A colloquialism is a word or phrase used in everyday conversation, but generally avoided in formal speech and writing.

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Knocked up, two very different meanings. But why and how did the phrase split? [duplicate]

In American English, "Knocked up" means "pregnant." I just found out via an article regarding jobs that no longer exist that in British English, they use use the phrase "Knocked up in a completely ...
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2answers
68 views

When did the word “snafu” enter the colloquial vernacular?

Roughly when did the word "snafu" enter the colloquial vernacular? It was a military term, but at some point it came into fairly common use among the general population. If you can narrow it down to a ...
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1answer
109 views

Are “kinda”, “sorta”, “oughta” and “sposta” acceptable in formal writing?

I get that sorta, kinda, sorta-kinda (this one I quite like though) oughta and sposta imitate speech but it still annoys me to find them "in print", especially when the overall tone is formal. ...
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0answers
31 views

Is the use of alliteration formal or informal?

Is it informal or formal to use alliterations? I've heard couple of them lately. "right as rain" or "sure as shooting"
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1answer
93 views

What does “wishy-washy” mean?

Question: What does it mean when something is "wishy-washy"? Is it informal? Is it American English, British English or both?
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2answers
194 views

Is 'biasedness' a real word?

I am curious about the usage of word biasedness, I am unable to find it in Oxford's advance learners dictionary but on the internet. When tried to consult some expert, he said that it's a colloquial ...
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2answers
47 views

Is the word “gig” formal?

I'd like to know whether the word gig (temporary job) is formal or colloquial. Always that I've read it, it has been in forums. I have never heard it or read it somewhere else, just in forums, which ...
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1answer
33 views

What does the phrase “They would clash with my drapes” mean?

I have come across this phrase in the sitcom, Hot in Cleveland wherein a gay man is asked if he had kids to which he responds with this phrase :"They would clash with my drapes." I tried looking it up ...
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1answer
73 views

“In back of'' vs. ”back of“ vs. the spatial sense of ”behind" in AmE

What's the difference to these expressions, as in "The little girl was hiding in back of the tree" vs. "The little girl was hiding back of the tree" vs. "The little girl was hiding behind the tree"? ...
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2answers
50 views

In/on for “into/onto” in colloquial and not so formal AmE

If the context is crystal clear and, as such, allows no risk of misunderstanding or ambiguity whatsoever, unlike "Paul jumps into the lake (= Paul jumps into the lake from a certain point)" vs. "Paul ...
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79 views

“Latch onto [something/someone]” for “obtain, get (hold of) [something/someone]” in AE

I just rediscovered the colloquial expression "latch on to [something]" online and would like to know the story to its meaning of "obtain, get", which is presented by CD as AE and CE. ...
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1answer
45 views

Is “and all” a filler?

In L.P.Hartley's "The Go-between", one of the characters says: "I didn't think I would find anyone here, being a Sunday and all." In the 2002 English film "All or Nothing", a woman says: "I'm very ...
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2answers
71 views

What does this line in the chorus mean?

From New York Girls by by Finbar Furey Shipmates listen unto me, I'll tell you in my song Of the things that happened to me When I come home from Hong Kong CHORUS: To me a-weigh, ...
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1answer
31 views

Colloquial alternatives to questions regarding the ordinals

I'm very well aware that this question is asked a myriad of times before but I want to know how one would phrase a question in every-day language to get the answer "n-th". What ordinal number ...
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1answer
59 views

What does “to take/catch someone off stride” mean in AE?

