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

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Origin of the phrase “send tell”?

"Send tell" aka PST and similarly Mt is commonly used in video games and online chat programs. To me, it sounds like something out of the renaissance. What is the origin of the phrase?
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2answers
158 views

“[Noun] as she is [past participle]”

As an example, I recently came across a blog titled "Software As She Is Developed". I know I've seen that construct before — "noun as she is past participle" — in other contexts. It's fairly ...
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2answers
59k views

“Good to hear from you”?

Is it correct to write "Good to hear from you" ? I have seen it many times but I feel it should be "It feels good to hear from you" or equivalent.
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5answers
2k views

Meaning of “I would venture” [closed]

On page 6 of The Remains of the Day, I read: ...my new employer in several other instances had had occasion to call upon such qualities as it may be my good fortune to possess and found them to ...
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2answers
626 views

Is “put together” an adjectival phrase?

When someone says "He is smarter than I and she put together," what is the function of the phrase "put together"? Is it considered an adjective?
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2answers
168 views

What do the President Obama is “smooth without big handles,” and he “got his mojo back”?

There were two “fancy” phrases –“he is smooth without big handles” and “he is getting his mojo back” in describing recent images of President Obama’s in New York Times’ (April 14) article titled “Come ...
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4answers
3k views

Does 'mailbox money' mean anything?

My friend and I heard someone on the phone say the phrase 'mailbox money'. The sentence was 'mailbox money is always nice' My friend told me that 'mailbox money' means money/checks that you keep ...
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4answers
411 views

What is the correct way to phrase this?

I asked this question on meta.stackoverflow.com, but I need some help. What would be the correct way to phrase "...diverse topics from software programming to cooking to photography and gaming." Or if ...
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3answers
1k views

Usage of the phrase “Eat your tea”

This is another bit of unusual English (to an American) that I picked up from Terry Pratchett's writings. Characters in the books have told others to "Eat their tea", in the literal sense. Is this a ...
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5answers
6k views

Where did “the price of tea in china” come from?

Usually when someone does not think your current statement has to do with the conversation at hand they can ask, "What does that have to do with the price of tea in China"? Where did that form of ...
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3answers
33k views

Meaning of the phrase “to name a few”? [closed]

What is meaning of the phrase "to name a few" in below sentence: Our clients include Commonwealth Bank, Lexus, Tourism Australia to name a few I rarely see this phrase, so I think there's an ...
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3answers
282 views

How to say the opposite of 'lose one's grip' for a newcomer? [closed]

If someone has not been doing a specific action for a while, you can say he "lost his grip" (got out of practice). But what about the other direction, when you want to say that a person is new and ...
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1answer
643 views

Proper use of “context” in a phrase

Which of the following phrases is correct? Everything is in some context. or Everything has some context.
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4answers
362 views

Is “purse-lipped mother-in-law” an established word representing for a woman who is censoriousness and nagging about everything?

I found an interesting phrase, “purse-lipped mother-in-law” in the following lines of the article titled “The newspaper that rules Britain,” which appeared in New Yorker magazine, April 2nd, 2012 ...
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3answers
16k views

How should we write the phrase “one of a kind”? [closed]

I have seen two kind of written format of "one of a kind" phrase, one of a kind one-of-a-kind I'm confused, which one is the proper way of writing "one of a kind" phrase?
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4answers
782 views

“Sleep in the nude” or “sleep nude”

Which is correct: sleep in the nude or sleep nude? I've seen both phrases being used, and Googling this yields no viable results.
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1answer
1k views

Is “Give (get) space” a common usage for “give (get) flexibility / freedom”?

NSNBC (March 26) reported that President Obama was overheard telling Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to “give him space" until after November during his meetings in South Korea on missile defense, ...
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3answers
388 views

Is “Waste ‘much time’ and ‘many trees’” a set phrase?

I saw the phrase, “Much air time and many trees have been wasted” in the article of New York Times (March 24) titled, “The Outsourced Party.” It begins with the following sentence: “Who speaks for ...
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2answers
116 views

“by winning” vs “by her winning” or “of her win”

I have a dilema, here's a little excerpt: Anna, an accomplished classical musician, was encouraged by her winning the prestigious award .... plans to launch a new album. Sounds really wrong. ...
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2answers
11k views

What does “you blue blistering barnacles” or “Billions of blue blistering barnacles” mean? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What does “Thundering typhoons” mean? What does "you blue blistering barnacles" or "Billions of blue blistering barnacles" mean?
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0answers
44 views

Trying to make sense of (off?) “off of” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How can I explain to people that the phrase “off of” is grammatically incorrect? Is it just me or has the word combination "off of", and it's big brother ...
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2answers
410 views

A phrase to show that something is deeply personal

The context here is that I'm translating from Spanish a phrase which has a wonderful suggestion of deep intimacy. I want to keep the translation as literal as possible but also to maintain the emotion ...
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3answers
6k views

Origin and meaning of “from out of left field”

What is the origin of the phrase from out of left field? My understanding is that the meaning is unexpected, or odd. Is that correct? Real world examples of the phrase being used badly would be great ...
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4answers
2k views

What does “the government picks winners and losers” mean?

I heard the phrase, “pick winners and losers” in AP Radio News (aired on March 19), relating GOP presidential candidate, Mitt Romney’s attack on President Obama’s economic policy: -Republican ...
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2answers
979 views

Is the phrase “out of the box” an adjective or an adverb or an idiom?

