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

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4k views

“Useless like tits on a log” vs. “tits on a bull” vs. “tits on a turtle” and so forth

I was reading an online book and there was the expression "useless like tits on a log". I googled to find more about this expression and I found a similar one: "useless like tits on a bull". Which ...
2
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2answers
287 views

“Please leave the tomatoes at home” - meaning

I found this phrase "Please leave the tomatoes at home" in an email. On searching online I found it used in several places which are related to inviting people for an event. What exactly does this ...
2
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1answer
509 views

What Part of speech is “back” in my sentences

Back in time. Back in those days What part of speech is "Back" in those sentences
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1answer
79 views

“How to succeed at”

I just watched a news story that used the phrase "How to succeed at university". I was under the impression that at in this specific phrase has to be follow a verb. Is "How to succeed at university" ...
2
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1answer
296 views

The meaning of “I would as soon that remain a mystery”

So in this Garfield strip I found a sentence that's giving me a hard time fully understanding it. Although the meaning seems to be quite clear from the context, I'm not getting the phrases / ...
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1answer
1k views

In answering a telephone call, why do you say “Who is this?” instead of “Who is that?”

On the telephone, the person answering it may say "Who is calling?" or "Who is this?" Why do you say "this" to the caller on the other end of the phone? Is is wrong to say "Who is that?"
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1answer
128 views

“heart advice” - jarring or beautiful?

I'm translating a Tibetan text written in verse into English. The style is one of direct advice rather than learned philosophy. My aim is for the translation to have the same down-to-earth quality as ...
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4answers
549 views

A phrase to describe a “collection of false exaggerations”

I am looking for a phrase to describe a "collection of false exaggerations", something that can fit well in the following line: I am really shocked to see this, it seems that everything you told ...
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2answers
91 views

Am I referring to doubt about who I love, or doubt about who the song is for? [closed]

This song's for the one I loved, at least that's what I thought. My intent is to raise doubt about whether I love "the one", but I think "at least that's what I thought" could refer to the whole ...
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3answers
171 views

Grammatical number of “a specified number of people” [duplicate]

In this sentence, which is correct, is or are? We will not stop operating until a specified number of weak events [is/are] detected. My feeling is that the verb should agree with number, not ...
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2answers
667 views

A term for introductory phrases that qualify reality/veracity?

I'm examining a number of statements from people describing their views, and one notable trend is the use of qualifying phrases at the beginning of the sentence that specifically address the "truth," ...
1
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1answer
153 views

Difference between ‘English school’ and ‘school of English’

I'm a Spanish speaker and I need to know the difference between School of English and English School. Sometimes I see these phrases, and I don't know which one is the correct one.
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0answers
62 views

Should common foreign phrases such as “vice versa” be italicized? [duplicate]

I am writing a document in which phrases such as "et al.", "in vitro", and "ex vivo" are to be italicized. However, is a very common English (yet foreign) phrase such as "vice versa" to be ...
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2answers
608 views

What is a “Thank you” (categorisation of)

Could someone advise me please what kind of word/phrase is "thank you" or a "thank you" if you prefer. For example in this sample letter what sort of phrase is "thank you"? Dear Sir, What ...
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3answers
88 views

Is “instead of served by it” grammatically correct?

Hillary Clinton said as follows: If the Voting Rights Act is not fixed, Clinton warned, "Citizens will be disenfranchised, victimized by the law instead of served by it, and that progress — that ...
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0answers
55 views

Is there a name for this kind of phrases? [duplicate]

I often times heard phrases like itty-bitty, nitty-gritty etc, the latter word followed part of the previous word's syllable(mostly ends with -y), I want to know the names for this kinds of phrases.
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1answer
380 views

Chewing corn for gummy parrots? (Meaning? Origin? )

What does this saying mean and it's origin? I heard it on Coronation Street a few years back - spoken by the late Blanche at Peter's Aa meeting. Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e54gzq5Xr0Y ...
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2answers
11k views

What does “period” mean at the end of the American phrase?

What does period mean at the end of a sentence? For example: The stronger your core the easier your YRG(yoga) is gonna get period I didn't heard the sentence clearly because of the speaker's ...
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2answers
6k views

What does “in spades” mean? [closed]

What does "in spades" mean, for example in the following sentence: demand and love are both there in spades ... I guess "in spades" means "on cards" or "on the table" or exist?
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2answers
805 views

Meaning of 'do' in questions like 'do you want…' [duplicate]

If take question 'Do you want to eat?' as example, I don't understand meaning of 'do' because: to do something in my understanding is to take some actions, to want something is not an action, it is ...
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5answers
5k views

Phrase or expression meaning “getting more than you bargained for”

I'm writing an article and I'd appreciate a more sophisticated phrase for the term "getting more than you bargained for". All help is greatly appreciated.
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2answers
226 views

Are there slanguages counter to “puff piece”?

I was interested in two word”, “puff piece” and “on the dance floor” both of which are shown in quotes in Maureen Dowd’s article titled “Reince is right” in August 7 New York times. ...
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1answer
2k views

what does “time and again” mean? [closed]

What does "time and again" mean in the following example? Time and again, I have seen a very good opportunity follow right on ...
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4answers
115 views

“Rent income” or “Rental income”

My understanding is that "rental" is a word implying that income is being received from a property one owns and leases to a tenant. "Rent" is used more in the sense of what a tenant pays a landlord. ...
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2answers
289 views

Absolute phrase without a participle? Or something else?

I'm trying to learn how to break apart sentences and understand each part's name and what exactly it does (excuse my ignorance; I've read quite a bit, but I'm still new at it). I came across the ...
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2answers
298 views

Is it right/appropriate to say “double bag it?”

