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

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What are “up” and “down” in “up there” and “down there”?

"Up there" and "down there" are two of the most frequent expressions that I, myself, use often. I really don't know whether they are just expressions used to refer to a place to go ("I went down ...
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1answer
1k views

Why does 'dead on' mean 'very accurate'? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Where does the phrase “dead simple” originate? According to Wiktionary, the phrase 'dead on' means 'very accurate' or 'exactly at'. This is also how I have used the ...
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3answers
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What does it mean to “start from scratch”?

This question speaks to the "start from the beginning" meaning, but in yesterday's USA Today, there was a headline about Obama and Romney starting from scratch because they were even in a poll. Have ...
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4answers
3k views

What is the meaning of the expression “we have a ball game”? [closed]

I've heard the phrase, "We gotta ball game". It could also be "We have a ball game". But I don't understand the meaning of "having a ball game". If anyone has heard this expression before, please ...
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2answers
5k views

“All but convinced” as a way of saying that one is, in fact, convinced? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “All but” idiom has two meanings? It seems kind of counterintuitive, but saying that: I'm all but convinced that ponies eat leprechauns. means ...
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3answers
18k views

“I think …” or “In my opinion…” or “From my point of view…”

If I want to express my opinion about something, what's the most correct form? What are the differences? What is more formal and what more colloquial? For example, in Italian, nobody says In my ...
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2answers
107 views

What does the expression “Word.” mean? [duplicate]

I was watching the 1989 movie "Bill and Ted's excellent adventure" a couple of weeks back and in one scene Bill replies to some statement (I forgot whom he is replying to) with just "Word." What does ...
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3answers
743 views

Origins and meaning of “Put your money where your mouth is”

I heard this phrase uttered by a Canadian (from Vancouver) once; it left me in awe and elicited my curiosity. Wikipedia was not helpful. What is its origin? Is this expression used more in certain ...
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1answer
180 views

Is there a difference between “Wrong or Right” and “Right or Wrong”

I was writing about the difference between morals and ethics when i wrote the following line both these terms talk about the right and wrong conduct of people both these terms talk about the ...
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1answer
98 views

Why does pine feather period signify the period in a woman's life when she blossoms?

In a book titled From Flappers to Rappers it lists youth slang from the 1920s and one of the terms it lists is pine feather period. Pine feather period is defined as a period in a woman's life when ...
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2answers
3k views

“No A or B” vs. “Neither A nor B”

I wrote "No error or issue since 2013". I feel this is natural when I say so. But, in written English, because of the first "No", I wonder the "or" should be changed to "nor". Or, maybe "Neither error ...
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1answer
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Going to the seaside and going to the sea

The British say "go to the seaside" (meaning I'm going to spend some time at the beach, swim, sunbathe etc.) It's like "going to the mountains" or "going to the lake." However, I once heard an Aussie ...
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2answers
96 views

How to call the two points at each end of a path?

By "path" I mean a route that has been walked by. The best I could come out with is starting point and ending point. Is there a shorter way to refer to them? (Maybe end points?)
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2answers
296 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?
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3answers
980 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 ...
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3answers
910 views

“Listen to music” or “listen for music”

Which of the following sentences is grammatically correct? The music for which we heard last night at the concert was exceptionally good. The music to which we listened at the concert last night ...
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3answers
12k views

Meaning of “if anything” [closed]

I watch the TV series Glee to learn English and came across the phrase if anything. It's in a sentence Rachel said. If anything, she is gonna kill all of our chances to achieve that elusive ...
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1answer
2k views

Does the term “garbledy gook” have racist origins?