I guess it might originate from ball game terminology, and mean pretty much the same as "catch/take someone off balance". But, sad to say, I just can't seem to find an authoritative source online that ...
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2answers
59 views

“Associate with [someone]” for “socialize with [someone]” in colloquial AE

What's the difference in AE between saying "I like to associate with new folks" and "I like to socialize with new folks"? E.g. I am a positive person and I like to associate with other positive ...
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1answer
119 views

“As long as” for “since” in AE

Some of you might have noticed that I oftentimes use the conjunction "as long as" in my questions and my posts. I was just wondering -- does "as long as" in the sense "since" [=in view of the fact ...
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1answer
33 views

“Fudge” vs. “dodge” (an issue, question, etc.), and “fudge” as another term for “cheat” in AE

In AE, can "fudge" and "dodge" be used just about interchangeably to convey the sense of circumvent [= avoid or try to avoid answering, fulfilling, or performing (duties, questions, issues, etc.)]? ...
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3answers
50 views

“Tote” vs. “carry” in AE

Aside from formality/informality registers, what is to "tote" that is not to "carry" to AE native speakers? Does "tote", unlike "carry", imply a certain way to hold or support something while moving? ...
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1answer
81 views

“Decide/Intend on [gerund]” vs. “decide/intend to [infinitive]”

In analogy with "plan on [gerund]", do the gerund constructions above have any currency in AE, or are these chiefly dialectal and might sound folksy to most ears? E.g. We decided on taking our ...
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1answer
176 views

“Have you ever been” to France? vs. “Have you ever gone” to France? vs. “Did you ever go” to France?

Which of the grammatical constructions above is (or are) more typical of what is commonly said and heard in colloquial AE? If all three options work, is there any difference to them meaningwise? ...
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4answers
304 views

“Shag” for “chase and bring back, fetch” in AE

Does "shag" have any currency in modern day AE to mean "chase and bring back, fetch (an escaped animal/prisoner)"? Is its use limited to the pursuit of runaways, or can it be extended to a broader ...
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1answer
54 views

“Should I” vs. “Shall I” vs. “Do I” in AE

In colloquial prose, is there some difference to saying "Should I/we", Shall I/we", "Do I/we" to ask someone's advice? E.g. Should I call the police? Sounds like I'm asking someone (or myself) ...
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100 views

I've been betrayed by the Jedi Order, but I don't wish “for” them to all die [closed]

Does the presumably nonstandard construction "(verb) for someone/something to (verb)" instead of "(verb) (someone/something) to (verb)" have any currency in modern day colloquial AE speech and "not so ...
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4answers
117 views

What does “throw down (an order, an idea)” as in “The offer was thrown down to join the Sith” mean?

What's the actual meaning to "throw down something" as in "His offer was thrown down"? Is it the same as saying "His offer was rejected", or is it like saying that the offer was made for ...
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2answers
52 views

“Occupation” and “professional occupation (plus calling and career)” vs. “vocation” and “professional vocation” [closed]

Is "professional vocation" an acceptable alternative to "professional occupation", and to "professional calling or career" also? You might want to consider the following sourced examples for this: ...
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1answer
27 views

X “has that” instead of X “can do that”

I've been encountering this more often lately. Two examples: After witnessing an impressive athletic display (a spinning reverse dunk), the announcer says "Ohh I didn't know he had that." Two radio ...
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2answers
1k views

Why do we use the word “oops”, if something goes wrong?

Why do we use the word oops in a sentence or when communicating with others, if something goes wrong? I would like to know the correct information regarding this question.
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2answers
193 views

“Say for someone to do something” in colloquial AE

In colloquial prose, is the idiomatic "say for" an appropriate substitute for "tell" in "tell someone to do something" whatever the context? E.g. Have I ever said for you to pretend to be someone ...
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1answer
120 views

“Opposite of (someone/something)” for “across from/opposite” in nonstandard colloquial prose

Consider the following quotes (emphasis mine). For a split second, I meet eyes with an older man standing in a still gaze just opposite of me amidst the sudden chaos. source Taking a seat ...
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36 views

Is there a colloquial phrase to describe a sports heckler?

