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

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0answers
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Any alternative phrase for “piece of cake” [duplicate]

Are there other phrases to express easiness of the situation like the above mentioned phrase?
2
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4answers
646 views

Can “famous last words” be used in positive way as a response in conversation?

I came across the phrase, ““famous last words.” I took it literally as the last word delivered by famous people. But Wikipedia defines““famous last words” other than this sense as: used in a ...
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2answers
587 views

What does “prisoner of birth” mean?

What does prisoner of birth mean? I was reading a Jeffrey Archer novel of the same name, but couldn't figure out what this phrase really means.
3
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2answers
195 views

Is it correct to say “don't let it trouble you”?

I am wondering if it is correct to use the sentence "Don't let it trouble you." Would native speakers find it natural?
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3answers
204 views

Although correct, is “the above” to be avoided?

Although the phrase the above is not exactly incorrect, should it be avoided? For example, imagine a letter with a heading "Re: Order for 79 purple cardboard slugs". Should a paragraph in the letter ...
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4answers
482 views

What's the meaning of “I put the chic in freak”?

I am a non-native speaker of English (Polish) and I teach English as a Foreign Language in Poland. A few months ago I came across this phrase / sentence printed on the student's notebook and got ...
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2answers
2k views

Phrase “I will not fail you” [closed]

This phrase "I will not fail you", Is it formal or informal? What are the other words used to convey the same feelings?
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1answer
96 views

Can “the fact that X” imply “X is a fact”? [closed]

A: How do I know if my professor is good? B: Do you understand what he says? A: Yes, but that might be because I'm a natural genius, and not necessarily the fact that he is good at ...
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4answers
139 views

Can “how not” stand for “of course”? [closed]

In Spanish, "how not" can mean "of course". I'm not sure whether one can translate literally that expression. Is the following correct English? When I went to the spa I chatted with Ann for a ...
2
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3answers
12k views

What is the meaning of “six ways from Sunday”? [closed]

This is a line from the book Test Driven Development by Kent Beck: Fortunately, we are well rested and relaxed and unlikely to make mistakes, which is why we will go in teeny-tiny steps, ...
10
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3answers
966 views

What does “Sleep through the Second Coming” mean?

There is the following statement in Jeffery Archer’s fiction “Kane & Abel,” in which William Kane, one of the two heroes looks at his wife sleeping soundly on bed unaware of his big problem: ...
3
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1answer
323 views

Is an implied “I know” considered correct English in this type of phrasing

I often read or hear statements like "Joe robbed the bank because I saw him running away with the money." Clearly, the literal interpretation is not the intended meaning and there is an understood "I ...
2
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1answer
548 views

Avoiding “is that” when adding an explanatory subordinate clause to a sentence in academic writing

Consider the following sentence as a starter of the final paragraph of an article: While previous studies have proven to be valuable, a potential drawback of the type of methods used is that they ...
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2answers
233 views

Is there a formal version of “he's the real thing”? [closed]

Is there a formal version of "he's the real thing"? As in: Man, she's really good at tennis! She plays national. She's the real thing.
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7answers
3k views

I need another phrase for “as expected” or “it would follow”?

I am writing a technical paper where I have described an experiment resulting in "x". Then I go on to describe the result of a second experiment whose result was expected since the reason was deduced ...
2
votes
3answers
5k views

Is the usage of “in your humble opinion” correct?

We use "in my humble opinion" to express humility. But I even see usage of "in your humble opinion" to ask for others' opinions. What does it mean? I see the usage in the original message here, ...
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5answers
2k views

Original Meaning and Derivation of “Ever and Anon”

A question posted today asks about the Use of “ever” in non-negated sentence, and one answer happens to mention the phrase "ever and anon." That phrase, with the meaning "occasionally or repeatedly," ...
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1answer
56 views

How to phrase multiple descriptions each applied to multiple objects

Let's say I've got two departments: Sales and Marketing. Each department generates Reports and Recommendations. To refer to all of that, I've written: "Sales and Marketing Reports and ...
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1answer
88 views

Meaning of “circle of fatality” [closed]

Basically, I'm having trouble with the following sentence: Difficulty in breaking through the circle of fatality. I'm currently looking through a random horoscope and I'm finding difficulty ...
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4answers
877 views

What is the proper phrase for being in one's official limits, probably when quoting something?

While quoting something, the consideration of the fact that it does not offend the sentiments of a community or culture one belongs to. How do we ask that in one sentence e.g Did I remain in my ...
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2answers
2k views

Meaning and usage of “stuck in the craw” [closed]

Can you please explain the meaning and give some usage examples for "stuck in the craw" expression? Just come across this expression in following sentence (a bit lengthy): But what stuck in the ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Is there a phrase for not arguing about taste?

In Hebrew there is a phrase that roughly translates: On taste and smell there is no point in arguing. This is of course because both are very subjective. Is there an English phrase that passes ...
0
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1answer
82 views

Urge Her Against Him [closed]

For this: google book "With one hand on the small of her back, and another just a bit lower, he urged her against him again. The woman was melting his resolve and calling into question his ...
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1answer
3k views

What is the connection between motherhood and apple pie?

I know the idiom motherhood and apple pie is used to denote some principles with which few disagree. But what is the connection between motherhood and apple pie? I am not very familiar with American ...
2
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2answers
495 views

Is “Mind-meld” analogous to “Brainwashing”?

