educate student


Senior Member
Hello, my friends,

I was wondering whether the underlined part is idiomatic:

I educated him after class.

Thoughts: I am a teacher and I want to say that I will tell my students why his is wrong because he speak loud in class. I choose educate because I want to be gentle to avoid the verb like criticize. I would tell him some principles in order that he know he was totally wrong and won't make such mistakes again.
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Hardly. 'Education' is a long-term process, lasting years. When it's used about a single act like this (and it very rarely is), it usually sounds sarcastic or at best euphemistic: you gave the student a 'telling off'.


    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    But "gave a telling off" (post #2) amounts to criticize. :(

    I agree that "educated" doesn't work there: I'd say something like "I gave him some advice after class".


    Senior Member
    Thank you very much entangliedbank and Donny.:D I tend to avoid criticize because it sounds too strong and I want to use a positive verb. "Give advice" is fine but I think in China things are different because in China students tend to respect their teacher and listen to their words even be more obedient to them than their parents. I think the relationship is not like among friends but more like a senior to a junior. It just sounds more like a sentence between friends. I was wondering whether such conception is wrong. Maybe "give advice" could be used more flexibly. I have no idea about that, because in China people believe the power of the teacher that can totally change a person into a better one.


    Senior Member
    English - US
    It is because I have no other choice.
    I mean "educate" is so much the opposite "criticize" that it seems you must have done something extreme and "educate" is, in fact, used this way metaphorically (to mean "I taught him a lesson (by beating him up).") It "over-softens" "criticize". You want something in the middle as suggested above or "I talked to him." "I had a little chat with him."
    Note: "I taught him a lesson." would definitely mean that you hit him in this context.


    Moderate Mod
    I agree with Myridon. "Educate" is so soft and bland sounding - so out of place - that it sounds like an understatement. I imagine someone rubbing his bruised knuckles and saying something like "Oh, I 'educated' him all right. I 'educated' him so thoroughly that he has a bloody nose." :)

    I'm sort of joking, but not entirely. Sometimes when you use a word that's too soft - or too hard - it gives exactly the opposite impression of the one you're trying to give. If it's too soft, it sounds like a deliberate understatement; if it's too hard, it sounds like hyperbole.

    "Corrected" is good, though.
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