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23
votes
9answers
2k views

How can I express strong emotions without using Biblical or profane language? [closed]

Very often I find myself looking for a way to express that I'm amazed, surprised, disappointed, annoyed, etc., but the only words I can come up with are: "Oh my God! Jesus Christ! For the love of ...
21
votes
9answers
4k views

Does “yar” (or “yarr” or “yargh”) in Pirate English imply an affirmative?

In honor of International Talk Like A Pirate Day, I’d like to ask a question about the pirate dialect of English. Most pirate sentences begin with a standard pirate-sounding hedge to lend ...
19
votes
10answers
6k views

What's the verb for making that “pffft” sound?

I have a dialogue like this: "All I wanted to do was to keep a low profile" "Pffft. That worked well, we not only have the entire police force but also the entire mafia chasing us" I don't ...
13
votes
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.
10
votes
3answers
330 views

“God bless you” equivalent for fart?

In response to someone sneezing there are a few possible phrases you can say as a form of polite acknowledgement: "God bless you" "Gesundheit" And others. But with a fart you laugh, deride ...
10
votes
1answer
7k views

Yes, no, adverbs, and interjections

There appears to be some disagreement over what function yes and no perform in the following sentences: Yes, you are right. No, you are mistaken. According to ODO (yes, no), they are being used as ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

English equivalent of the Italian “Mannaggia!”, “Che peccato!”

What is the English expression or exclamation to refer to something that has gone wrong or a missed opportunity, or something that we could have done better than we actually did? I'm specifically ...
7
votes
2answers
15k views

Origin of “I see, said the blind man, as he waved his wooden leg”

"I see", said the blind man, as he waved his wooden leg. is an expression used by someone on whom comprehension has just dawned, or a catch-phrase addressed to that person. Sometimes it can be ...
6
votes
4answers
3k views

What is the origin of “shh”?

The word "sh" (or "shh") is an exclamation for silence: Shh! They're listening... Etymonline only mentions a date (1847) and the common practice of "putting a finger to the lips." Does anyone ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the origin of the dated British expression “I say!”

It doesn't appear that this expression was a minced oath or something along those lines. Was it shortened from a longer phrase, or did it just enter the vernacular as is (similar to "listen up" or ...
3
votes
1answer
864 views

What's the difference between “really” and “for real”? [closed]

For example: I don't know who Tiger Woods is. For real? and I don't know who Tiger Woods is. Really? I don't see any difference in this case, but are there some specific cases when these ...
2
votes
10answers
3k views

What are some old-world alternatives or precursors to 'WTF' (expressions of frustration or surprise)? [closed]

Such as 'what on Earth' or 'what in the world', etc. I'm trying to come up with a list of witty alternatives. Note: I'm not looking for alternatives to the letters W, T, and F. I'm looking for ...
2
votes
3answers
5k views

Why is “bloody hell” offensive or shocking?

It seems to me that if one describes hell as 'bloody', that is simply describing one of the properties you'd expect of it. So, why is 'bloody hell' used as an offensive or shocking phrase?
2
votes
3answers
6k views

What does “Merlin's beard!” mean?

I know that Merlin's beard! is an exclamation from Harry Potter which is similar to "Oh Lord!". and it is a common wizarding expression used to show surprise. Can we use it this expression in the ...
2
votes
1answer
55 views

Are these how's meaning 'how well'?

It’s not easy how I have to read clauses starting with how. I’m going to start this question with a case from Longman –– “He was impressed at how well she could read! (A)”. Though Longman says how is ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

Understanding “Mother of God!” or “Holy Mother of God!”

I have come across this term numerous times and this expression is well used when something unbelievable or shocking happens but I don't understand how Mother of God can imply its meaning. Does refer ...
1
vote
2answers
197 views

Origin of “Homeward ho!”

In the English translation of an essay by Leon Trotsky that came out in Foreign Affairs, I read [emphasis added]: Now it turns out that the world exchange is the source of all misfortunes and ...
1
vote
2answers
252 views

What weather! What a pity! - phrases with and without article - why? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Are there any simple rules for article usage (“a” vs “the” vs none) ‘… the weather’ vs. ‘… weather’ “Bad weather doesn't exist” vs. “The bad weather doesn't exist” ...
1
vote
1answer
306 views

Exclamation before or after the interrogation? Doesn't matter? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there a standard ordering for the question mark and the exclamation mark used together? Which is correct: Was That Folk!? Was That Folk?! Or both? I ...
1
vote
0answers
29 views

Exclaiming Questions [duplicate]

What is the correct way to write a question you would verbally ask in a higher tone of voice? How is this possible?! OR How is this possible!? The subtlety lies in the punctuation. Thanks ...
0
votes
1answer
82 views

“Is/are X + adjective”

I provide the sentence in context: [A couple kisses. A friend of them sees the scene and says:] Oh, are you cute! This clearly means "you're so cute, sweet" and the like. So, is this ...
0
votes
1answer
823 views

Can “alas” be used all by itself?

Often, you see something like Alas, I couldn't afford it. But isn't it possible to use it all by itself? I couldn't afford it. Alas! What about in combination with "however", as in ...
0
votes
2answers
5k views

Common interjections / exclamations in English [closed]

What are the interjections / exclamations commonly used in English (e.g. aha, wow, eh, etc.)? I'd appreciate if you can provide me with a full list with the meaning of each term.
-1
votes
1answer
212 views

Oh fudge knuckle!

What does this expression mean? I heard it in a video where the person said something like This sounds right, but in fact, son of a gun, or as my younger son would say, fudge knuckle, it goes ...
-2
votes
1answer
112 views

Omitting commas in brief statements

In a brief exhortation followed by the name of a sports team, such as "Let's go, Dodgers!" or "Go, Phillies!" is it ever appropriate to omit the comma?