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

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2k views

What does “Nine Below Zero” mean?

There is a Blues Standard "Nine Below Zero" and I wonder what the phrase means. The chorus is Nine Below Zero, she put me down for another And it would also be super interesting where this ...
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1answer
125 views

How to Reply That PASSPORT NUMBER is not in my remembrance at the moment [closed]

If somebody called me over phone and asked to give your Passport number / Pan card / Roll number something. If it is not in my remembrance , how can I apologies in best way for this ? NOTE -Please do ...
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1answer
33k views

“Would have” and “would have no”

Could you describe about "would have ~ed" & "would have not ~ed". I know would has the several meanings. But when I was talking with one of my friend who is a native speaker and in this following ...
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1answer
543 views

The correct word for adoption of a law by the National Assembly?

Since I am not a native English speaker I am not sure what word should I use for adoption of a law. The closest to my language is "adoption", but "promulgate", "enact" or some other word may be more ...
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2answers
341 views

How different is “he is a voice of reason awakening the public” from “he has a voice of reason awakening the public”?

In association with the question on Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Senator Rand Paul in the Time Magazine article “2013 Time 100” that I posted earlier today, I have an additional question about the ...
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4answers
2k views

What is the clearest way to describe two “kitty-corner” buildings?

How can I explain the relationship of building A to building B where building A is, e.g., on the NW corner of an intersection, and building B is on the SE corner? Which of the following (if any) is ...
2
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1answer
324 views

Meaning of “leave on a full basis”

When I was reading News of Real Madrid - Di Maria set to be released, I saw following sentence: Real Madrid management seem to have decided to let Di Maria leave on a full basis. What does this ...
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2answers
679 views

How would you say 'go round the houses' in a formal way?

I am writing a memo (quite formal) and I need to mention that the attitudes in the previous meeting were really offtopic, the team didn't focus on the important matters. Were it informal writing I ...
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2answers
19k views

Lack of it / Lack thereof

I am aware of the usage of "lack thereof", but I was wondering whether it is valid to use "lack of it". During a conversation with someone I used "lack of it" in a sentence, and she claimed that it is ...
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2answers
91 views

An expression similar to “frame of reference”

I am trying to explain a mathematical point that is used for comparison such that all values are compared to it, like a "frame of reference". I've also thought of "pivot of comparison". Are any of ...
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3answers
4k views

Is “duck and dive” only a British idiom?

I was interested in the phrase “duck and dive,” which is put in parentheses, in the following comment of a video ran by the Guardian with a caption, “Senator Marco Rubio's in-speech water break” - ...
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1answer
3k views

What is meant by the action to ‘curl up your fingers’? Is “Curl up one’s fingers” an English idiom?

I came across the phrase “His cheeks reddened as he curled up his fingers” in the scene, a six-year-old Ruthenian boy, Lubji Hoch, who later becomes one of the world’s most powerful media moguls, ...
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1answer
35k views

“in ages” vs “for ages”

I've always thought I should use "for ages" when, for example, I meet a person who I haven't seen for a long time, but recently I came across another expression, "in ages," as in "I haven't seen you ...
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1answer
653 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 ...
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1answer
838 views

Is “hold-your-nose (or close –your-eyes) - and-do sth” an English idiom or just a coinage for one-off use?

I found a phrase, “a hold-your-nose-and-roll-the-camera” in the following statement of NPR’s article (April 2) titled “From pets to plates: Why more people rre eating guinea pigs?” http://www.npr.org/...
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1answer
19k views

“Slept off”: correct or incorrect?

I have been using slept off to mean that I fell asleep. For example, I slept off early yesterday. Is that used correctly?
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2answers
764 views

“Dead on arrival”

I was listening to the song "I'll be there for you" by The Rembrandts and I realised that at the beginning they say: "Your love life's D.O.A." I used Google to search the meaning of D.O.A. and ...
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4answers
14k views

What is the origin of the phrase “hate your guts”?

Where does the phrase "hate your guts" (for example "I hate your guts") come from? I've heard the phrase used as a way to convey extreme and deep dislike of another individual. However, it seems ...
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2answers
249 views

Is there a term for a married couple who have the same christian and surname?

My wife and I share the abbreviated form of our name - Alex derived from Alexandra and Alexander respectively. As we are married, we have the same christian and surname when used in the short form. ...
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2answers
26k views

meaning and usage of “mind you”

I often come across this expression and according to dictionaries I've looked up, it can be used in several ways such as to: introduce something that should be taken into consideration add something ...
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3answers
342 views

Conventions for dates spoken without year

Today is April 4th, 2013. What is meant when someone says "May 1st"? I would assume its May 1, 2013. And "last May 1st" as May 1, 2012. As for "next May 1st", I would assume "next" is a redundancy ...
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1answer
203 views

Meaning of “the crawling of the walls” [closed]

What is the meaning of "the crawling of the walls"? I can practically feel the presence of disease: the crawling of the walls, the energy tension— like the nesting of a thousand insects.
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5answers
13k views

A more succinct expression for “The day before yesterday”

Is there a more succinct expression for "the day before yesterday"? In German for example, gestern = 'yesterday.' The prefix vor roughly means before, so logically, vorgestern means 'the day before ...
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2answers
158 views

“These are [one/ones] of the foundations…” - 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?
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3answers
397 views

What is the top of a pearl pendant called?

For example the top of the pendant in the link below: top of a pearl pendant
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1answer
1k views

comes to think of it?

Which of the expressions, "come to think of it" or "comes to think of it", grammatically correct? Or are they grammatical at all? If it is a short form of, When one comes to think of it, I would ...
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2answers
38k views

“Sites to see” or “Sights to see”?

A google search turns up results for either. The two are seemingly interchangeable. Which is it? Does one see sights or see sites?
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1answer
1k views

Is complacent a positive word or negative word?

When is complacent used in a positive or a negative sense? I always thought it was used in a negative sense, please correct me if I am wrong
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4answers
387 views

Term for means of communication

Considering such things as telephone calls {with/to/from} Raj text messages {with/to/from} Raj I want a term that includes calls, texts, emails etc. I can come up only with communications with ...
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1answer
2k views

Is it “to play a game on someone” or “play games with someone”?

I find this expression strange because it's clearly widely used, but seems sort of "unofficial", the "official" version, meaning the one described in dictionaries and grammar books, being playing ...
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6answers
337 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 / ...
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1answer
6k 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 ...
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1answer
76 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.
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6answers
121k 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 ...
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2answers
379 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 ...
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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
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1answer
365 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 ...
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0answers
204 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
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3answers
984 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? ...
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2answers
620 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 ...
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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
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3answers
15k 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 ...
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9answers
21k 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 ...
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1answer
118 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
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4answers
26k 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?
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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 ...
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3answers
24k 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, ...
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2answers
604 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. ...
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2answers
349 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.
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3answers
722 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 ...