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

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Is it “a spyglass TO the past” or “a spyglass INTO the past”

I'd like to use the phrase XYZ as a spyglass (in)to the past. as title for a publication on a scientific method that allows me to infer knowledge about the past from data available now. E.g., the ...
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1answer
130 views

What is a self-contained, rhetoric phrase? (Brevity is soul of wit)

This related question touched on redundancy which appeared as a strict upgrade from an autological "word" to a "phrase" to me. It would be enlightening to find more instances that provokes a string ...
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1answer
388 views

I am all attention [closed]

Is there a phrase in English I'm all attention or I'm all ears, which indicates that the speaker is listening to the person he/she speaks to very carefully?
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3answers
3k views

How to ask somebody for explanation politely

Which form is more polite and more acceptable for correspondence: For example I am do not understand something and want to get more information about it. Could you please explain... or Could you ...
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3answers
2k views

Origin of phrase “pulling for you”

When somebody is going through a difficult life situation, people will commonly say, "We're pulling for you." Where did this term come from? It sounds rather strange!
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2answers
711 views

What does “hold on to your hair” mean?

What does this phrase mean? hold on to your hair
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3answers
8k views

What is the origin of the phrase “wind your neck in!”?

I was wondering if anyone could shed some light on the origin of the phrase in title.
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4answers
304 views

Is there an antonym for the idiom “…remains to be seen” [closed]

I was using "...the truth remains to be seen" in a sentence when I realized I meant the opposite of this. I'm looking a phrase antithetical to this idiom, that follows the same (empirical) line of ...
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2answers
120 views

“My response to be aligned with yours”

Let's say me and a colleague are going to a meeting and I want to make sure his responses to the questions raised are similar to mine, that we are in agreement and we will responde in a similar manner....
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3answers
12k views

Somebody is gonna kiss the donkey

I heard this phrase when I was watching Battleship. An old man said, "Somebody is gonna kiss the donkey." I do not know what it means, I only heard it in a movie. What is this phrase mean? In ...
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1answer
914 views

What is a Tent pole moment?

At a marketing meeting a speaker used the term tent pole moment. I have no idea what she meant. Is anyone familiar with the phrase?
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3answers
927 views

Is there a word or phrase for someone whose ominous remarks come true?

Someone who makes such comments as: "Look at his car tyres! He is inviting an accident." (and he does suffer an accident minutes later.) "I never have shrimps with pepper. You're likely to ...
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3answers
69 views

postmodifying phrase/under the leadership of [closed]

Are these sentences correct: Such activities found favor with the social democrats under the leadership of Schmidt. Such activities found favor with the social democrats , under the leadership of ...
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1answer
95 views

Is there a noun form for “fine-grained”?

For example I want to say: ...the level of (fine-grained in noun) that is needed... I wonder if the word "grainery" will work.
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3answers
440 views

proper word or phrase for 'already eaten or drank by other person/animal' [duplicate]

Is there a single word or a short phrase to better describe a consumable item (e.g. drink or food) that has already been nibbled or sipped at? The relevance of this word or phrase would be in a ...
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2answers
908 views

Using 'send' in passive voice

You are sent this e-mail because... Is this correctly worded or does it sound weird? I ask because I think I've seen similar wordings, such as "you are being sent X because Y", but I'm not at all ...
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1answer
528 views

Phrase: give pause

What exactly does the phrase give (sb.) pause mean? Is it just a simple shortening of the following?: give pause to someone (or give someone pause for thought) cause someone to think ...
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1answer
2k views

“Rule the Roast” and “Rule the Roost”

John Ayto, Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms (2009) has this entry for "rule the roost": rule the roost be in complete control The original expression was rule the roast, which was common ...
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2answers
456 views

“I'm flabbergasted!” - Old fashioned? Pedantic? Refined? Educated? [closed]

To flabbergast - to overwhelm with shock, surprise, or wonder. "I'm flabbergasted!" - I have only one friend who uses this phrase, so I can't figure out what kind of person uses it. Although NGram ...
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2answers
2k views

What did Kate mean when she said: “(…)? Or did Big Pussy and Meadow miss you too much?”

In the 2014 film “The Other Woman”, there is an exchange between several characters Phil: Who's this? Carmela: I'm Carmela, Kate's decorator. Phil: Oh. Really? When did you fire ...
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2answers
2k views

“As I go” expression

Could anyone please tell me what "as I go" means? Like in the following context: I will fill it out as I go.
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1answer
89 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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2answers
527 views

I will learn better English — should it be “I will learn English better.”

Somehow, I think "better English" is incorrect, because I think there isn't better English; English is English. But I hear this phrase from other ESL students a lot. Is this correct way of saying it? ...
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2answers
2k views

Meaning of “playing of favorites”?

