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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (5)

2
votes
6answers
334 views

What is an elegant way to refer to a figure displaying an algorithm?

I'm currently writing my PhD thesis in computer science and often need to refer to algorithms, which are depicted in figures as shown below. So far, I used phrases such as Algorithm X shows / ...
1
vote
1answer
5k views

How does the expression “Not half bad” hold its meaning? [closed]

I'm interested in the phrase 'not half bad', which, like 'cheap at half the price' actually means the opposite of what the user is generally trying to say. The term 'not half!' is commonly used to ...
-2
votes
1answer
74 views

What “All of is” means? [closed]

Question: Who wrote this music? Answer: All of is. I don't get it. Can someone help me here? Thanks.
6
votes
6answers
119k views

Is x plotted against y or is y plotted against x?

Given a diagram where the x axis is the horizontal one and the y axis is the vertical one. Which of these alternatives are the right and or best way of writing it: plotting x against y plotting y ...
1
vote
2answers
377 views

Can I say “he lost his brave face”?

"Put on a brave face" is to express that someone try to hide it's feeling and pretend to be alright. What if someone tries but fails, can I say, "He lost his brave face after that"? Or what would be ...
2
votes
1answer
5k views

Which abbreviation for the world wars is more correct; WWI or WW1?

At my daughter's school, there is an exercise in general knowledge; this term's is about " The World Wars". The question posed is which abbreviation is correct, the first with Roman numerals or the ...
2
votes
1answer
356 views

English equivalent for a Portuguese saying on “bad company”

In Brazilian Portuguese, we have: "The bird who goes around with a bat wakes up hanging upside down" Original: "Passarinho que anda com morcego amanhece de cabeça pra baixo" The literal meaning ...
2
votes
0answers
202 views

Swapping the order in an idiomatic expression [closed]

I may have sounded general in the title but my question is very specific. Recently I was writing a poem and I needed it to rhyme this way Some will stand to watch you go down quick But no one ...
4
votes
3answers
955 views

“Do you live around here or ride a bicycle?”

My grandpa used to ask "Do you live around here or ride a bicycle?" fairly often, finding it hilarious (him and only him). While it is quite an awkward, malformed piece of logic, what is its source? ...
1
vote
2answers
602 views

Meaning of 'I don't swing at soft balls'

In an episode of Cougar Town, I noticed one of the characters told her friend 'I don't swing at soft balls'. First I thought it was an idiom, but I couldn't find it anywhere when I started looking it ...
-2
votes
2answers
2k views

Does “within the same day” make sense? [closed]

Does the expression "within the same day" make sense? I want to say something like "if I go today, I can't come back within the same day," or "I if I get banned from a forum, I can't log in within the ...
7
votes
3answers
14k views

“expecting a baby”

Can I say "we are expecting a baby" when my wife is pregnant or does that sound funny to native English speakers, saying it as a man? (In German, the phrase has become somewhat common, but it stills ...
1
vote
9answers
20k views

What is a word that means “created out of nothing”

I am writing an article and I am having trouble finding a word for "to create out of nothing." The following are slightly different forms to show you the general 'feel' of the word that I am looking ...
0
votes
1answer
117 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
25k views

wishing a happy week

As a non-native English speaker, I have a question: Can I write (and say) "Happy week everyone" to wish a good/happy week? Is there any more common English expression in everyday conversations?
0
votes
5answers
11k views

“See you in the funny papers”: etymology and meaning

I've heard people saying that "See you in the funny papers" means "I'll see you later," as in "Good Bye," but I always thought that it means "Good bye," as in "I'll never see you again." I thought ...
4
votes
3answers
23k views

What is the meaning of “six ways from Sunday”? [closed]

This is a line from the book Test Driven Development by Kent Beck: Fortunately, we are well rested and relaxed and unlikely to make mistakes, which is why we will go in teeny-tiny steps, ...
2
votes
2answers
599 views

Ways to say “trying hard to arrange enough time to do something”?

Suppose I am doing several things assigned by different people these days. One of the people feels that my progress on doing his assignment is slow, maybe because I am not interested in doing it. ...
-2
votes
2answers
343 views

Is there a formal version of “he's the real thing”? [closed]

Is there a formal version of "he's the real thing"? As in: Man, she's really good at tennis! She plays national. She's the real thing.
3
votes
3answers
710 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 ...
15
votes
4answers
17k views

Does English use “red thread” as expression for theme?

In Swedish the expression "röd tråd" (literally "red thread") is used to describe that something follows a theme. For instance, if a piece of text has a "red thread", it's written with a consistent ...
9
votes
5answers
4k views

Original Meaning and Derivation of “Ever and Anon”

A question posted today asks about the Use of “ever” in non-negated sentence, and one answer happens to mention the phrase "ever and anon." That phrase, with the meaning "occasionally or repeatedly," ...
1
vote
3answers
386 views

Is it correct to say “that place is like 5 miles from here”? [duplicate]

Is it correct to say "that place is like 5 miles from here"? I'm not sure if the use of "like" is correct?
-1
votes
4answers
1k views

What is one word for - endlessly spread in all directions?

What is one word for - endlessly spread in all directions? It may be in context of a forest.
1
vote
4answers
6k views

What is the proper phrase for being in one's official limits, probably when quoting something?

While quoting something, the consideration of the fact that it does not offend the sentiments of a community or culture one belongs to. How do we ask that in one sentence e.g Did I remain in my limits/...
5
votes
3answers
282 views

What does “As for Romney, the G.O.P. is over him” mean?

