Tagged Questions

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

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4
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5answers
380 views

Synonym or equal phrase to “merely philosophical”

When something is bound to be of little substance, or the discussion of it surely only giving rise to opinion or sophistry, sometimes the phrase "merely philosophical" is used. In this article I'm ...
4
votes
2answers
186 views

Does this phrase mean what I want it to mean?

I want to say that "the value decreases at a rate at least x" (i.e. faster than or equal to x). Does the phrase "the value decreases at minimum rate x" mean the same thing? If not, is there any other ...
5
votes
3answers
782 views

How popular is the phrase “What’s eating you?” Is it an interjection?

I saw an American English teacher introducing the phrase, “What’s eating you? in a TV English conversation class this morning by warning audience not to confuse it with the question asking what food ...
16
votes
5answers
12k views

What does ‘Put one's big boy (girl) pants on’ mean?

I saw the phrase “put somebody's pants on’ in today’s ‘Quote of the Day” of Washington Post (July 17). It quotes the following remark of DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Mitt Romney's record at ...
5
votes
1answer
436 views

Is “If not impossibly so” a popular phrase used in daily conversation?

I came across an expression, “If not impossibly so” in the review of movie, “Magic Mike” under the title of “The body politic” in New York Times (June 28). The phrase appears in the following ...
6
votes
1answer
492 views

Can ‘nickel and dime’ be used for the object not related with money?

There was the following sentence in the pretty old article of Daily Finance titled “How to avoid getting nickel and dimed with fee: “These days, it seems as if everyone's trying to squeeze every ...
3
votes
2answers
6k views

“without needing to <verb> + …” vs “without the need of <verb + ing> + …”

I don't see which one is fits best: it is awesome because you can do it without needing to send e-mails or it is awesome because you can do it without the need of sending e-mails Also, are ...
2
votes
2answers
163 views

So long as they aren't answering [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “So long as” vs. “as long as” It is no problem so long as they aren't answering. I think that's not a correct phrase, but I can't find out how to correct it.
2
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1answer
6k views

Correct usage of “of which”

I have two books, of which one is borrowed. Is this correct? Is there such a phrase?
0
votes
1answer
165 views

About two mutually related, future actions [closed]

Is it correct to say: "I will do that thing when I will talk to him."?
4
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3answers
10k views

Is it appropriate to use “Hey yourself”?

I've heard this phrase in a couple of movies, it was being used like this: -Hey, John! -Well, hey yourself, Mike! Sounds pretty simple, but my question is about how appropriate is it to say ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Appropriateness of “putting my child down to sleep”

I was telling a friend of mine that I was getting my child ready to go to sleep when I heard an audible gasp. I was told that "putting my child down to sleep" is a phrase used in connection when ...
1
vote
3answers
558 views

What does “metadiscursive framework” mean? [closed]

In their article "The language of text-messaging" (which appeared in 2009, in S.C. Herring, D. Stein & T. Virtanen (eds), Handbook of the Pragmatics of CMC. Berlin and New York: Mouton do ...
4
votes
2answers
80k views

Can you say “see you then/there” when arranging a meeting?

I am sending an e-mail to a colleague to arrange a meeting. In my e-mail I inform her where and when we can meet, and I would like to end the e-mail by saying something like "See you there" or "See ...
13
votes
6answers
4k views

Feminine version of “gentleman and a scholar”

Although I've often heard use of the phrase: You are a gentleman and a scholar I have never heard a version appropriate for the fairer sex. I guess you could say a lady and a scholar?
3
votes
1answer
868 views

Is “and then some” an offensive expression?

I started an internal email discussion with the title "Editorial: link issues, some spelling issues and then some". However, upon rereading my own mail, it occurred to me that this might express ...
4
votes
3answers
223 views

What does “pink primates” mean?

What does this sentence mean? What was over there? Freaky pink primates! Why 'pink' ? What is the exact meaning? It was in Over the Hedge.
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3answers
2k views

Opposite of jack of all trades master of none

As the title says, what is the opposite of "Jack of all trades master of none"?
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6answers
2k views

What is the meaning of “often mistaken, never in doubt”?

What is the meaning of "often mistaken, never in doubt"? In what context is the phrase used?
2
votes
2answers
10k views

What is a more eloquent way to say “I hope I'm not asking too much”?

