Choosing the best phrase for a particular context or meaning.

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2
votes
2answers
129 views

Idiom for or more colorful phrasing of “without having their lack of trivia exposed”

I am writing a children's book (8–12) and am looking for an idiom or more colorful language to be used in place of the highlighted section. Now that she’d stumped me, Ms. Sanders, my favorite of ...
0
votes
2answers
101 views

Can this be more concise? [closed]

How do I say this more concisely and more effectively in one sentence? "The baseball and the basketball(s) should have the same shape, or the shape of the basketball(s) should be the same with the ...
-1
votes
1answer
74 views

Which version of this sentence is the best?

I can think of three variants of this sentence, which are intended to have the same meaning. I'm not sure which of these are grammatically correct, and which are just preferable. I'm leaning towards ...
0
votes
1answer
12k views

Saying that the mail has an attached form filled up by me?

Let's say I'm writing a letter to a university and my mail has an application form attached to it. How can I say it in a more formal and concise way than "Please see the attached application form that ...
1
vote
1answer
61 views

How should I search information on the origin of a country on Google? [closed]

I'm trying to find some information on how the very first country came into being. I'm not sure what keywords I should start with. I've tried synonyms like state and nation as well, but none of them ...
0
votes
3answers
126 views

How to specify one had the topmost GPA during his education?

I am writing a CV and I want to specify that I had the best GPA among all of the students. What is the best way to write such a thing in north america? Does 'Bachelor with first class honor' work? How ...
5
votes
5answers
165 views

a phrase for “to lure and chop a turtle's head”

There must be a similar phrase in English, meaning to lure the target from protection (like turtle's shell) or hiding, in order to capture or kill it. My English dictionary gives "draw a snake out of ...
0
votes
1answer
369 views

What's wrong with this sentence: “Who am I doing this task with?”? [closed]

Imagine that you are in a class full of students and the teacher is forming couples to perform some task. Let's say, for some reason, you didn't hear the name of the person you are going to do the ...
11
votes
7answers
495 views

What is the verb for developing a chip on one's shoulder? [closed]

I want to say that an individual has a chip on their shoulder, but a month ago, they did not. Did they "raise a chip on their shoulder", as might be inferred from the first cited history of the ...
1
vote
1answer
468 views

I knew it already 20 yrs ago vs I knew it as early as 20 yrs ago

I know that "already" is mainly used with present perfect. I want to emphasise that something was known 20 years ago. Are the following the same? I knew it already 20 yrs ago I knew it as early ...
4
votes
1answer
144 views

Who coined the term 'affluent society'?

Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, in 1957 used the term 'affluent society' to describe the rising prosperity in Britain in those years. Does anyone know of any earlier reference to the term?
1
vote
2answers
161 views

Is use of “Oriental” racism? [duplicate]

I've heard that the word Oriental, if used to people, is racism. Is it true? And if it is, why?
13
votes
13answers
8k views

Is there a term for someone who “can see multiple perspectives”?

A colleague of mine is trying to describe herself as "capable of seeing a situation from multiple perspectives" or "able to look at the big picture from various viewpoints". I feel like there must be ...
0
votes
1answer
93 views

Can one say “find sanctuary”?

I'd like to use the expression find sanctuary instead of find refuge. Would it be fine?
0
votes
1answer
207 views

What is a less wordy way of describing how this car is situated?

I'm sitting on a bench in a park and I see this car sitting in the middle of a side street. Well, it's not actually in the middle of the street, but like right at the spot where you're about to make a ...
1
vote
1answer
115 views

“heart advice” - jarring or beautiful?

I'm translating a Tibetan text written in verse into English. The style is one of direct advice rather than learned philosophy. My aim is for the translation to have the same down-to-earth quality as ...
-3
votes
2answers
145 views

“Cross-application” vs “Application-wide” [closed]

Given functionality that is common to all applications, what is the best word or words to convey that idea? I think that cross-application fits fairly well here, don't you? If not, what expression ...
15
votes
18answers
1k views

Term for “will consume time and almost certainly yield nothing”

Can anyone point to an eloquent word or term that means "will consume time and almost certainly yield nothing"? Could be used in response to: I'm going to have one of the developers contact ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

“take the initiative” vs “make the initiative”

What is the difference between "taking the initiative" and "making the initiative"? Context : I recently sent an email asking advice on whether I should "take the initiative to contact X". The person ...
4
votes
4answers
712 views

What's the logical fallacy where people dismiss what you say as irrelevant to the real-world?

Quite often I see derision about ideas by people who label them as 'too academic'. Often this appears to result from laziness or an unwillingness to stretch their thinking. What's the logical ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

Is there another way of saying “less is more”?

Is there another way of saying “less is more" in the following context? They changed their packaging and left only the essential branding on it. It epitomizes "less is more".
2
votes
1answer
2k views

you have confused me or you have got me confused?

You have confused me by staying quiet about it or you have got me confused by staying quiet about it? I know the latter is correct, but is the former sentence correct as well and convey the same ...
1
vote
4answers
849 views

Word that means to “get something good but loses something else good in return”

I was at the optical store getting a new pair of glasses and lens. Since I have a somewhat high prescription, when selecting the features for the lenses I asked the clerk whether there is an option ...
2
votes
1answer
65 views

The proofs of theorems vs the proof of theorems [closed]

Suppose that there are three Theorems, say Theorem A, Theorem B and Theorem C. I want to refer all of proofs of Theorem A,B,C at the same time. Which one is correct? From the proofs of Theorem A,B ...
0
votes
1answer
445 views

“sheds some important insights”?

Could we say "sheds some important insights"? E.g. The discussion sheds some important insights for optimizing an HTML parser If this is not appropriate, what is a nice way to express the same idea? ...
2
votes
1answer
483 views

How to use refer to previous literature/researches in research papers?