New Yorker (March 4) carries the article titled “Ann and Mitt Romney’s lost fairy tale” portraying an interview of Mr. and Mrs. Mitt Romney by Chris Wallace on Fox News on Sunday, which ends up with ...
0
votes
2answers
1k views

Was “their being followed” replaced by “they're being followed” over the years?

I was reading A Study in Scarlet yesterday and noticed the following sentence: They must have thought that there was some chance of their being followed, for they would never go out alone, and ...
1
vote
1answer
5k views

What is the connection between motherhood and apple pie?

I know the idiom motherhood and apple pie is used to denote some principles with which few disagree. But what is the connection between motherhood and apple pie? I am not very familiar with American ...
1
vote
2answers
579 views

What is the connotation or meaning of “exclusive thinking”?

How should I interpret the expression "exclusive thinking"? The expression "exclusive thinking" is one I've seen in criticism against some views or opinions that are called "exclusive thinking". Is ...
4
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
412 views

What is the meaning of “greasing the pan”?

In a tutorial, the instructor says: We've greased the pan, now it's time to pour in the batter. The tutorial is technical (IT), and has nothing to do with cooking, so what is the meaning of the ...
4
votes
4answers
180 views

Expression choice for the error of being too exact? [closed]

For example, stating a street address with millimetric precision would be too exact and is therefore not applicable and not done. So you can be too exact. Is there an expression for this error or a ...
0
votes
1answer
1k views

Under which cases should an article (a/an/the) not be used? [duplicate]

The current machine has been repaired. Current machine has been repaired. Which is more natural? What are the subtle differences between them? Under which cases should an article (a/an/the) ...
4
votes
2answers
4k views

Are “unestimated” and/or “non-estimated” correct English?

When something is not estimated, is it correct to say that it is unestimated or non-estimated? For example, in certain project management techniques, tasks can be "estimated" which means one or more ...
0
votes
1answer
2k views

“manieth”, is it acknowledged? [duplicate]

I believed that there is no question word in English for making a question when you want know the X in sentences like "Barack Obama is the Xth president of the US.". *Question words are words like "...
4
votes
4answers
692 views

How do you describe this trait/behaviour?

I'm trying to describe this personality trait/behaviour that someone demonstrates. Consider this situation; while a group of colleagues hangs out at a bar, someone suddenly suggests a lottery group ...
1
vote
2answers
664 views

“number of books” or “book count”?

The number of books is nine. The book count is nine. Which is more natural? What's the SUBTLE difference between them?
6
votes
3answers
8k views

“integer multiple” vs. “integral multiple”

Nine is an integer multiple of three. Nine is an integral multiple of three. Which is more common? If both are accepted, what's the subtle difference between them?
1
vote
3answers
3k views

Word expression to say “Stopped smoking” or “got rid of some unhealthy habit”

I'm looking for words ( or word groups) that can be used to say "I stopped smoking", or "I stopped taking drugs" or, in other words, "I got rid of some bad and unhealthy habit". I have found "...
4
votes
1answer
10k views

“How did you know?” vs. “how do you know?” distinction

When someone makes an assertion, the distinction between "how did you know" and "how do you know" seems to be that "how did you know" implies that the person in question is correct in their assertion. ...
0
votes
1answer
494 views

Can I say “He recommended you much”

I need to mark that someone made some effort to recommend third person services and it was something more than "he is good in that". Checking a dictionary, much is an adverb meaning "to a great ...
-1
votes
2answers
615 views

The Present Perfect vs The Past Tense in English [closed]

Would you agree that the present perfect is used more than the past tense by native speakers to emphasize the situation at hand? Some languages, like Arabic and Japanese, use the simple past much more....
8
votes
3answers
9k views

Where does the phrase of “boredom punctuated by moments of terror” come from?

I have often seen war described as "interminable boredom punctuated by moments of terror," or some variant thereof. More recently, it seems that I have been hearing this phrase used to describe other ...
4
votes
2answers
224 views

How does one refer to people who use online handles? [duplicate]

I know this more in line with Etiquette (which is only a proposal), but it's been bugging me for a while, and I'd like some clarification. When referring to others on this site (and many others, ...
3
votes
2answers
14k views

Can “the least I could do” be negative? [closed]

A common answer to being thanked for doing something is "It's the least I could do," which by my understanding is basically synonymous with "It was nothing". Recently I received a gift as thanks for ...
2
votes
2answers
673 views

“Hitler will send no warning” vs “Hitler won't send warnings”

As in this WWII poster: Are they the same thing, or are there differences in expression? Why do native speakers choose the first one?
0
votes
1answer
952 views

Origin of the expression “Good governor.”

In Season 3, episode 2 of the sitcom Modern Family, Phil uses the expression "Good governor" to express his incredulity when he realizes that his wife has an obsession about proving she is always ...
0
votes
1answer
980 views

What is the saying to express a certain situation? It is like, you will find nails everywhere when you have got a hammer [closed]

I am looking for a saying to express a situation that one is apt to apply anything instantly when it is at hand. I do not remember the saying. It seems to be that 'you will find nails everywhere when ...
0
votes
1answer
402 views

“With a crack like a whip” — common expression or not?

With a crack like a whip, Dobby vanished. I'm studying English using the Harry Potter books. I can't seem to find this expression in any dictionary, however. Google returns no results at all (...
2
votes
1answer
481 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 ...