1
vote
2answers
138 views

What does “those are the breaks” mean?

I remarked to a friend, "It's too bad I have to wake up early," and he responded "those are the breaks." What does this mean? Isn't it a bad thing to wake up late, which would be the opposite of a ...
8
votes
8answers
2k views

Word/phrase/idiom to describe avoiding answering a question by stating the question doesn't need to be asked

I run into this situation often in the office. I have a specific question to ask somebody and have chosen the person to ask it, but that person doesn't know the answer. Instead of answering the ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the origin of 'be my guest' idiom?

I was surprised when I found out the meaning of a dialog like this: - May I do something? - Be my guest. As for me, it looks really weird. Why 'be my guest' has the meaning 'do it, I don't mind'? ...
2
votes
3answers
424 views

Ways to ensure the interlocutor understands you

What are the best ways to ask an interlocutor whether he understands you in different circumstances (formal conversation, informal talk)? What are the best ways to answer such questions meaning "I ...
5
votes
2answers
10k views

“Please let me know.”

Is it okay to answer "Please let me know", short (without "when...", "if...", "what...", etc.)? Consider for instance -- I can check that for you tomorrow morning. -- Yes, please let me ...
13
votes
4answers
1k views

What are exchanges like “How are you,” “I'm fine,” and “See you later” called?

Some verbal/written exchanges convey almost no meaning but are part of the protocol of conversation. For example, somebody greets you with "How are you?" and they're not usually not listening for ...
6
votes
11answers
39k views

Is there a more modern way to say “it's a pity”?

Is it okay nowadays to use the phrase "it's a pity" in the everyday conversation in the contexts like in following example: "Please how do I get to airport?" "It's a pity, I don't know." If ...