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

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27 views

Is it correct to talk about a “lost age”?

Is it correct to talk about a "lost age"? In the sense of a long gone era, or a time where an extinct civilization was living for example.
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1answer
21 views

“largest of any mammal” vs. “largest of all mammals”

A: This animal is the largest of any mammal. vs. B: This animal is the largest of all mammals. What are the subtle differences between A and B?
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1answer
53 views

What are notable uses of the phrase “living hand to mouth”

I would like to use the phrase "living hand to mouth" as a title of an art piece. However, just looking for the phrase mostly results in uses where the origin is explained. What are notable uses of ...
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1answer
74 views

“To bury someone twice”

Does anyone know what the expression to bury someone twice means and where it comes from?
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1answer
49 views

How do you say it when you are extremely relying on someone or something?

I want to say "I'm at the whim of X" but it just doesn't sound right. There is another word for this but for some reason I just can't think of it.
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1answer
32 views

Gotta equivalents

I have done a bad classification of the oral use of these expressions. Been the most used 1 and the less 5. What is the most used in spoken American English? I gotta I got to I've gotta I've got ...
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4answers
4k views

Is the construction “It allows to …” proper English?

I frequently encounter phrases like this: "It allows to apply these features to customisable sets of fonts". My question is whether this is proper English or not? In my mind, "it allows the ...
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8answers
10k views

What's the verdict on “sooner than later”?

I have heard a lot of people say at work that we should do something "sooner than later." This grates against my native ear, but it seems fairly commonplace. I have always understood the expression to ...
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1answer
24 views

Why not “virtual estate” instead of “screen real estate”?

In English usage in many disciplines, like articles on Web designing, people frequently use the word "screen real estate" or "viewport (browser window size) real estate" or even "mobile or browser ...
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4answers
53 views

I need another way of saying 'does the talking' [on hold]

I'm coming up with a tagline for my business – 'Where flavour does the talking'. I'm basically trying to get across the idea that flavour is the main focus. Any ideas?
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3answers
510 views

Difference Between “Plot” and “Storyline”

What is the difference in story writing between a "plot," and a "storyline"? Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (11th Edition) says a "story line" is "the plot of a story or drama," and Collin's ...
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2answers
4k views

– at scale – definition?

Whats does the expression at scale mean? Does it mean "on a larger scale" or it means "at a level appropriate to the what's available"? I came up with these two definitions by looking the ...
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0answers
36 views

the meaning of this 'knew' [on hold]

“Who was Miss Jennie?” “She was an angel straight out of Heaven,” breathed the man, fervently; “but the old master and missus knew her as their oldest daughter. She was twenty when she married ...
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3answers
111 views

How to specify one had the topmost GPA during his education?

I am writing a CV and I want to specify that I had the best GPA among all of the students. What is the best way to write such a thing in north america? Does 'Bachelor with first class honor' work? How ...
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1answer
81 views

Dull as ditchwater (not dishwater) … specific questions thereon

(1) who specifically, or at least when specifically, did originate the phrase? {Example answer - "that was one of Shakespeare's!"} (2) why? (3) when first did someone screw up and use ...
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1answer
50 views

Idiom/expression for “responsible for what happened.”

Example: I doubt the kids are responsible for what happened. What idiom/expression can I use to replace the responsible for what happened part? Something that isn't as straight forward as the ...
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12answers
9k views

How do I politely say I have used my mouth while drinking water from a bottle?

Is there a one word substitute for the scenario below, and what is the politest way of saying it to another person or colleague? I drink water from my bottle by touching my mouth When someone ...
4
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2answers
751 views

Is “with respect to” wrong?

My English professor suggested yesterday that the expression "with respect to", despite being frequently used is simply wrong. He said that one should rather use "in respect of", which in turn is not ...
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5answers
4k views

What is the origin of the phrase “beyond the pale”?

What's the origin of the phrase 'beyond the pale'?
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2answers
1k 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
31 views

On the right path?

Suppose someone is trying to solve some math problem and he has the right idea to attack it, but still need more time to figure out details. When I want to encourage him, should I use "You are on the ...
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1answer
60 views

Why a u-turn instead of an “n-turn”?

I'm sure we all know what a "u-turn" is. However, people seem to go from the top of the U. Wouldn't an "n-turn" make more sense, because driving logistics force you to go in more the shape of a ...
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2answers
61 views

What is the most appropriate opposite of “Select All”?

Is it more appropriate to use "Deselect All" or "Select None" or some other phrase to indicate the opposite of "Select All"? Context: A toggle button in a piece of software that will select all items ...
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2answers
61 views

use of “not on purpose”

I was told that "not on purpose" cannot be used in the middle of a sentence. For example: I was showering and, not on purpose, I participated in the #icebucketchallenge. I am aware of the fact ...
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0answers
39 views

Alternative expression required [closed]

What is an alternative expression to "Keeping the lights on"
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1answer
74 views

Where did the phrase “drop the hammer” come from?