Could someone explain the meaning of the phrase "out of the box"? Is it an adjective or an adverb or an idiom? Please point out its function in below sentences. For Python fans of Google’s Cloud ...
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3answers
846 views

Where does “patching through” come from?

Where does "patching through" come from? And what did it originally mean? Usage: "I'm patching through a call from Mr. X"
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2answers
756 views

“Try to save” or “try saving”

Are both try to save the file and try saving the file grammatically correct? If so, is there any difference in meaning?
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2answers
1k views

Is “it makes it easy to do …” good English?

There are two "it"s in this sentence, but they refer to different things. Is this considered good English? If not, what's a better way to express the same meaning?
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0answers
51 views

Where does “use it in anger” come from? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is “used in anger” a Britishism for something? Several years ago, a British friend of mine introduced me to the phrase "use it in anger." Until that time, I ...
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2answers
447 views

Origin of “a head of steam”

I'm aware of the general origin of "a head of steam" being from old steam-powered trains, but how does it break down? I'm guessing that the "head" is the surplus of motive force necessary to break ...
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4answers
15k views

Why “sense of humour”?

I always had this question in my mind: Why people use the phrase "sense of humour" for the quality of being humorous and funny? The word sense suggests it is about perceiving and receiving something. ...
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1answer
316 views

Is “few couple of …” a proper usage in English? [closed]

Is "few couple of ..." a proper usage in English?
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2answers
7k views

What is the origin of “rings a bell”?

Where does the expression "rings a bell" come from? e.g. Bob: Have we met before? Geoff: Well, your face rings a bell.
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1answer
3k views

What does “Thundering typhoons” mean?

What does "Thundering typhoons" mean? Actually it was in the 2011 movie The Adventures of Tintin.
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2answers
1k views

When a phrase ends with a period, do you put … or .. after it?

I was just reading this question: When "etc." is at the end of a phrase, do you place a period after it? And it brought to mind something similar. If a phrase ends with a . (such as e.g. or ...
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4answers
2k views

What does “slicker than snot on a doorknob” mean?

I have a friend from Mississippi and I've heard him use this expression sometimes: slicker than snot on a doorknob. What exactly does it mean? (I guess it's something positive but I'm not too sure ...
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1answer
271 views

Is the [blank] worth the shake? [closed]

I remember someone once telling me a saying in the form: "Is the [blank] worth the shake?" The meaning was similar to the saying, "Is the end worth the means?" I can't remember what the [blank] word ...
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1answer
246 views

Is the phrase “My current educational and residential situation” correct?

Is the phrase ... because of my current educational and residential situation a correct way to refer to where and why I study what I do and why I live where I do? Or should it be "education and ...
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6answers
10k views

What is the origin of “stitched up like a kipper”?

I've heard the phrase so many times, but only now am wondering where it comes from. I know it is used to mean that someone has been tricked, or has in some way fallen for a trap. e.g. Bob: So I ...
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3answers
5k views

What is correct: “bind to” or “bind with”?

What is a correct phrase: “bind to” or “bind with”? If both are correct, when should I use the first form, and when the second?
2
votes
1answer
136 views

Questions about abbreviations [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “PIN Number” — why do we say it? Assume we abbreviate "Orthogonal Multi-user Channel" as OMC. Is it correct to use the phrase "OMC channel" since channel is ...
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5answers
1k views

Can I say “reduces the proximity to zero” to describe 2 objects being very close?

When I say "reduces the proximity to zero", does it mean that the distance between two objects are extremely close? My intention is to describe that the distance between two objects gets very close ...
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4answers
588 views

What does “For over 20 years, I have illustrated the absurd with absurdity,” exactly mean?

There was the following quote of Rush Limbaugh’s apology (or nonapology) in the New York Times’ article (March 2nd) reporting that he sorried for his denouncing a Georgetown University law student as ...
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3answers
70 views

How should I understand “the one lab bench”?

The following sentence is from 100 Greatest Science Discoveries of All Time by Kendall Haven: Small dishes of deadly staphylococci, streptococci, and pneumococci bacteria were lined and labeled ...
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4answers
4k views

What is meant by the “benefit of the doubt”? [closed]

I think doubt is a negative emotion, so I find it difficult to know what is meant by "benefit of the doubt". How does this phrase work, and how did it arise?
5
votes
1answer
770 views

Where does the phrase “It's a good job that …” come from?

In a recent link the phrase "It's a good job that..." is used. I take it to mean the same as It's a good thing that ... but I've never in my almost 50 years of English heard job used like that ...
2
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2answers
3k views

Definition of “throw the gauntlet down” [closed]

What is the definition of "throw the gauntlet down"? I googled for it and only got examples where it's used, but no actual definition of the phrase.
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2answers
3k views

What would be a formal reply to “I need your help”? [closed]

A colleague emailed me saying I need your help but offering no further details. Now, what what be a formal reply to this which doesn't promise too much nor seem cold or unhelpful? a) Sure. ...
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3answers
154 views

Why is “head for” in the passive voice in "Mitt Romney was headed for a decisive victory in Arizona”?

Today’s Washington Post article titled, “Romney wins big in Arizona, AP says” begins with the following sentence: Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney was headed for a decisive victory in ...
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4answers
187 views

Is “sustain the tuition fee” correct English?

Searching for it in google yields just 9 miserable results. So, I am puzzled - is it bad English, or is the opposite true - too good to be widely used? EDIT The complete sentence is: However, ...