Idioms are a group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words.

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11
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13answers
6k views

What does “from hunger” mean?

What is the meaning of the phrase "from hunger", as in, "This xyz is from hunger"? From the context I found it in, it appears to mean either very good, or very bad, but it's hard to tell which. The ...
5
votes
2answers
5k views

“Up to” vs “up to it”

What does the phrase up to mean in the following? That sketchy character is up to something. That sneak is up to no good. How does that differ from up to it in the following? I'm sick, ...
17
votes
4answers
11k views

Answering the question: Do you mind if…?

The following always puzzles me as a non-native speaker. When somebody asks the question "Do you mind if...", there seem to be two possible responses. "Sure" and "No, not at all", which both mean ...
5
votes
3answers
7k views

How should “Home sweet home” be punctuated?

A quick survey of the internet reveals many instances of "home sweet home", no punctuation. But doesn't "home, sweet home" make the most sense?
2
votes
5answers
2k views

What does the expression “body shop” mean?

I recently encountered the expression "the man in the body shop", and I have absolutely no idea what it means. All help is welcome.
7
votes
4answers
1k views

How can I learn to get collocations right?

I read an article about collocation which includes an example: We can say highly sophisticated, and we can say extremely happy. highly happy and extremely sophisticated would be wrong. How can I ...
7
votes
3answers
47k views

“Intents and purposes” versus “intensive purposes”

I know that "for all intents and purposes" is the correct saying, but I often hear/see people say/write "for all intensive purposes". I was under the impression that the latter is completely ...
2
votes
7answers
619 views

“Aaron is a genius boy”

I wonder whether can we call someone a genius boy? I've been using this term to describe my cousin until someone told me that the correct usage should be boy genius. The question is: Can we say Aaron ...
33
votes
5answers
2k views

Terms for collections of animals

As I watched the murder of crows sitting on the line above my house this evening, I got wondering where all of the collective nouns for animals (pod of whales, gaggle of geese, pride of lions) came ...
11
votes
3answers
49k views

“Differ to”, “differ with” or “differ from”

In what ways are differ to, differ with and differ from different? Providing examples would be really appreciated.
9
votes
7answers
9k views

“Without reason” or “Without reasons”?

Do we say "Without reason" or "Without reasons"? (e.g. She started laughing without (apparent) reason(s).). Is "reason" countable or not? Can we ever use a plural noun after "without"?
6
votes
4answers
576 views

Is domain-specific meaning acceptable/advisable when used in a document directed outside the domain?

Here's the problem. Many common terms in the programmer's lexicon--i.e., used in information communication and in published texts--are identical to everyday words; others are slight 'distortions' of ...
12
votes
4answers
8k views

Difference between “due to” and “thanks to”

When should "due to" be preferred over "thanks to", and vice versa? When can they be used interchangeably?
3
votes
4answers
7k views

What is the meaning of the phrase “a man of the world”?

The name of one of the Ernest Hemingway's short stories is "A man of the world". It seems to me that I understand the meaning of this phrase out from the context of the short story. But all the same ...
10
votes
11answers
92k views

Is there a more modern way to say “it's a pity”?

Is it okay nowadays to use the phrase "it's a pity" in the everyday conversation in the contexts like in following example: "Please how do I get to airport?" "It's a pity, I don't know." If ...
19
votes
3answers
4k views

How should I end sentences with a URL as the last word?

For example, The website I was referring to is hosted at http://english.stackexchange.com. How should I place the fullstop at the end?
44
votes
6answers
24k views

Where does the phrase “dry run” come from?

I've heard the phrase "dry run" being used with the meaning of rehearsal, experiment or test exercise in various contexts. For example: They did a dry run of the demonstration before showing it to ...
9
votes
3answers
5k views

“Pretty” as an adverb

How correct/common/proper is "pretty" as an adverb? It is hard for me to see, since it's my native dialect, but I say "pretty often" pretty often, and "fairly often" fairly rarely. Does "pretty" mark ...
8
votes
2answers
17k views

What alternative would you suggest to “in/with regard(s?) to”?

I see in many of the "corporate emails" I receive the expression: "in regard to". Sometimes, it is also written "in regards to". First, to be sure: "in regards to" (with an extra 's') is ...
34
votes
2answers
20k views

What does the phrase “Begging the question” mean?

What does the phrase "begging the question" really mean? And does it even matter if I use it correctly? Almost everyone just uses it as a synonym for "posing the question" these days.
16
votes
5answers
31k views

Which is correct: “standing on line” or “standing in line”?

I'm curious to hear from folks in the the Northeast United States (or anyone, really) an explanation of why "standing on line" seems preferable to "standing in line" in the US northeast. I imagine ...
6
votes
3answers
29k views

I thought “spare me with …” means “don't bother me with the details of …”. Does it?

But according to my friend I am wrong. What do you think?
30
votes
4answers
29k views

How does the phrase “used to” work, grammatically?

It is common to hear people say "used to" to indicate that they did something in the past but no longer do; for example, "I used to play basketball." How would "used to," used in that context, fit ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the correct spelling of “buyer* remorse”?

Apostrophical query: a) Buyers Remorse b) Buyer Remorse c) Buyer's Remorse d) Buyers' Remorse My guess is b or c, as it seems like any example is talking about the remorse of one specific buyer, ...