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

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“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?
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1answer
955 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 ...
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1answer
987 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 ...
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1answer
404 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
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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 ...
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1answer
101 views

“fraction of relevant instances that are retrieved”: Should it not be 'those are'?

I was reading a Wiki page which had this statement: recall is the fraction of relevant instances that are retrieved Shouldn't it be the following? recall is the fraction of relevant ...
4
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3answers
6k views

To Break Bread — the origin of the phrase

I am looking for the origin of the phrase "break bread" meaning to eat (or, I expect, to share food). I know that it can be sourced to the book of Acts but I have also seen many websites which say ...
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3answers
2k views

“in a word” vs “in a sentence”

In a word, you are wrong! In a sentence, you are wrong! Which is more natural? I feel "in a word" is more common than "in a sentence", but "you are wrong!" consists of three words rather than "...
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7answers
7k views

What's the English equivalent for the French expression “veille technologique”?

In French, the expression veille technologique means the act of following the current trends in technology. Is there such a phrase in English? I can only think of expressions like keeping up to date ...
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3answers
12k views

What is “a canary in a coal mine”? [closed]

I've found that expression on a website, and I don't understand it. At first I thought it was because the canary is yellow and the coal black... but it doesn't make much sense.
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2answers
1k views

“everybody sing” vs “everybody sings”

I have been told 'everybody' is singular. However, there was a film named "Everybody Sing". What are the differences between "everybody sing" and "everybody sings"? Which is correct? the former, the ...
0
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2answers
493 views

What's the meaning of “troop on”?

What's the meaning of troop on in this comment? Troop on, brotato. Get well soon. The comment was made in response to someone who's suddenly gotten really sick and has to stay in the hospital. ...
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2answers
823 views

Polite Compliments

Is a "polite compliment" necessarily a redundant statement when used in a group of people as opposed to a one-to-one situation?
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3answers
6k views

What does “have nothing on someone” mean here?

From what I know "have something from someone" means to know secret or damaging knowledge about someone, I was reading this article on espn.com and it is an excerpt from that article Carl Pavano ...
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2answers
2k views

What does the expression “as bad as it is” mean?

What does the expression "as bad as it is" mean? Does it mean on top of that for e.g. as bad something (accident or something like that) is, something similarly bad? I have been sick all week. As ...
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3answers
521 views

Is the use of “-based” ending acceptable for two words expression?

When describing something as being based on a major element, one can use the "-based" ending. How does it work when the major element is an expression formed by two words, such as body tracking? Is ...
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3answers
2k views

What does “Stumble into the buzzsaw” mean? Is it a popular idiom?

I came across the expression “stumble into the buzzsaw” in the article titled “House Republican open to gun restriction” appearing in Time magazine January 11 issue. The article begins with the ...
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5answers
12k views

What is the origin of idiom “Keep your hair on”?

I had a conversation with a coworker and he told me to keep my hair on. My first understanding of the idiom was that he will do something so fast that, if I was wearing a wig or something it will fly ...
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1answer
4k views

“What say we [suggestion (verb phrase)]”

I would like to understand the history of the modern expression “what say we” followed immediately by a verb phrase, used to make a suggestion and common in informal speech, as attested at Oxford ...
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11answers
916 views

Equivalent of sarcastic song “non ti preoccupare, l'importante è partecipare” among Italian football supporters

Is there an equivalent in English or American sports culture of the sarcastic song that originated among Italian football supporters, that they sing to the losing opposition team? It's like this: [...
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1answer
3k views

Why do people use “Lady Wife” to refer to their wife?

I was listening to a play on the radio this afternoon and one of the characters was told to go home to their lady wife. I've heard the term on numerous occasions, and until I started reading this ...
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2answers
944 views

What is the meaning of “get as far as doing something”?

What is the meaning of the expression or phrase "get as far as doing something"? For example, what does it mean in this sentence? They had got as far as painting the kitchen.
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5answers
436 views

Room Temperature: Article “A” or Not?

Below, “room temperature” takes the article “a” in one case but not the other. “Temperature” seems like a countable noun, so why no article in the first case? What is the grammar that is working here? ...
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2answers
558 views

What is it called when people wrongly anticipate something and their actions eventually make it happen? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What word means “to speak something into existence”? This is probably something that economists would quickly recognize. It often happens that people would wrongly ...
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7answers
999 views

An expression for “a little thing that adds to common good”

Like recycling, some little things together make a big positive impact. What's an expression for "a little thing that adds to the common good"?
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3answers
57k views

How do you say “hands-on experience” with this technology to an interviewer?

Generally, I would tell an interviewer that I have "hands-on experience" with this technology, by which I mean that my experience in this field is very limited, but quite efficient and knowledgeable. ...
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4answers
8k views

Eggs fried/scrambled “over easy” or “over hard” — refers to the pan, the egg, or something else?

To me, "over easy" seems to refer to the pan, because I think of a pan sitting atop an easy flame. "Over hard" makes me think it refers to the egg, because the liquid becomes solid. Then again, ...
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5answers
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What is the logic of having ‘not’ in the usage, “be not above doing something”?

