then can I add a sentence after the above sentence llike the following?:
    When the store owner saw the man shoplifting, she called in police and police arrested the man and accused him of theft. Then police charged him and he was proved to be guilty and put into jail.
     
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    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    When the store owner saw the man shoplifting, she called in police and police arrested the man and accused him of theft.
    The police didn't accuse him of theft. The shop owner accused him of theft. The police then arrested him on suspicion of having committed an offence (theft). After they had investigated the shopkeeper's accusation the man was charged with theft.
     

    Kimaunz

    Member
    Korean - South Korea
    The police didn't accuse him of theft. The shop owner accused him of theft. The police then arrested him on suspicion of having committed an offence (theft). After they had investigated the shopkeeper's accusation the man was charged with theft.
    Thank you Andygc for answering my question. Then a person can accuse another person who is believed to have committed a crime. Then the police can arrest a suspect but cannot accuse a suspect. And the police can charge a suspect and a prosecutor can indict him for committing a crime like theft in Britain. In the US a grand jury indicts the accused if the accused is considered to have committed a felony. Am I right?
     
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    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    In your situation the police were called because the shopowner made an accusation. Anybody can accuse somebody of a crime. The shopowner saw the theft and called the police. "I saw him shoplifting" - that's the accusation. The policeman would say "I am arresting you on suspicion of theft", or whatever the required form of words is in the country. In a different situation a police officer could be the accuser. For example, a policeman stops a car being driven erratically and accuses the driver of drink-driving.
     

    Kimaunz

    Member
    Korean - South Korea
    In your situation the police were called because the shopowner made an accusation. Anybody can accuse somebody of a crime. The shopowner saw the theft and called the police. "I saw him shoplifting" - that's the accusation. The policeman would say "I am arresting you on suspicion of theft", or whatever the required form of words is in the country. In a different situation a police officer could be the accuser. For example, a policeman stops a car being driven erratically and accuses the driver of drink-driving.
    Now it's all clear. Thank you, Andygc.
     

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I think charge means demand, asking of something, while accuse means blame badly.:confused:
    No, that is not the meaning of "charged him with theft". This is the meaning:-
    WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2017
    charge /tʃɑrdʒ/USA pronunciation v., charged, charg•ing, n.
    v.
    [~ + object + with + object] to accuse formally or in law: They charged her with theft.
     
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