This tag is for questions about the meaning of a longer passage of English.

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1answer
32 views

Some questions about the usage and meaning of the word “off”

These are two sentences from A Game of Thrones: Somewhere off in the wood a wolf howled. Is this "off" a preposition? What does it mean? I think it is okay in grammar if I just say "somewhere ...
2
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2answers
139 views

How to determine which definition of 'contingent'?

This quote was revealed to exemplify Definition 1, but working backwards, how would you determine the meaning of contingent? Even after seeing the context, I'm still vacillating between definitions 1 ...
0
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3answers
268 views

What does “less than unity” mean in the following context…?

It's about wind power. Here is the context : "Few topics generate more controversy than capacity credits for wind plant. The capacity credit of any power plant may be defined as a measure of the ...
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3answers
24 views

What does the author mean to say in this quote?

The following excerpt is from My Three Passions by Bertrand Russell. And I have tried to apprehend the Pythagorean power by which number holds sway over the flux. What does the author mean to ...
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2answers
32 views

Meaning of 'proverbial worm'

"An appropriate and dramatic end to a singular and yet typical case," said Thorndyke, as he put down the newspaper. "I hope it has enlarged your knowledge, Jervis, and enabled you to form one or ...
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4answers
148 views

“Your chance to dream has arrived” - National Lottery. How do you read this?

To me, that means: I can start dreaming after buying a lotto ticket. This is weird because without the lotto ticket, I can have my day-dream anyway. Shouldn't this be something like "your chance to ...
1
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2answers
75 views

Usage of “take somebody to somewhere”

As I understand, the phrase above can mean to invite someone to somewhere, then to give someone a lift/to provide transportation for someone. Do I get it right? As I am not a native speaker of English ...
12
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4answers
855 views

“This box of matches is empty”

There are several Japanese books teaching Japanese students how to write in English. I found this example in 『英作文参考書の誤りを正す』 (Correcting Errors in English Composition Manuals) by Michio Kawakami and ...
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2answers
25 views

“predicting” or “prediction of”?

What is the difference between "can be used for prediction of user behaviour" and "can be used for predicting user behaviour"? I like the second version more since it's shorter and without a ...
0
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1answer
66 views

Right meanings of 'form'?

When legal decision-makers like Justice Peckham, who are actually ... making a policy or political choice act as if there were no choice to be made—when they treat a policy choice as simply ...
2
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6answers
672 views

Another way to say “it never hurts”

It wouldn't hurt you to be a bit more serious. Wouldn't/won't/never hurts make perfect sense in this example. I'm wondering if there's any alternative way to preserve the meaning of this phrase in a ...
1
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1answer
29 views

“answered in” or “answered”?

I'm confused whether the verb answer should come with the preposition in or without it in a sentence "the timing a question will be answered in is important" or "the timing a question will be answered ...
2
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5answers
572 views

Is there any scenario, situation, or way to make “doing something selfishly” have a positive connotation?

The thing is, I am confused whether the word selfish itself can be used without expressing a negative connotation. I am a bit biased about it since I believe that by using this word it automatically ...
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2answers
56 views

What does 'pip' mean in this context?

The following excerpt has been taken from the poem Telephone Conversation by Wole Soyinka. What does 'pipped' mean here? Voice, when it came, Lipstick coated, long gold-rolled Cigarette-holder ...
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2answers
70 views

“Suffer from” use for non human contexts

Is it normal to use "suffer from" for subjects other than humans? For example is it acceptable to say: "this old building suffer from irregular electricity"
0
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0answers
24 views

Way to stick it to

I am watching American comedy, Weird Loners. Mr A is on the phone and talking with headhunter. Mr. A: Jerry (headhunter), come on. I love the salary but these benefits are crap. You call me back ...
1
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1answer
28 views

The elbow worked through the sleeve

What does it mean "The elbow worked through the sleeve"? and what is the synonym of the verb "worked" in the sentence?
1
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1answer
39 views

What is the meaning of the phrase “failure to fail”? [on hold]