I came across the idiomatic usage, ‘not above doing’ in the following sentence of Jeffery Archer’s fiction, “Kane & Abel.” Allan Lloyd, a banker and Chairman of William Kane’s trust tells William’...
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4answers
5k views

Formally saying that you are laughing without euphemisms or colloquialism without referring to yourself

I want to know how one can manage to assert that they are laughing without using euphemisms or colloquialism in first person, for example in a letter, without referring to yourself, that is saying "...
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2answers
909 views

Idioms meaning to do something at great cost

What I'm looking for isn't quite the same as a Pyrrhic victory, as the action isn't necessarily done to obtain victory. Rather, it is any action that will ultimately result in the person taking said ...
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1answer
3k views

“For Heaven's Sake” or “For Heaven Sakes”?

I hear these used almost interchangeably. To me "for heaven's sake" makes sense grammatically, but is there something I'm missing?
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3answers
257 views

The camera adds ten pounds?

While trying to understand the term 'photogenic' better, I came across this Wikipedia page which mentions the expression 'the camera adds ten pounds'. With a camera, the subject is viewed through ...
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2answers
188 views

Phrase for the construction “a, b, c, and d” [closed]

I'm looking for a concise phrase for the sentence construction "a, b, c, and d". That is, a comma-separated list of things, where the last comma is either replaced or accompanied by the word "and".
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3answers
4k views

“in response to” vs “for response to”?

"I am writing in response to your mail." What does it mean by "in" in this sentence? Is "I am writing for response to your mail." acceptable?
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20answers
5k views

Are there popular English sayings to express “Big fuss, tiny result”?

The recent EL&U question asked by Mikhail about the alternative expressions of ‘To shoot out of cannon into sparrows’ reminded me of Japanese saying - 大山鳴動鼠一匹- literally meaning people find (get) “...
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3answers
1k views

I need an expression or a different group of words for "long list of reasons I am unworthy/ a failure [closed]

I'm looking for another way to say: I couldn't help but ponder the long list of reasons I am unworthy/ a failure.
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2answers
728 views

Word for “credit stealer”

While reading the novel "One night at call center", I came across this: He's such a loser who steals credit of others. Viroom, we must teach a lesson to this credit stealer. Now, I just want ...
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5answers
760 views

What's the word for something that's too direct and plain rather than poetic?

When someone writes poetry that's almost like plain English sentences, what may we call that? Consider this, for example. This is an example of that plain, stated as it is, poetry (completely made up)...
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2answers
7k views

Meaning of “has its roots in”

The Movement has its roots in combating colonialism. What does the expression has its roots in mean? Does it indicate a reason or a time? That is, was the Movement started to combat colonialism or ...
2
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3answers
6k views

What does the expression “to add another dimension to the situation” mean?

Does the expression "to add another dimension to the situation" imply that the situation has become more complex? In Arabic we would say something like "adds another dimension to the situation that ...
4
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2answers
831 views

Expression for the way of dressing to avoid attention

What is a word or phrase to describe the way you're dressing or dressing in a way to avoid/not attract attention to yourself? For example, a celebrity going out in public would want to dress in a way(...
2
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3answers
902 views

Is 'I had it sent him' an appropriate sentence?

(1) I had it sent to him. (2) I had it sent him. I thought the first one is right, and the second is wrong. Yet Google Books has the second example’s graph. Is the second also an appropriate ...
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6answers
1k views

Expression similar to 'freak out'

For usage like this: I freaked out when I saw that file was not there. Every time I talk to him, he freaks me out by his strange stories. What similar expressions can I use instead of '...
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4answers
3k views

What is a common English expression for when you were very tired or out of it and said something extremely stupid?

I kept thinking of "spazzing out" but that doesn't quite seem to be it. An example is when you're very tired and kind of dozing off and you say something or ask a question that is incredibly stupid ...
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2answers
35k views

Are “skill set” and “skill sets” both acceptable?

Are the phrases skill set and skill sets both correct? As I see it, set implies a single set of related skills whereas sets can be taken to mean multiple sets of skills around different ...
2
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2answers
784 views

What's the origin of the phrase “God's clean earth”, and how long has it been around? [closed]

"It isn't every day a man wakes up to discover he's a screaming bender with no more right to live on God's clean Earth than a weasel." - Dr. Leech, "Blackadder II" What's the origin of that ...
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4answers
5k views

Meaning of “full of it”

This week's obituary in The Economist is devoted to Deate S. Gordon, a bilingual lady that helped to write the Japanese Constitution after the war. She produced Article 24, about equality of the sexes,...
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1answer
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Is it all right to use “in hopes of” to mean “with the aim of”?

Recently I browsed through the definition of hope in New Oxford American Dictionary (provided by Apple in the dictionary app) to double confirm with its usage as I answered a word-choice question and ...
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2answers
141 views

Does the expression “web technologies” have a euphemistic/promotional character ?

In German, I sometimes come across the expression “Webtechnologien” as a direct adoption of “web technologies”, which usually relates to software, programming, web development. I've always found the ...
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3answers
1k views

This is a question regarding punctuation, I suppose

I have a tendency to place the phrase I suppose at the end of a sentence. It sounds alright to me. But when I want to write the expression down in words, how should I write it so that I won't violate ...