A phrase is a group of words that make a unit of syntax with a single grammatical function.

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How do I correctly punctuate the phrase “that is” in the context of an explanation?

I find myself wanting to use the phrase "that is" or "that's to say" but often can't figure out what sort of punctuation I use with it. I think it's an explanatory phrase, but I'm not sure. I ...
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4answers
52 views

What does “a bookstore-counting mood in Paris prompts soul-searching over Amazon’s 41 % share of new book sales in America” mean?

In the article titled “The French do buy books. Real books” appearing in New York Times (July 9), the author, Pamela Druckerman writes: “Recently when I was strolling through my museum-like ...
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1answer
29 views

Difference between 'As compared to' and 'When compared to'

Is there any rule governing when the phrase "As compared to..." should be used, and when "When compared to..." should be used? Or, do they mean the same, in all contexts?
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3answers
65 views

What does “running a gauntlet of fire” mean?

From the Wikipedia page for "Battle of Melle": Now Moltke broke off with the entire force and headed for Ghent running a gauntlet of fire from the various French posts along the roads and ways ...
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3answers
61 views

Would you mind, please

I receive various requests -- over email -- of the form "Would you mind please..." or "Would you please mind..." with and without punctuation. Neither of these sound quite right to my native ...
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0answers
30 views

Is the phrase “I know not what you speak of” correct? [on hold]

Is the phrase "I know not what you speak of" correct? Also is "Thou shalt not laugh!" correct.
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1answer
54 views

What is Nerd Test all about? [on hold]

Not sure, where to ask this. I did it here, and it was put in Hold , finally attempting here as a last try!! I am really curious(!) to know what is this? I got this link randomly about how nerd are ...
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3answers
70 views

What is the origin of the phrase “knock-down, drag-out”?

I can find this phrase in a few dictionaries: knock-down, drag-out — marked by extreme violence or bitterness and by the showing of no mercy knock–down, drag–out political debates But I ...
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2answers
60 views

There's a good fellow [Phrase]

I would like to learn more about the meaning of the phrase: There's a good fellow. All that I know is that it is used for praising or encouraging a child or an animal. Is it right?
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2answers
44 views

Band Playing without some of its Current Members

I was wondering: is there in English a specific phrase to denote a music band not playing with its whole current group of members?
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51 views

Does the phrase 'Harsh, but fair' actually make sense? [on hold]

Very often I hear the phrase 'harsh but fair' used to describe something that is unduly severe, but ultimately just. I don't think that it even makes sense, though - and although I've tried to discuss ...
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1answer
59 views

Is there a term to describe the tendency to do what's minimum?

I will try my best to describe. Some times, I have found that people tend to do the minimum procedures to finish what they do, and find improving unnecessary. I understand different people have ...
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40 views

Is it correct: “there's no more a beautiful face” [on hold]

Is it right to write this: "there's no more a beautiful face than..." I am asking about "no more a". Is there a classier way to say this?
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3answers
60 views

word/phrase for “I'm already in trouble, I might as well go further”

"I'm already in trouble, I might as well go further" or "I'm already in trouble, I might as well make the punishment worth it." the phrase that refers to the state of mind that a person who already ...
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3answers
57 views

I like dog or I like dogs which is correct and why?

Why do we say 'I like dogs'? Why can't we say 'I like dog' if we are referring to a particular dog? Most people use 'I like dogs'. Which is correct and why?
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2answers
105 views

Are the phrases “once for all” and “once and for all” equally acceptable?

I don't want to see you again! It's over, once (and) for all. Are both forms acceptable? Is one of them old-fashioned?
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2answers
42 views

What does “With the perspective time gives” mean?

Please help, I've tried everything but still can't make out what this clause means. The full sentence is: With the perspective time gives, I now realize that the most fitting statement Don Juan ...
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0answers
33 views

What is the origin of the phrase “Not your mother's”? [closed]

What is the etymology of the phrase "Not your mother's"?
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5answers
3k views

Correct, clear, concise way to use “potato-potato” in writing

"You say tomato, I say tomato" and the song from the beginning. As an informal turn of speech, it can be used to show that two or more parties are talking about basically the same thing but not in ...
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4answers
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When did the phrase “first moon party” come about?

I had never heard the term "first moon party" until I watched this video, which has gone viral over the past 2 weeks. Was the phrase just recently coined by HelloFlo's ad, or has the phrase been in ...
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1answer
61 views

Usage of “unbelievably likely” [closed]

When listening to BBC commentary of a World Cup game last week, I stumbled upon the expression used by the commentator. In my ears, to describe something as "unbelievably likely" is a contradiction in ...
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2answers
95 views

Is “Go against type” a stand-alone popular idiom?

Today’s New York Times carries an article with the headline, “James Gorman of Morgan Stanley, Going Against Type,” followed by the lead copy: Forgoing Wall Street flash, Morgan Stanley’s chief ...
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2answers
53 views

Looking for a phrase for looking [closed]

See the photo: http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Film/Pix/pictures/2011/3/30/1301471878380/The-Three-Musketeers-007.jpg What's the most elegant way of describing the way they face the three ...
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3answers
129 views

What does “you don't need a husband, you need a Greek chorus!” mean?

A female friend recently saw a video of pretty old movie, “The Last Station” (directed by Michael Hoffman), which illustrates the struggle of Leo Tolstoy (the Russian author) to balance fame and ...
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15answers
10k views

“Soccer mom”: why soccer?

...why not football mom, baseball mom, or basketball mom? Soccer mom, as far as I can tell, is an American term made popular during the 1996 presidential elections, used to describe a key demographic ...
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4answers
76 views

Does one open a browser “on” a URL?

