Expressions are words or phrases used to convey an idea, or else a particular term used conventionally to express something.

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7
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3answers
1k views

The origins of “Who da Man”?

This is a hard one to look up. Where (and when!) did the expression "who da man" start? My guess is it started either in written form after the popularization of the internet (because that would jibe ...
18
votes
3answers
5k views

Which is correct: “Set up something” or “Set something up” or “Setup something”?

As a programmer, I often have to use this expression: Set the application up. or something like that. But I'm not sure what the correct grammar is, and what this grammatical area is called in ...
9
votes
4answers
9k views

What is the origin of “Couldn't hit a cow's arse with a banjo”?

This picturesque expression, meaning 'not a very good shot with a rifle' or (of a footballer) unable to score any goals, has cropped up a few times recently in my reading. Does anyone know where it ...
22
votes
3answers
61k views

Which is correct: coming down the “pike” or “pipe”?

Is the expression "coming down the pike" or "coming down the pipe"? I've always used pike, but I've heard a few people use pipe recently. I can see how both could make sense, but which is correct?
4
votes
4answers
4k views

Isn't “behind your back” in front of you?

We've all heard the phrase that usually goes along the lines of "blah blah did something behind my back". I've always thought that from your back's point of view, anything behind you is in front of it ...
30
votes
3answers
119k views

What is the purpose of using the word “why” in “why, thank you”?

I sometimes have heard somebody replying with Why, thank you. instead of Thank you. What is the meaning of the first phrase? What is the difference between the two phrases?
9
votes
2answers
2k views

What does “if only” mean?

Like in this sentence: The influence of the Titnaeus among early philosophical thinkers was pervasive, if only because it was the sole dialogue available in Europe for almost 1,000 years. ...
18
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5answers
15k views

What is the origin of “holy smoke”?

What is the origin of holy smoke? To what is holy smoke referring?
6
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3answers
3k views

What is the etymology of the expression “so far, so good”?

What is the etymology of the expression "so far, so good"? Why is the meaning of "so far" in that phrase different from the meaning it has in "it's so far"?
15
votes
2answers
996 views

Tendency of using pronouns 'she/her' when talking about a random person

Reading different specifications and manuals I've noticed that more often and often pronouns she or her are being used when some unknown person's behavior is described. For example: "when user opens ...
31
votes
4answers
122k views

Is “yay or nay” an acceptable alternative to “yea or nay”?

Is "yay or nay" an acceptable alternative to "yea or nay"? I have seen it several times in recent weeks, enough to make me wonder whether it is an emerging usage or just a common typo.
74
votes
12answers
34k views

Which is correct: “could care less” or “couldn't care less”?

What's the deal with the phrase "could care less"? Whilst growing up, I've always known people (parents etc) to use the phrase "couldn't care less", but I've also come across people who use the ...
1
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2answers
5k views

When should one use the “recent past”? How much time should have passed?

When we can use "recent past"? How much past time qualifies for "recent past"?
10
votes
4answers
540 views

Why am I always compelled to begin a response with “Well, ”?

Because of a certain 140 character limit I've learned where I can trim characters on responses but even after all this time I still reply with "Well, so and so . . ." and I go back and have to delete ...
16
votes
5answers
22k views

Which is correct: “standing on line” or “standing in line”?

I'm curious to hear from folks in the the Northeast United States (or anyone, really) an explanation of why "standing on line" seems preferable to "standing in line" in the US northeast. I imagine ...
21
votes
3answers
70k views

Should I write “that being said” (vs. “that's been said” or “Having said that”)?

I often write what "sounds" right (being not a native English speaker/writer), and I believe the expression "that being said" to be fairly common, as opposed to a more complete form like "that's been ...