U.S. media are now abuzz about Presient Obama’s remark, “I should somehow do a Jedi mind-meld with these folks” at the press conference after sequestration meeing with Congressional leaders at the ...
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1answer
2k views

What does “crystal ball” mean in the context? [closed]

I just asked a question on Stackoverflow. They closed it because it needed a "crystal ball" to answer such questions. My concept of "crystal ball" makes me interpret it as that we need some magic to ...
6
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2answers
2k views

What is a person if they are described as a “wet hen”?

In Terry Pratchett's Discworld books (Witches Abroad in particular), the character Magrat Garlick is often called a "wet hen" by at least one of her witch colleagues. Web searches only yielded the ...
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3answers
1k views

Phrase synonymous to “a general understanding”?

I am writing a goal where I would like to replace the phrase "a general understanding" with something synonymous. The whole line reads: Writes clean and concise code that reflects a general ...
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2answers
1k views

What are some interesting phrases which suggest that you are extremely busy? [closed]

If I want to say I’m extremely busy, I have no time, since I have my exams next month. What are some interesting replacements for the bold text, both colloquial and written? e.g. I am busy as a ...
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1answer
450 views

What does “fresh-off-the-vine technologies” mean?

Time magazine (February 11) carries an article reviewing the fast evolution of drone technology and problems and opportunities involved with President Obama’s “drone campaign”, under the title Drone ...
2
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2answers
2k views

“taste for” vs. “taste in”

What is the correct usage of 'taste for' and 'taste in'? You have a good taste for music You have a good taste in music. Your taste for books is pathetic
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1answer
3k views

'by mistakenly, he dropped it' is it grammatically correct?

Can I use both words 'by mistakenly' together? I feel that either I can put it as ' by mistake' or as' mistakenly' but not together.
0
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1answer
546 views

Under which cases should an article (a/an/the) not be used? [duplicate]

The current machine has been repaired. Current machine has been repaired. Which is more natural? What are the subtle differences between them? Under which cases should an article ...
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1answer
1k views

What does “get down with the kids” or “be down with the kids” mean? [duplicate]

To show how “down with the kids” she was. He sounds like someone’s dad trying to “get down with” the kids. Can somebody tell me what “down with” means in these sentences?
5
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3answers
188 views

“This is actually true” vs. [sic]

I often find myself in need of a short expression, to emphasize that what I just wrote (not quoted) is actually true. In cases of paradoxes or illogical truths for instance, like The Monty Hall ...
0
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2answers
179 views

Is the phrase “you can’t wait for your life to begin” a pattern phrase?

In Jeffery Archer’s popular novel, “Kane & Abel,” there is a scene where William Kane, a brilliant student of St. Paul’s and one of two leading characters of this novel seduced by the wife of the ...
3
votes
6answers
3k views

How can I say “not any time soon, but it won't take a long time either”?

I was writing an email to a client about a feature we plan to eventually release, maybe in a couple months, but they want some of the functionality now. I initially wrote: If there's something ...
4
votes
2answers
665 views

Is “stepmother treatment” Indian English?

When I googled stepmother treatment, I found that it was mainly used in India to refer to neglect, disregard or inattention. Most of the other non-Indian links talked about the literal treatment by ...
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1answer
16k views

“personal issue”, “private issue”, “personal affair”, or “personal business”?

I need to send my boss mail explaining that because of a personal issue I need to handle, I can’t attend the conference. Which of these phrases would best express that I have my own business to deal ...
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4answers
510 views

Where does the phrase “fall into two camps” come from?

"People fall into two camps" is a common phrase used to describe two groups of people with opposing or different views. Where does it come from?
5
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2answers
4k views

“integer multiple” vs. “integral multiple”

Nine is an integer multiple of three. Nine is an integral multiple of three. Which is more common? If both are accepted, what's the subtle difference between them?
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1answer
332 views

What do you call a statement like “How to perform a change of ownership” [closed]

What do you call a statement similar to the following? "How to perform a change of ownership" I wish to request user input by asking a question such as: "Please enter your title in the ...
6
votes
1answer
413 views

What does the phrase “Lady-Macbethed” mean? [closed]

Colonel Hampton snorted contemptuously. Senile dementia! Well, he must have been senile and demented, to bring this pair of snakes into his home, because he felt an obligation to his dead ...
0
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1answer
374 views

In the phrase “common sense”, in what sense of the word is “common” used?

As I understand it, there are several definitions of common, but I can't find any source that can highlight the etymology of the phrase. The linked definitions are pretty rigorous, but a less strict, ...
2
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1answer
339 views

Origin of “no such thing” idiomatic phrase

The risk of asking this question could be like asking the question What is the origin of the phrase "I love you", or "I need a shower", etc which grew out of spontaneous language use. Anyway, I ...
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1answer
202 views

What is the etymology behind the phrase “bad dope”?

What is the etymology behind the phrase "bad dope", as in these examples: "This efficiency stuff is bad dope when it makes a man forget his meals!" HEADLINE: "Computer given bad dope" Bad Dope: “But ...
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votes
1answer
2k views

What is the difference between “combine A with B” and “combine A and B”? [closed]

I wonder the difference between combine A with B and combine A and B so that I can use the phrase correctly. Thanks a lot!
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4answers
24k views

What does “The Pink Elephant in the Room” mean?

I know someone who keeps using the phrase "The Pink Elephant in the room". I know that phrase "The Elephant in the room". Is this the same thing? Does it mean something different?
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1answer
137 views

What is the meaning of “He was a myth made man”?

I can't understand the meaning. Is it "He was a mythical person" or "He was a myth that became a man"?
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1answer
1k views

Expression “I can / can't tell the things”

I'm French and have sometimes/often difficulty understanding certain expressions. Presently, I'm not sure of the sense of the following phrase: I can tell the things that lies in this sentence ...