I am came across this phrase in a CR presentation (slide #19). What is its meaning? Equanimity – Less “playing of favorites” with people, compassion
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1answer
355 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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1answer
3k views

Is this a correct English sentence: “I'm not quite well enough ready yet.”

I was talking to someone recently and blurted out as I had to move on to another task "I am not quite well enough ready yet" which sparked a discussion about if that was correct English. Although I'll ...
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2answers
2k views

How to specify the letter O, not a zero

Imagine a technical specification that reads: In the text box, enter "O1" (O the letter, not the number zero) Is there a convention which achieves this explanation more succinctly, or is more ...
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6answers
403 views

Is there a phrase to describe a ready-to-throw-away phone?

I am looking for a phrase that describes a really crappy mobile phone, which has become so dysfunctional that it is ready to be thrown away
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1answer
3k views

To be is to be perceived

Can someone explain me this phrase attributed to Berkely Wikipedia In Principles #3, he wrote, using a combination of Latin and English, esse is percipi, (to be is to be perceived), most often ...
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7answers
723 views

is there any word that means “current and upcoming”?

I want to find a word that could mean current and upcoming but couldn't. Or is there any other shorter ways to describe it? can anyone help me?
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4answers
4k views

Term for something that is supposed to increase safety, but really just increases fear?

Some examples: A news station giving daily "terrorist reports". It doesn't actually say how to protect yourself, just gives information on how horrible they are & why you should be afraid. A ...
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12answers
4k views

phrases: “marry a guy and he'll provide”

Trying to find a similar phrase to this Chinese phrase: 嫁汉嫁汉,穿衣吃饭 which basically means if a woman marries a guy, then the guy will provide food and clothing. I can't think of anything off the top ...
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2answers
98 views

Is “this object remains a valid inclusion in a discussion of similar objects” grammatically correct?

The wider context within which I am writing this phrase is: What is certain, however, is that early twentieth-century piano rolls, while not themselves audio recordings, remain a valid inclusion ...
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1answer
2k 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
378 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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2answers
3k 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
2k views

What is the meaning of the phrase “this side of x”? And how do I use it?

Since I don't understand it in the first place, I better just give you an example: Cracked.com example, says otherwise known as "the pettiest hobo crime this side of aggressive panhandling." (WARNING:...
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3answers
234 views

Are there any better (perhaps business-oriented) alternatives to “pitting against” for this situation?

Recently a colleague demonstrated a shared Microsoft OneNote notebook in which he and other members of his team posted their weekly accomplishments in sort of bulleted lists. The idea was that they ...
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2answers
4k views

“Learned of” or “Learned about”?

When would I use "learned of" versus "learned about" in a sentence? For example: The principal learned of the planned protest and suspended any students wearing the armbands. or The ...
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2answers
479 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 ...
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3answers
399 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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3answers
8k views

What does the expression “With a twist” means?

I would like to know the meaning of the expression "With a twist" and the context in which it can be used - examples are welcome. I have an understanding of it in the lines of "Traveling with a ...
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1answer
39 views

“Not listening” or “over ruled”; which is correct?

I gave certain instruction to my subordinate, but he overruled my instruction and acted on his own. Is it correct to say my subordinate overruled my instruction?
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2answers
6k views

'decide not to' or 'decide to not' ? [duplicate]

I came up with this question when I received an email from a committee with a sentence 'We have decided not to publish it', which seems really strange to me because the grammar I learned in English ...
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1answer
165 views

Proper usage of vote against and vote for

Case study: You are a part of a game, say 'Mafia', if you know how it is played. Here, a moderator selects a 'Mafia' and a 'God'. The Mafia can kill anyone, the God can save anyone. All happens under ...
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1answer
345 views

What does “A Gossip Girl in Sweet Valley with traveling pants” mean?

In the 2010 film Easy A, there is an exchange between several characters: Rhiannon: Aren't you supposed to be like, eternally in love with him, and shit? Olive Penderghast: Yes, I believe ...
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1answer
688 views

What does “Yeah, you did” mean?

This has been a question since I watched the episode Ted Mosby, Architect [HIMYM, Season 2] long time back. Yesterday I came across this again and I still don't get it. What does "Yeah, you did" ...
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1answer
162 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 ...
2
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1answer
2k views

“In no way” vs “By no means”

How do I decide whether I should use "in no way" or "by no means"? Are they different in any way? Should either of these terms be used at all? For example: In no way am I suggesting that... ...
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2answers
190 views

Couldn't be parked: Ngaio Marsh

In one of her novels, Dame Ngaio Marsh has Roderick Alleyn propose marriage to Agatha Troy, who responds she "couldn't be parked." In context this appears to be equivalent to "couldn't be more ...