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

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570 views

Bless your heart

Is "bless your heart" something only used by old women in the South (all I've ever heard)? Or is it ever appropriate for a man to use it without seeming unmanly? Does the term always have ...
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1answer
729 views

“Might” vs. “Maybe” [closed]

Is it a correct form to say while talking? "I might go" => i.e., maybe I will go "he might be available" => i.e., maybe he will be available.
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2answers
351 views

“Time's up” or “time up” for games

I have seen games using both forms time's up and time up to say that the time is up. Which is correct?
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0answers
33 views

The problem is is that [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “The thing is, is that…” Does anyone know when or why people started saying things like The problem is is that... or The thing is is that... It's as if they ...
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5answers
418 views

Is there a word to describe the unintelligent/streety way some people talk? [closed]

This type of communication frequently leaves the 'g' off the end of words. "Talking" becomes "talkin'". Also, it combines certain small phrases into one. "What's that?" becomes "Wuzzat?" The best ...
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4answers
1k views

Is “blah blah blah” the most common spelling?

What is the most common or correct spelling of "blah blah blah"? blah blah blah blah blah bla bla bla bla bla My question stems from when I first wrote it as "bla bla bla" in an English text, ...
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4answers
506 views

Less colloquial version of “(X), never mind (Y)”?

From Chapter 7, it was found that PV installers do not interact frequently with geographic data within their assessment, never mind 3D geographic data. "Never mind" seems like a bit of a ...
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3answers
6k views

How to use “you are so lame!” or “you are so retard!” with friends? [closed]

I heard lots of these words from my colleagues. Definitions in Dictionary do not help me much. What I really want to know is what these words actually mean when using with friends and what situation ...
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3answers
478 views

Usage of third person form for first person

Recently, I discovered the following sentence in a Terry Pratchett book (which was not a typing error, since it appeared several times): I sees what he's doing. Presumably, the wrong usage of ...
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13answers
3k views

What do you call a USB flash disk?

I assume usually you don’t say USB flash disk, right? By the way, in Chinese we call it something more like U Disk.
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0answers
98 views

Resources for Australian street talk? [closed]

I know of a great series of books called "Street Talk" which tries to cover colloquial American English. Is there any such resources for Australian English? Especially with emphasis on Listening and ...
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1answer
2k views

Why are detectives/investigators referred to as “gumshoe”s? [closed]

Why are detectives/inspectors colloquially referred to as Gumshoes? Is it anything other that they would travel a lot in investigations and, presumably, wore hard-wearing shoes?
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6answers
3k views

Etymology of “to be like” meaning “to say”

It seems that "to be like" is an informal phrase for "to say". E.g. She was so angry, she was like "I'm breaking up with you", and I was like "I'm sorry", and she was like "Go away". Is this a ...
2
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2answers
277 views

Failed Experiment? [closed]

Is it proper to use the phrase "failed experiment" at all? And if so, should it refer exclusively to experiments that had some ineluctable flaw in the process of their implementation or can it also ...
3
votes
1answer
636 views

Is “and then some” an offensive expression?

I started an internal email discussion with the title "Editorial: link issues, some spelling issues and then some". However, upon rereading my own mail, it occurred to me that this might express ...
2
votes
1answer
269 views

Would you use the term cucumber-time and why?

During International Law studies I talked to English natives about politics, using a literal translation of the Dutch "komkommertijd", cucumber time, meaning to refer to the news-silent period of high ...
3
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1answer
1k views

What does “I'll kill that cat” in the play Dinner for One mean?

In the play Dinner for One, James the butler says, "I'll kill that cat," at time 14:05. What does this mean? Is he referring to the tiger rug which keeps tripping him, or is it a saying or ...
3
votes
3answers
825 views

How do you say to “connect nails with heads”?

I was chatting with a non native speaker and they said "we will connect nails with heads" or something along that line, and asked if that was the right way to say it in English. I knew what he meant: ...
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3answers
8k views

Meaning and usage of “to no end”

What does the phrase mean in "He annoys me to no end"? Literally, does it mean that he annoys me forever? Or does it mean that he annoys me to no result?
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2answers
98 views

Is “after” in this context solely a local colloquialism?

There are a number of turns of phrase that I have to avoid as an English person speaking to an American audience. Would it be possible for someone to clarify whether this colloquialism is ...
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4answers
9k views

Can I use “you guys” when it includes gals? [Northeast USA] [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is “guy” gender-neutral? I'm in the Northeast USA. I'm about to email 3 people, 2 are women It is ok to say "I thought you guys would find this ...
3
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3answers
459 views

“Will” and “Going To”. What are the real differences of the colloquial usage of them?

I'm from Brasil and here we study the differences of using "Will" and "Going to" to talk about the future. But it is usually very confusing because we have a different kind of conjugation that uses no ...
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1answer
3k views

Grammar: “I know right” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What does “I know, right?” mean? Is the expression "I know right" grammatically correct? I hear it a lot and I think I understand what it means, but it just sounds wrong ...
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3answers
5k views

Is it “stern talking too”, or “stern talking to”?

In the following sentence: I'll have to give myself a stern talking to. is it "stern talking to", or "stern talking too"?
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5answers
3k views

Is it acceptable to begin a declarative sentence with “Am”?

I want to know firstly if it's grammatically correct to start a declarative sentence with "Am". For example: Am excited about the game today. Secondly, if it is grammatically incorrect, then I ...
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3answers
321 views

Is using “all” instead of “all used up” a regional thing?