Where did the phrase "drop the hammer" come from? It's what you do when you start to go balls to the wall. I've only heard it rowing.
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0answers
27 views

Use of the word “definitive edition”

Can I use the phrase "definitive edition" to explain that a product has the most up-to-date and highest quality in the field as opposite to mean "last edition of the same series"? Thank you for your ...
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3answers
114 views

A word or expression that means somebody's name is not “real”

I'm interviewing someone and he doesn't want his real name showing up, so how could I rephrase the following sentence? We hide his real name under the name Luke.
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3answers
113 views

Meaning of expression “take contingency on someone”

What exactly does a phrase 'we need to take contingency on them' mean? This is an expression I heard from a project manager so I presume it has to do smth with risk mitigation. However, I'd rather not ...
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3answers
177 views

How to distinguish between “however” and “whenever”?

I have this sentence: Even if it takes forever, I am going to speak English like a native. What I want to know is whether the first part of the sentence would be better replaced by whenever or ...
4
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2answers
2k views

What's the meaning of the expression “The take home is …”?

There is one expression I came across recently - 'The take home is ...'. The full sentence was “The take home is that regular use of caffeine produces no benefit to alertness, energy, or function”. ...
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2answers
656 views

Origin of the expression “landed in a tub of butter” (meaning lucky)?

I've heard a friend say "he says he was so lucky, it's like he sat his ass in a butter tub" a few times. Even though I'm from the same area (northeast USA) as the speaker, the expression wasn't ...
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4answers
135 views

Expressions to describe having immediately understood someone's personality

What words could I use to describe the event of having successfully and completely "read" or understood someone's personality, upon first meeting that someone?
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2answers
77 views

What's the accurate meaning of “forget yourself”?

I was looking for a translation of the German expression "bevor ich mich vergesse" (lit. before I forget myself) and looked up if the literal translation could be used. In German this expression ...
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2answers
107 views

that feeling where you feel like you need to do something but can't remember what it is

You know when you feel like you need to do something but you can't remember what it is? You almost feel a little anxious because you can't remember what you were going to do / what you need to do. ...
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2answers
938 views

Word for when two people type the same thing at the same time in chat

I have the distinct feeling there's a word often used when two people type the same thing at the same time in Internet chat contexts. Not necessarily exactly the same words, but closely related. ...
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4answers
25k views

The expression “hands down.”

How did the expression "hands down" come to mean "without a doubt?"
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3answers
80 views

Portuguese native speaker

In order to be clear enough, I would say that I am a "European Portuguese native speaker" rather than a "Portuguese native speaker". - As a translator, I am expected to let potential clients know my ...
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2answers
88 views

Is there a business phrase for whack-a-mole?

In my company, I've been asked to generate reports about accounts (for example) that have abnormal traits (less than 1%, for example). They want to know where these abnormal cases are so they can go ...
3
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3answers
1k views

Unclear use of the word “our”

When we say "Our team worked hard", then is it expected to refer the speaker + his own team OR the speaker + listener + their team together? Because in both these cases OUR is common word to be used! ...
4
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1answer
39 views

Use of “Drop me a line” [duplicate]

One person with whom I've emailed before said to "drop me [them] a line". I always thought the intention of this phrase is to call the person, specifically by phone (via telephone line). It seems this ...
4
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4answers
982 views

What is the difference between complacency and condescension?

Sometimes I get confused between complacency and condescension, thinking they are the same thing. I am trying to understand the difference. Both seem to be attributes of a person who is more ...
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1answer
92 views

How would a king have phrased “I need to use the bathroom”? [closed]

With literary or historical references, what phrase would an English-speaking monarch have used to indicate to either their attendants or to their court that they were in need of using the toilet ...
6
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8answers
443 views

Is there an English (British or American) expression or idiom that refers to a recluse finally socializing

In Icelandic, there is an expression "að viðra sig", using the analogy of clothes that smell of closet and the act of taking them outside to get some of that old smell out of them, that is used to ...
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0answers
25 views

'Given by' vs 'Given with'

Is this sentence correct? The equation of a line is given with [SOME EQUATION] ... I want to use it instead of: The equation of a line is given by [SOME EQUATION] ... Can I use 'with' ...
2
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1answer
168 views

“at the time” and “at that time” usage and differences

Are the expressions "at the time" and "at that time" interchangeable? What are the differences between the two? How do use them?
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5answers
106 views

Expression for 'One who cares about one's social rank'

What is a word or expression for someone who cares about what social rank they're in. Someone who wants to have money, something similar to ambitious? Vain is not the word I'm looking for.
2
votes
2answers
40 views

A similie / metaphor for the concept that an entity is formed from a wide range of factors

I would really appreciate any help with the following. I am trying to explain that health is not simply determined by biological factors. Instead it is shaped by a whole host of variables: ...
1
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1answer
77 views

“In my younger years, early days, early years, and earlier years”?

I just wanted to express the period from when I was born to my recent days until I realized something. I initially put "in my earlier years." Then I wasn't sure if the meaning of the phrase that I ...
0
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4answers
75 views

Expression for 'One who likes expensive stuff, luxuries, but lacks appreciation?'

What would be an expression for: Someone who wants expensive stuff; someone who wants luxuries, and who lacks in appreciation.