What is the meaning of the phrase "failure to fail"?, And If I close now by professing that abject/ecstatic failure to fail, it is only by way of reminding myself..."
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7answers
48 views

what would be the appropriate word in this passage? possibly loosely related to “conflate”

i'm looking for a word that means intentionally attempting to conflate/situate two apparently contradictory ideas/beliefs etc.- for example, "as a practicing psychiatrist, is it possible for me to ___ ...
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4answers
351 views

Meaning and Origin of word “Pantheon”? [on hold]

I spotted the word "Pantheon" here on the first and second paragraph on The Hindu but not able to understand the editor's view. On the 125th birth anniversary of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, on April 14, ...
0
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1answer
56 views

What does “blue's my colour” mean in this context?

Monica: How are you? Fake Monica: I'm not too bad. Fortunately, blue's my colour. How-how did you know I was here? Monica: Because... I'm Monica Geller. It was my credit card you were ...
2
votes
1answer
37 views

Meaning of “lead” in the context of knots/ knot tying

In The Ashley Books of Knots (ABOK), Mr. Ashley frequently refers to various knots having or giving good or bad "lead" in a given situation. Two examples: The ANGLER'S LOOP has an excellent ...
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2answers
70 views

What does 'hanged' mean in this context?

LOMOV: Excuse me; I cannot continue this discussion: my heart is palpitating. NATALYA STEPANOVNA: I've noticed that those hunters argue most who know least. LOMOV: Madam, please be ...
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1answer
39 views

What does “no frame of graft” mean in this context?

Young Ethan: All right, look. I've gotta tell you something. I'm not 17. I only said so that you'd think I was cute and vunerable. I'm actually 30, I have a wife, I have a job, I'm your ...
0
votes
1answer
17 views

Is the comma misplaced in this sentence?

The following excerpt has been taken from Birth by A.J. Cronin. I think there is a mistake in the second sentence -- or, if it is correct, I do not understand its grammatical pattern. Is the comma ...
3
votes
2answers
5k views

have somebody do something vs. have somebody doing something

History, as recounted by the victors, had the capitalists winning. I think that the above sentence means that history caused the capitalists to win. Can I say History, as recounted by the victors, ...
4
votes
3answers
870 views

What does ‘alpha’ mean in the phrase, “A plea came for the President to be more alpha.”

I find the articles of New York Times’ columnist, Maureen Dowd, a treasure house of English expressions unfamiliar to non-native English learners. It’s stud with knotty expressions and new words to ...
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2answers
55 views

Can *narrow minded* be positive?

As narrow is being not wide and not flexible, can it also be upright?
6
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1answer
95 views

Why are “dynamic” and “deontic” modalities so called?

It is said that there are three types of modality: deontic, epistemic and dynamic. Here are sample sentences for each type of modality: (1) You can stay as long as you want. [deontic] (2) ...
2
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1answer
103 views

What do “Bitches get stuff done“ and ”Bitch is the new black” mean?

There was the following passage in Maureen Dowd’s article in New York Times’ (April 18) criticizing Hillary Clinton of overcorrecting her self-image in the current presidential campaign under the ...
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3answers
86 views

Does this sentence have two meanings? If not which one is the true meaning?

So I had a disagreement with a friend of mine in translating a sentence into my mother language. I wonder if it has 2 meanings. I'll give the following 2 sentences too for you to understand the ...
0
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1answer
20 views

might we not say?

What might be the reason the author adds "might we not say" in his diatribe against boardinghouse life? Here's the context: "There is no chance for the development of the unhappy wife into a ...
0
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2answers
21 views

How to parse 'of whom any one of you the aforesaid A, B, C, D, etc. we will shall be one'?

In the block quote below, I bolded everything excerpted from Etymonline for 'quorum {noun}'. Everything else (ie the annotations) originates from: p 469 , The Justice of the Peace and Parish Officer, ...
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4answers
76 views

Can “Claptrap” be used to mean low quality?