For me, the term garbledy gook simply means garbage; unintelligible text or speech. An example usage would be: If you open that binary file in notepad, you'll just see a load of garbledy gook ...
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1answer
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“It's working for me”: correct? [closed]

This question came to my mind, while working with StackOverflow. Whenever a solution to a question is posted, I usually see people writing: "It's working for me". I somehow do not like this ...
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3answers
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Horse of a different color

I recently heard someone use the expression "Now that's a whole different bag of dog food". While highly unusualy, the meaning was well understood by the audience. I know there is an actual ...
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1answer
101 views

The condition for saying “You’re the door on the right.” etc. and its construction

This question is a spin-off from “Is you’re the door on the right. grammatically correct?” . After the original question, some ideas came to me, about its conditions and construction. I opened this ...
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4answers
473 views

Is there a word or expression to call someone who easily gives credit, especially to insignificant efforts? [closed]

A common example would be a professor who is too mild in his marking of a poor assignments. Another example could be someone who doesn't add or say much with his words, but still receives a lot of ...
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8answers
175 views

Is there a word or expression for someone who takes an over-optimistic view of things?

Someone who takes an over-optimistic view of himself, his own country and all other things that have meaning/value to him. And who doesn't see or admit the smaller, yet not insignificant, things. E.g. ...
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1answer
815 views

Has the meaning to the question “Do you mind” changed ?

When a person asks "Do you mind if I ..." The response now days seems to be "Yes ..sure go ahead" which to me means they DO mind.. I hear this constantly on TV and in the work place, it just seems ...
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3answers
104 views

What does “tearing your résumé apart in a way” mean?

I asked a résumé checker to check my résumé and she gave me the following answer: When you look at the below list of issues, you'll probably think I'm tearing your resume apart. I guess I am, in a ...
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2answers
937 views

What does 'A small medium at large' phrase means? [closed]

Just received this joke: Q: What do you call a midget fortuneteller on the run from the law? A: A small medium at large. the 'Q' I understood. It's a runaway psychic gnome. But what does A ...
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1answer
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How to spell 'ewww' as in 'ewww ahhh' [closed]

I was wondering how I should spell 'ewww' as in 'ewww ahhh': Bob showed Jill his most impressive set of magic cards. Jill, impressed, said, 'ewwww[sp?] ahhhhhh.' ...
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1answer
456 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 ...
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1answer
608 views

Meaning of 'That old rocking chair's going to get me' [closed]

In the Joni Mitchell song Stormy Weather, there's this line: That old rocking chair's going to get me What does that mean? I suppose that old rocking chair is a symbol of something, but what? ...
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3answers
1k views

What does “cup” mean in “cup of cheese”? [closed]

I was reading a recipe of macaroni-and-cheese. In Brazil (Portuguese) cheese is sold only by weight. I understand the concept of cups to measure volume or weight of liquids and powders, but as far as ...
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2answers
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Substitute for “The thought came to my mind” [closed]

I want a substitute for the sentence "The thought came to my mind". It should be a slightly formal substitute as I am writing a formal letter. Can someone help me with that?
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1answer
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phrases where opposite words can be used to mean the same thing [closed]

For example "1 in 20 Americans suffer from..." and "1 out of 20 Americans suffer from..." "it is down to you" and "it is up to you" They seem like great ways to add to creative writing. Are there ...
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1answer
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“to what extent” vs. “to what level” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “to a degree” vs. “to an extent” What's the difference between "to what extent" and "to what level"? Please support your answer with examples.
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How about 'play cute' or 'play adorable'?

I wonder if 'play cute' or 'play adorable' is frequently used to stand for 'act cute/adorable' in spoken language. It seems easier to google out 'act cute/adorable' instead of 'play cute/adorable'.
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8answers
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Which one is correct? “A teacher of English” or “An English teacher”? [closed]

I want to know which is correct teacher of English or English teacher.
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4answers
418 views

A phrase to describe a “collection of false exaggerations”

I am looking for a phrase to describe a "collection of false exaggerations", something that can fit well in the following line: I am really shocked to see this, it seems that everything you told ...
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3answers
131 views

squeezed every drop of meaning and enjoyment? [closed]

I'd like to know what 'squeeze every drop of meaning and enjoyment' means in the following. B is said to be a more specific version of A, but I suspect that 'squeeze every drop of meaning' is not a ...