Criticising mistakes

Generally, it's not nice to criticise other people's mistakes but when it's a friend or the action directly affects us we may want to say something. Here are ten possible phrases.

10 expressions to Use In Speaking And Writing: 
  1. That wasn't very clever.
  2. What were you thinking of?
  3. I bet you wish you hadn't done that.
  4. Why on Earth did you go and do that?
  5. You made a right mess of that.
  6. I wouldn't do that again (in a hurry)
  7. Oops
  8. What a total disaster
  9. You put your foot in it (there)
  10. That was a bit uncalled for.
How To Use These Phrases In Your English: 
  1. Phrases 1 and 2 are quite critical. Depending on the intonation they could be friendly criticism (big changes in pitch) or a harsh scolding (flatter intonation).
  2. Phrases 3 and 4 are quite critical but almost certainly friendly or joking in tone. To achieve this effect, apply strong rise-fall intonation to 'bet' in phrase 3 and 'Earth' in phrase 4.
  3. Phrase 5 is strongly critical and with flat intonation, not at all friendly. Using this phrase wrongly can offend people.
  4. Phrases 6 and 7 are nearly always friendly in tone. In phrase 6, 'that' is stressed with strong rise-fall intonation.
  5. In phrase 7, 'to' of 'total' is stressed strongly and with flat intonation this can sound quite rude / harsh. A rise-fall intonation on this syllable makes it sound more friendly / homorous.
  6. Phrases 9 and 10 are criticising something that somebody said. Phrase 9 is criticising indiscretion and phrase 10 is saying that something you said was offensive or rude.
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