What might you call someone who verbally harasses a player from the stands? Hey Lincecum. I've seen better curves on a square! Who is that guy?
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47 views

“Flash (one's attention/eyes)” for “focus/direct (one's attention/eyes)”, and “flash one's eyes at” for “stare with lust or passion at”

As far as your English variety goes, is it acceptable in every which register of speech and writing, and rather common usage, to say "flash" for "focus/direct (one's attention/eyes)", but also for ...
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1answer
36 views

“Bother and do” for “bother doing/to do” in colloquial speech and writing

As far as your English variety goes, does it sound acceptable to say "bother and do" instead of "bother doing/to do" in colloquial speech and not so formal writing? E.g. Please spend a moment of ...
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4answers
70 views

Nouns as verbs, Brits and Yanks: ID cards

I find it interesting that not only do British and American English speakers both use the noun 'ID card' as a verb in the context of (trying to be in a position of) purchasing age-restricted items, ...
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1answer
79 views

Various meanings of “mind and do” which can mean “be cautious/careful to do”, “take notice/give heed and do”, and “behave obediently and do”

How would you native speakers define the meaning of "mind and do" in the following examples: I will mind and do as I am told, Master Yoda... Mind and do your work properly... As long as you mind ...
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1answer
59 views

“To be starved” for “to be hungry, starving” in colloquial AE [closed]

Is "to be starved" a typical AE expression for "to be starving"? I'm starved! What's for breakfast? source I'm starved. What's for dinner? source I'm starved. When do we eat? source
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3answers
151 views

“Would you mind and do something” in nonstandard colloquial AE

Just curious, does "Would you mind and do something" instead of "Would you mind doing something" sound acceptable in spoken AE, or is it an attempt to imitate or render colloquial speech in not so ...
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6answers
2k views

Using “so” and “very” for ungradable adjectives

We generally use modifiers such as "so" and "very" for gradable/normal adjectives (water can be quite/so/very HOT, but not quite/so/very BOILING (an ungradable/extreme adjective). Yet would you say ...
2
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1answer
84 views

What does “I had every last one of them” mean?

I heard this quote from a Channel 4 sitcom the IT crowd I'm gonna go, I may not come back but I want to say this. That accounts team, I had every last one of them. It is said by Douglas ...
3
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4answers
530 views

Which is correct: “I’m done” or “I have finished”?

Which of these alternatives is grammatically correct? I’m done. or I have finished Like I’m done sounds very American, but is it grammatically correct?
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2answers
59 views

alternatives for 'finding your feet'

I need alternatives for the expression finding your feet or getting used to something / doing something Can anyone help?
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3answers
857 views

Be/keep/stay in touch

Are all these forms correct? Let's be in touch Let's keep in touch Let's stay in touch Thanks
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2answers
59 views

Saying for not doing something because it is futile [duplicate]

Is there such a saying? Futile may be either because it will fail or because it is unnecessary / already taken care of. I considered: too many chefs spoil the broth and It's like carrying coals to ...
2
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2answers
2k views

Die hard or die heart?

I just saw someone write that they were a "die heart" fan. I always thought the term was supposed to be "die hard" but I decided to google it just in case I was wrong. Google was unable to give me a ...
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1answer
69 views

Noun of What a Straight Shooter Gives

A straight shooter gives information in an honest way. One could say, "He (the straight shooter) gives me the ...".
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56 views

Infinitive use in “whether or not he be” compared with its use in “if he be”

Here is the phrase in question: . . . but whether he be, or whether he be not. . . . Is the usage of the infinitive in that phrase above the same sort of thing as occurs in this quotation: ...
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1answer
94 views

Is it possible to say “ASAP” instead of “as soon as possible” when we speak? [closed]

Or is it just an abbreviation that should be written just on paper? I heard Al Pacino say "asap" on the phone when he was talking with his friend. What about pm? Could we say p m instead of prime ...
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2answers
74 views

What does “as good a film as the Coen brothers…have ever made” mean? [duplicate]

What does "as good a film as the Coen brothers...have ever made" mean? Does it mean that the film is their best? what is the underlying structure?
3
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2answers
164 views

Which word(s) can be used to express causal relation in modern English?

I will skip it over, because nobody will have doubt on this. Since nobody will have doubt on this, I will skip it over. I will skip it over, for nobody will have doubt on this. An ...
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2answers
209 views

Is the phrase “I feel you” too colloquial?

Does the phrase "I feel you" sound too slangy and somewhat horrible to a British person? Is it ok to use it as a synonym of "I understand what you feel/say" in an informal, casual conversation?