In this article in The Age, boats being used by asylum seekers are described as being "claptrap": The boat, like many of the claptrap vessels flooding Italy's shores each week with migrants ...
0
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0answers
18 views

We have also assigned you, and every two or more of you

In the block quote below, I bolded everything excerpted from Etymonline for 'quorum {noun}'. Everything else (ie the annotations) originates from: p 469 , The Justice of the Peace and Parish Officer, ...
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1answer
15 views

Expression of 'in other quarters'

Of course, Percival Brooks, the eldest son, would inherit the bulk of the old man's property and also probably the larger share in the business; he, too, was good-looking, more so than his brother; ...
1
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3answers
46 views

Do State-of-the-art and Cutting edge have the same meaning?

Do state-of-the-art and cutting edge mean the same thing or do they have different meanings? If they have different meanings, which is used when?
1
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2answers
58 views

Why is “no” used instead of “yes” in this conversation? [duplicate]

Monica: Is he not cute enough for you? Rachel: No! Monica: Does he not make enough money? Rachel: No, I'm just.... The conversation is taken from Season 1 Episode 24 of the sitcom ...
9
votes
5answers
6k views

Meaning of “to get stuffed”

What does the phrase to get stuffed mean in the following passage taken from my IELTS reading exercise? One of London Zoo’s recent advertisements caused me some irritation, so patently did it ...
2
votes
1answer
32 views

(if any) meaning in legal context

What does 'if any' mean in the legal context below? When the Registrar receives under subsection 33(1), 34(1) or 35(1) or (2) an application or notice (as the case may be) from the payee or payer of ...
5
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4answers
210 views

Is “crash into a bend” BrE and must there be a structure at the bend in order to use the phrase?

Includes 10 uses, showing it is far from a one-off phrase. Numbers 4 & 5 (bicycle) and 7, 8, 9, 10 ("everyday usage") are the uses I am most interested in. Question 1 If a vehicle ...
4
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2answers
94 views

What does it mean when someone says “noted” to you? [closed]

I was talking to my friend about something I find disgusting and she replied, "Noted." I replied, "Noted what?" and she said, "All dat." I am a little confused about what she was trying to say? Is ...
1
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2answers
39 views

Can you learn something “by proxy”?

Say you're transcribing a foreign language and it takes you many times before you can accurately transcribe what is being said but as a by-product at least "by proxy" you're improving your listening ...
0
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1answer
29 views

What does “term” mean in the following context?

The word "term" has a lot of meanings. What does it mean in the following context? The term complication is a nod to high-end watchmaking and refers to a function a watch performs beyond telling ...
1
vote
4answers
89 views

What does this sentence mean: “You watched his face crack open and your world shifted, …”?

quoted from: To Forget: The look on your son’s face when you accused him of taking fifty dollars out of your purse. You were so certain; nothing he said could sway you. You watched his face crack ...
3
votes
4answers
4k views

Why is the movie named “Hot Fuzz”?

"Hot Fuzz" is a british comedy-action-thriller movie from 2007, "fuzz" being a derogatory slang term for police. Is there any additional pun or play of words in the use of "Hot"? Or is it simply ...
1
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1answer
53 views

The use of “rift” in Orwell's *Politics and the English Language*

In Orwell's famous article *Politics and the English Language, he writes: DYING METAPHORS. A newly invented metaphor assists thought by evoking a visual image, while on the other hand a metaphor ...
1
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2answers
71 views

differentiating between all that and what

Original-- extracted from the book Scarlet Letter: Like all that pertains to crime, it seemed never to have known a youthful era. My own rephrased sentences: Like whatever that pertains to crime, ...
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0answers
58 views

meaning of “Better Thanksgiving than never”?

"Better Thanksgiving than never." I heard this expression first around 3:27 at the front part of the Gossip girl season 1 episode 09. How about the expression? Isn't there any problem to ...
-1
votes
1answer
187 views

Meaning of “broken” in a phrase “broken hallelujah”

What does "broken" mean in a phrase "broken hallelujah"? E.g. in Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah song? "it's cold and it's a broken hallelujah" In my opinion, the best match from the dictionary is ...