Can I say: It opens the browser on the URL [X] meaning that something is opening the browser with the URL [X] already typed in and loading?
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1answer
44 views

What does “she was as generous in sharing her death as she was in sharing her life” mean? [closed]

I just started reading this book called "A Dirty Job" by Christopher Moore. The author has dedicated his work to Patricia Moss by this sentence: This book is dedicated to Patricia Moss, who was as ...
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2answers
88 views

Mix of Sun and Clouds

In weather forecasts in the US, the phrase "a mix of sun and clouds" seems to be common whenever the forecast does not clearly predict rain or shine. In my recollection, forecasts used to have phrases ...
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1answer
69 views

Is there a phrase in English that means an apology for banality?

In Russian there is a phrase that literally means "sorry for triviality (banality)". It is used when a person wants to say something very simple and common like "everyone is mortal" or "love is the ...
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0answers
71 views

What is a “Gutenberg mind”? [closed]

I came across this phrase in yet another novel-is-dead kind of article, where the author refers to literary critics as the "possessors of Gutenberg minds". I was wondering if anyone else has heard ...
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2answers
176 views

Optional 'of' in various phrases, especially with 'much/much of'

Yes, I know there is a related question here. But that doesn't answer my question. For each of the following phrases, are they correct? If not, why not? What is the OF doing? What part of speech ...
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3answers
150 views

Pretty Please and Similar Phrases

I was wondering who uses 'pretty please?' Is it used mainly by girls? Under what circumstances? Thank you for replying.
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58 views

Two-part phrases: official term? [duplicate]

In English we have some phrases like: Make like a banana — and split Make like a tree — and leave With these kinds of phrases sometimes the second part is left unsaid; if you say, "make like a ...
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2answers
48 views

What does “as poll nears” mean? [closed]

I just read The Jakarta Post I've got this: "Prabowo changes style in campaign as poll nears" what is the meaning of 'as poll nears', I've got some guesswork and I am not really sure about it, ...
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1answer
32 views

Is the usage of among in “Some philosophers are addressed, among who Deleuze, Derrida,…” right?

I would like to know whether my usage of among in the following sentence is correct or not: Thus, a dialogue is developed with some philosophers who discuss and unfold the concept of ‘being’, ...
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1answer
61 views

Are both “from the offset” and “from the outset” correct?

I had always seen that phrase as "from the outset", but recently I saw somebody writing "from the offset" (meaning "from the beginning"). Dictionary.com claims that "offset" can be a synonym for ...
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2answers
50 views

Resident advisor: an advisor who resides or someone who advises residents?

Google assures me that there's a position at various postsecondary institutions called "resident assistant", "resident advisor", or "resident adviser". This is a student who lives in a dormitory and ...
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4answers
60 views

What does “make the last word on word” mean?

I found the article of New Yorker magazine dealing with U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia’s scrupulousness of the usage of words under the title’ “Salia’s word game” very interesting as an ...
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6answers
159 views

Word/phrase similar to bluster

I am looking for a phrase similar to bluster. Something like “he saw her ???? fade away”. I'm looking for a phrase that describes fake arrogance or sizing somone up and trying to show them that they ...
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1answer
78 views

No longer valid vs. Invalid [closed]

There is a subtle or perhaps more than subtle difference between the phrases "no longer valid" and "invalid". Can English experts elaborate with examples where one should be used and not the other.
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1answer
35 views

What's the difference between 'part of' and 'a part of '?

I usually see these sentences containing 'part of' or 'a part of' ,like 1.An apartment or compartment is part of a larger whole. 2.He spends at least a part of his time in reading. What's the ...
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1answer
87 views

how to say “etc” in a subject

I am translating some legal certificate and I need to indicate that a construction method and related factors are in accordance with a law. I am not sure what is the appropriate way to describe ...
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3answers
48 views

What does the phrase “for want of means” mean? [closed]

I came across this phrase in the following passage: Two instances of such forays have been particularly noted by scholars. In his essay “Of the Affection of Fathers to Their Children,” Montaigne, ...
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2answers
100 views

Where did the phrase “washing one's hands of” originate?

I know that the phrase "to wash one's hands of" comes from Pilate in the Bible, Matthew 27:24: When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water ...
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1answer
216 views

What does “Emergency blame game” on Iraq mean?

New Yorker magazine (June 14) reports as follows under the headline, “Senator, John McCain calls for emergency blame game on Iraq.”: “Citing the deteriorating situation in the war-torn nation, ...
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4answers
380 views

“Battled-hardened,” Is this one of New Yorker's renowned idiosyncrasies?

There was a really entertaining short story describing customary exchanges of fierce words between a restaurant patron and waitress in New Yorker magazine (June 14.) under the title, “Lunch at ...
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1answer
86 views

Where does the phase “buy it” (to die) come from?

In English, the verb "buy" can be used to refer to somebody's having been killed, usually in the past tense; for example: Harry bought it in World War 2. Where does this phrase come from?
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67 views

Opt for, to be up for (and to be down for)

What's the difference between I opt for the party and I'm up for the party? And, to make it more complex, I'm down for the party. But I'm especially interested in the first two.
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61 views

What kind of phrase is this? [manically across the stage]

In the sentence: At the beginning of the play, the entire cast dances maniacally across the stage. What kind of phrase is [manically across the stage]? Is it an adverb phrase, prepositional phrase or ...
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90 views

Is “per E-Mail” an English phrase

Is it correct to say: "I'll send you this file per E-Mail"? Or "Please send me this file per E-Mail"? I know most people say "I'll send you this file by E-Mail" or "Please send me this ...