What one would say to get another (plastic) bag for carrying heavy groceries? Is it right to tell the cashier "would you please double bag it?" I am asking this question because when I tried to ...
2
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2answers
423 views

Can “take fruit in” something mean you enjoy it?

Consider to take fruit in something For example: I take fruit in my life. I feel like I have heard this term used before, but because I couldn't find an example with Google, I wanted to ...
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3answers
2k views

Does “walk back” have a meaning of ‘deny’ or 'keep distance from somebody / something.' as an idiom?

I came across the phrase walked back from time.com: a State Department spokesperson had walked back his (John Kerry’s) comments in the Time magazine’s (August 2) article titled, “Oops: John Kerry ...
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2answers
127 views

Poison coursing through one's veins [closed]

I have seen this phrase many times, yet when I tried searching for coursing, the phrase was nowhere to be found. Example from The Free Dictionary: Coursing is the pursuit of game or other animals ...
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1answer
190 views

Feel support - what does it mean [closed]

I'm looking for short phrases which include "support" word in such a way that I can prepend a company name before it and it will make sense. But i'm not a native speaker so I would like to check my ...
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4answers
159 views

Does “run around” also mean “run away”?

I got a note from a fortune cookie, which says: " Never gonna run around and desert you" I was wondering what does "run around" means here. Similar to runaway?
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2answers
10k views

Meaning of “seems promising”? [closed]

I just heard some one saying "it seems promising". I did not get its sense. Where and how is being used? I tried googling as well but could just find meaning of promise (agreeing on doing / saying ...
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4answers
807 views

What does “cocktail chatter wisdom” mean?

Jennifer Rubin’s article titled “Did the South win Pickett’s charge, Sen. Cruz?” in the Washington Post (July 30) begins with the following sentence: ...
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3answers
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Should the phrase “Man up” be considered offensive?

Liverpool Football Club have recently released a list of banned phrases, that they want the fans to avoid using. (Read the story) One of these phrases is "Man up". Why is this phrase considered ...
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2answers
4k views

Exact meaning of “Tyranny of Distance”

In Australia, I often hear the phrase "the Tyranny of Distance", but I'm not exactly sure what it means. I know that the phrase originated from The Tyranny of Distance: How Distance Shaped ...
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5answers
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Is there another way of saying “less is more”?

Is there another way of saying “less is more" in the following context? They changed their packaging and left only the essential branding on it. It epitomizes "less is more".
2
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1answer
461 views

What does “to be a range of time shy of a date” mean? [closed]

Consider the following paragraph (Huffington Post): Ronald Post died Thursday morning at a prison hospital where he'd been treated on and off since 2011, a state prisons spokeswoman said. He was a ...
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1answer
955 views

'Given a choice' vs.'If I had to choose'

Can the phrases given a choice and if I had to choose be used interchangeably? I made a statement like "Given a choice, I would do this," my original intention being to select that over the other ...
2
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2answers
133 views

“The book I've read that feels closest to this book is…”

Let's say I'm talking about a book, and I need to refer to some other book I've read, which I consider to be, of all the books I know, the one that is closest to the book that's under consideration. I ...
2
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0answers
101 views

Is Be, Do and Have all we can talk about? [closed]

I have heard that theoretically you can classify all things you can possibly talk/write about into 3 categories i.e. be, do and have. People and things can be something, do something and have ...
2
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1answer
132 views

What does “Nate Silver’s deal with ESPN is about more than Disney vs. the New York Times” mean?

Time magazine (July 22) reported the move of Nate Silver, baseball-stats analyst who turned election data-cruncher, and predicted the last two presidential elections more accurately than politicians ...
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1answer
184 views

“There were all kinds” vs “there were of all kinds”

What's is more grammatically correct? Once in the terminal, I started towards the nearest exit, glancing at the other tourists. There were of all kinds: groups, husband and wife, and people ...
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2answers
2k views

What does it mean to say “The greater of _ or _” [closed]

I am reading a document, and it is confusing me and want to be certain of the meaning of this sentence: OUR COMPANY'S TOTAL LIABILITY TO YOU FOR ACTUAL DAMAGES FOR ANY CAUSE WHATSOEVER WILL BE ...
2
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2answers
980 views

Does “coming down” mean “traveling south”? [duplicate]

In the context of traveling, I have heard of and used the phrase "coming down" when referring to a journey from one place to another place that is further south. Perhaps, it's because I have always ...
2
votes
3answers
383 views

What does it mean by “the round-trip problem”?

In the classic C++ book Modern C++ Design, I come across such statements: You have the round-trip problem, the not-enough-code-worth-generating problem, the inflexible-generator problem, the ...
1
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3answers
491 views

non-essential/non-restrictive prepositional phrases

1: a: I entered the house, through the window, and saw a few dancing cats. b: I entered the house through the window and saw a few dancing cats. c: I entered the house through the window, and saw a ...
2
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3answers
215 views

Phrase meaning “To have passed or currently be at”

I have 40 characters, (broken up into two lines of 20,) to send hints to users about the location of a "prize" buried somewhere in a grid. There is ambiguity when I tell the user if, at any time ...
4
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10answers
743 views

Phrase meaning “North, but not directly North, from here”

I have 40 characters to give hints to users about the location of a "prize" (Broken up into two lines of 20 characters.) There is some ambiguity when I send the following hint: The prize is somewhere ...
8
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3answers
402 views

What does “make the leap into the Richmond (or any name of the place) fishbowl” mean?

Washington Post (July 13) reports the gift scandal of Maureen McDonnell, wife of Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell under the headline, “Va. first lady plays central role in gift”. The article reports ...
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0answers
29 views

“I am yet to see” versus “I have yet to see” [duplicate]

What is the difference between I am yet to see X and I have yet to see X and in which situations would each be preferred?