If I am talking about the topic Singapore English and I want to briefly survey the previous researches on the same topic, does the following sentences sound natural in English? In literature on ...
2
votes
8answers
15k views

What do you call a person who motivates or inspires?

My choices so far: motivational source inspirational source source of motivation source of inspiration Being a non-native speaker, I don't know which one to use. What I want to say is that ...
2
votes
2answers
202 views

Which is the correct expression for say that I have two items of three possibilities?

Which is the correct expression for say that I have two items of three possibilities? Two of three? Two out of three? Other?
3
votes
1answer
335 views

Can “Call it a career” be applied only to celebrities and successful people?

I saw the idiom, “Call it a career” in the article of New York times (May 12) announcing Barbara Waters’ planned retirement in 2014: ...
2
votes
1answer
837 views

“To go so far as to” — suitable for academic writing?

Is using the phrase "to go so far as to" in an academic context (e.g. in an article in humanities journal) acceptable? New Example: I do not know why Mister X went so far as to assert that Mister ...
1
vote
0answers
125 views

How to express this idea on formal occasions [closed]

everyone. I was making an application for iPad. It's a music game that you can record and play your tracks by touch the virtual piano keyboard on screen.But in the manage view,i want to remind the ...
3
votes
1answer
131 views

If I go to a Language School, do I go to school?

My friend, aged 21, has just started taking classes at a language school, and will shortly be doing 4 hours each weekday there. It feels very odd to be saying "How's school going?" – we finished ...
0
votes
4answers
100 views

Failing sometimes for unknown reason

Context: I have an automated test that sometimes fails for unknown reason. It's a sort of false positive: the feature it tests is not broken. Most of the time, either it succeeds or fails for right ...
3
votes
1answer
808 views

“Trust arrives walking and departs riding.”

That is the translation (provided by Wikiquote) of the Dutch proverb "Vertrouwen komt te voet en vertrekt te paard." I don't like this translation very much for conversational use. It doesn't "feel" ...
2
votes
5answers
415 views

Expression for “resource paralysis” - can't do anything because you have too much?

Is there any word, expression or proverb for the condition or state where you can't do anything because you have too much? I have heard a professor of English refer to this as "resource paralysis" ...
0
votes
3answers
735 views

Expression for “pulling out something from the past”

I am looking for an expression (proverb / idiom) meaning "pulling out something from the past" in disapproval. An example of this would be: somebody mentioning a thing of the past, which is not ...
-1
votes
2answers
70 views

Which “one” should I use?

I'm having a hard time picking between These are one of the foundations of.... and These are ones of the foundations of.. Or is there a more idiomatic way to express it?
0
votes
1answer
88 views

Can “the fact that X” imply “X is a fact”? [closed]

A: How do I know if my professor is good? B: Do you understand what he says? A: Yes, but that might be because I'm a natural genius, and not necessarily the fact that he is good at ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

“Take the role” vs. “take over the role” vs. “take on the role”

Is there a significant difference between the three expressions, or can they be used interchangeably? I'm trying to say that a colleague of mine succeeded to another after the latter had quit his ...
3
votes
5answers
369 views

Short expression for “If you are not 100% convinced yet, this last thing will seal the deal”

I'm writing a LinkedIn recommendation for a colleague of mine. I praised his abilities far and wide; now I would like to throw in one last (ironic and informal) punch line to top it all off. Here is ...
-1
votes
2answers
122 views

Do you “program with language X” or “program using language X” or something else?

What is the correct way of saying the following sentences (python is the name of the language and numpy is one of the libraries): I made this program with Python using numpy library. I program ...
3
votes
3answers
422 views

How to describe “choose to do something by one's own willing”

For example, there is a course (say French course), for students in a college. The students can take it, but they don't have to. Someone, who is not a student in that college, thinks that this course ...
3
votes
2answers
255 views

What's the act of darkening windows to disallow visibility?

What's the word to describe the act of darkening windows to disallow visibility from outside yet visibility from inside to outside is possible? I was thinking of tinting, to tint a window, but ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

How can I rephrase “enough rope to shoot yourself in the foot”?

Some time ago I have a read a very famous book of Allen I. Holub "Enough rope to shoot yourself in the foot" (this book on openlibrary.org). I have read it in Russian and the book was titled with ...
3
votes
6answers
3k views

How can I say “not any time soon, but it won't take a long time either”?

I was writing an email to a client about a feature we plan to eventually release, maybe in a couple months, but they want some of the functionality now. I initially wrote: If there's something ...
3
votes
2answers
147 views

Question mark with your hands [closed]

How do you call a gesture of spreading one's hands and turning them palms up to suggest a question? As in "what did you just do, man? That was so weird that left me speechless, so I had to raise my ...
-1
votes
1answer
817 views

Is “come again” an absolute slang? [closed]

I am not a native English speaker and use the expression "come again" in various forms such as "Come again, please" or "Can you come again?". I consider it to be a general expression which can also be ...
22
votes
6answers
3k views

Are “Fish in a barrel” and “Sitting ducks” similar?

Do the phrases "Fish in a barrel" and "Sitting ducks" convey the same thing? In my opinion, they have the same tone and express something to be an easy target. Eg: Out there, they are just fish in ...
2
votes
1answer
307 views

Why is it “the worst round one care to remember”?

I am interested in the usage of “care to infinitive verb” in the following sentence in Jeffery Archer’s fiction, “Kane & Abel”: “By the time they reached the eighteenth, Alan was eight holes ...
8
votes
10answers
5k views

“You get what you deserve nothing more nothing less”

In this world we reside, what we acquire depends on what we can acquire. In other words, if we have the money to, we can buy a house; if we have the necessary educational qualifications to, we can get ...