Nagging: Complaining about Behavior

scolding scold point finger hand actually ESL English

We’ve all been on the end of a complaining finger.

Americans often use the time adverbs always and never to complain.
  • You’re always late!  You never go anywhere on time!
  • You always leave your dirty dishes in the sink!  You never clean up after yourself!
In the simple tenses, always and never come after the “be” verb but in front of all other verbs.

We also use be + being + adjective or noun to complain.  

  • Stop that!  You‘re being embarrassing!  You‘re being a weirdo!
  • If someone isn’t behaving politely, we scold:  “You’re being rude!”
siblings brother sister complain girl boy children rude polite food lunch hungry English ESL

My little brother is being a pain…

Mother and daughter arguing

When someone tells us over and over to do something, we use the verb nag.

This mom is nagging her daughter about doing the laundry.  The girl can say: “Mom! Stop nagging me!  I’ll do it!”

We call the person a nag.  “My mom is such a nag!  She’s always telling me to do my homework and to clean my room.  I wish she would stop being such a nag!”

(She would say:  Well…if you’d do what I asked the first time, I wouldn’t have to nag you!”  Sound familiar?)