My inlaws from Central Pennsylvania will say, "The milk is all" instead of "The milk is all gone". Another very common example, "Can you bring me some cookies?" "Sorry, the cookies are all". Anyone ...
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2answers
6k views

“I don't think so” vs. “I think not”

I've recently been told that "I don't think so" is, in the U.S.A., a southernism, whereas "I think not" is considered more acceptable everywhere else. Is this true? Example: Q: Is your wrist ...
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2answers
431 views

Is there a connection between shy (adj.) and shy (v.) meaning throw?

Most British people probably best recognise the colloquial meaning of shy from the traditional fairground throwing game called the coconut shy but it is also occasionally used in everyday English. ...
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5answers
287 views

Grammatical explanation of “what the blank”

In emphatic questions, it's common to see or hear an interjection such as the heck — or something more vulgar — between the interrogative and the verb. What was that? becomes What the heck ...
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2answers
760 views

Use of can't/cannot to indicate the opposite

I cannot find any references online that would help me know what this topic in English grammar is called, but I'm trying to guide a non-American friend to understand why some would use the word ...
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2answers
1k views

Examples of spoken phrases where the tone used changes the meaning [closed]

I'm looking for examples of phrases & sentences whose meaning changes depending on the tone of voice used. For example, 'Follow me.' (Said with a falling tone) would be understood as a command. ...
5
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1answer
601 views

Origin and meaning of “strealish”/“streelish”

I've heard the word strealish (or streelish) used to describe someone with a lost or wan look or someone unkempt or untidy. I know it's an Irishism, but what is the origin of the word and what did it ...
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6answers
413 views

How to say “I must nothing” on a t-shirt

My son has a t-shirt that says, in Polish, "Nic nie muszę". It translates literally as "Nothing (I do) not must", meaning something like I do not have to do anything. How would you express this in ...
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3answers
92 views

Phrase for action “testing and correcting”

What is a phrase to indicate the action testing and correcting? For example, imagine a situation in which you don't know what you should do exactly and step by step you change things and see the ...
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5answers
5k views

Alternative colloquialism for “Best of both worlds”?

I'm looking for a phrase that means the same thing as "best of both worlds", except isn't so overused. I'm looking for the semantics to remain intact; for example, "Awesome!!" would not be an ...
0
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3answers
112 views

“Needs to be X” vs “Needs X” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Using -ed vs. -ing in the “needs washed” construction I've always used the following construct: The book needs to be read before Thursday. But I've ...
12
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4answers
36k views

“Calling dibs” - what does it imply?

The term "to have dibs on something" or "to call dibs on something" plays a recurring role in American film and television (e.g. How I Met Your Mother), so it gets exported a lot. Wikipedia describes ...
2
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1answer
7k views

Proper use of the phrase “of all time”

I have a client who insists on using the following sentence in his web site: Lance Armstrong is the most successful American bike racer of all times. I think that "of all times" should be "of ...
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11answers
3k views

Idiom: People caring about minor stuff while something terrible is happening

Imagine a situation in which the whole place is on fire, a bomb is about to explode, everyone is running for their lives and someone is checking his looks on the mirror... pretty inappropriate for the ...
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12answers
5k views

Is there an idiom for people who boast too much?

I am looking for idioms or informal/slang/colloquial expression for some people that make you think that they are able of building a skyscraper, constructing a spaceship, playing the piano better than ...
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4answers
2k views

Use of “when about” as colloquial alternative to “approximately when”

If I wanted to ask someone approximately when they would be doing something, for example arriving, I could use Approximately when do you think you could do that? Would the following be a correct ...
12
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6answers
12k views

What does “Sunshine,” when it’s placed at the end of sentence mean?

I came across a peculiar (to me) usage of the word, “sunshine” that was placed at the end of sentence in the short story, “High Heels,” written by Jeffrey Archer. “Sunshine” appears in the following ...
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1answer
394 views

Why do we say “… by [date/time]”?

What's the origin of the use of by to indicate at/on or before or no(t) later than? Examples: Best if used by 8/24/2011. I'll be there by 6:30.
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1answer
886 views

“Done soon” vs. “soon done”

There are a number of colloquial expressions common to my area (see here, for example). I'm relatively recent to the area, so there are a number of expressions that just sound unnatural to me. ...
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2answers
2k views

Meaning of “I think”

What is the usage and meaning of 'I think' in colloquial language? Does it mean 'suppose' or 'cogitate'? For example, 'He is a nice guy, I think.' My opinion is that, in the above sentence 'I think' ...
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votes
11answers
3k views

Is “chubby” offensive?

I said to a person that she is "chubby" and, apparently, she took it very seriously. What I meant to say is that she's not skin and bones, she carried more pounds than needed but, precisely because of ...
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2answers
812 views

Is “a lot of” used generally in English, or is it colloquial?

I find a lot of people in Holland think 'a lot of' is too colloquial for use in academic work. Is that the case?
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2answers
1k views

Is the term “city boy” a commonly used appellation for London bankers? Does it only apply to them, or is it colloquial for other London denizens?

I was watching the British series Sherlock Holmes and I noticed a couple of times they referred to bankers Sherlock was investigating or talking to as city boys. How common is this usage? Would the ...
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6answers
4k views

What does “Eleventy-seven” mean?

I came across the following phrase in a story (set in Australia): So the fact that I'm forty-five and you're eleventy-seven means nothing to me. If other people have a problem with that, then it's ...
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3answers
1k views

Is the phrase “all to c**k” considered profane?

I occasionally use the colloquialism "all to cock" to mean "disastrously wrong". I've always thought it a benign phrase, but recently I've wondered whether the use of the word "cock" in this situation ...