I've been emailing back and forth with another professional who has been very generous in sharing a workflow developed at their institution. This professional has gone to great lengths to answer my ...
2
votes
0answers
32 views

24-hours notice vs. 24-hour's notice vs. 24-hours' notice [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Phrasing “An hour's rest” In the sentence "You must provide 24-hours notice." which is correct: 24-hours notice 24-hour's notice 24-hours' notice
2
votes
2answers
3k views

Term for phrases that almost rhyme but are orally rhythmic

When thinking of short slogans or sayings there is great value in having something that is fun to say and has good shape, but not necessarily directly rhyming. If the rhyme is too literal, it tends to ...
2
votes
3answers
7k views

Are “preaching to the choir” and “preaching to the converted” synonymous

The following are acceptable expressions that I have heard: "Preaching to the choir" "Preaching to the converted" To me, both mean essentially that you are trying to explain something to ...
3
votes
1answer
174 views

What is the meaning of the phrase “made out to”, in the current context?

I have received a letter which has the following sentence. The letter is about reimbursement of my travel costs to their location. Please note that for tax reasons all invoices have to be made ...
0
votes
1answer
2k views

Should it be 'Is there are' or 'are there'?

I am confused between 'Is there are' and 'are there' which one of them is correct? For example 'Is there are/are there any time before 1 o'clock?' Thank you.
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votes
4answers
190 views

Is “class Xth” instead of “class X” ok?

Many people say, e.g., "Class Xth," "Category Xth," "Part Xth," "Street Xth," instead of "Class X," "Category X," "Part X," "Street X," respectively. Is the former right?
2
votes
2answers
4k views

Meaning of “in your general direction” [closed]

I'm not a native English speaker, and I don't understand the meaning of the phrase "in your general direction." I have found its use in the line from Monty Python and the Holy Grail: I fart in ...
6
votes
1answer
4k views

What's the origin of “I'm down with it”?

I understand it's an expression of agreement. What exactly does it mean and where did it originate from?
4
votes
2answers
211 views

What does the President being “on the line with China” mean?

In his bus tour kick-off speech in New Hampshire, Mitt Romney said: Everywhere I go, I meet people who represent the best of America. They are hopeful, hard-working, determined and proud. But they ...
3
votes
3answers
4k views

Meaning of “herding the cats”

What is the meaning of the phrase herding the cats? I've found one description on Wikipedia but it is not clear enough.
3
votes
3answers
151 views

Meaning of “work better for silence”

Holmes and Watson are alone in the room. Holmes: I shall work better for silence. Watson: Oh, well. I dare say I can find something quiet to do. Does he mean he needs silence to work? And ...
2
votes
1answer
54 views

Meaning of “make labor of”

When someone says not to make labor of it what does it mean?
0
votes
2answers
266 views

What does “fraction of Blue Book value” mean?

On this page : http://boston.craigslist.org/i/autos the fourth point of "How to recognize a vehicle scam attempt on CL" What does "fraction of blue book value" mean?
2
votes
2answers
325 views

Does 'get involved' have negative connotations?

When you use the phrase 'get involved', do you expect an object for it should be negative? I've seen some examples using it since now. Their objects were mostly negative. Examples: get involved ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Can I use “way how to” to express a method of doing something?

I always thought that this phrase is wrong. That I can use either "the way to do something" or "how to do something". However, I find the phrase way how to very often in various places and that puts ...
25
votes
5answers
3k views

Meaning of “give a pony”

I came across this phrase while reading an article by Paul Krugman on the New York Times website. Here's the quotation (emphasis added): … non-GIPSI [the group of Eurozone nations – Greece, Italy, ...
3
votes
1answer
330 views

The meaning of 'School blows dogs'

I don't understand the meaning this phrase: School blows dogs. I heard this phrase in a film. There was boy who didn't like to go to school and he uttered this phrase to his father. He says it with ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

Can I use “You say Tomato, I (we) say X,” in the exactly same manner as “We agree to disagree,” in day-to-day conversation?

I found an interesting phrase, “You say Tomato, I say X” in the headline of the article of Time magazine (June 9). The headline and lead copy read: “You say Tomato, I say Bailout: How Spain agreed to ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

What does the phrase “even a fool gets to be young once” mean?

In the movie American Gangster, Frank Lucas said Even a fool gets to be young once. What does this phrase mean?
2
votes
2answers
591 views

The meaning of “you are a smash”

Ok, in the TV series Glee season3 episode 21, I came across this sentence: you were a smash. From the context, it might mean you were wonderful or something. Then I looked this up online, I found ...
1
vote
3answers
12k views

Meaning of “if anything” [closed]

I watch the TV series Glee to learn English and came across the phrase if anything. It's in a sentence Rachel said. If anything, she is gonna kill all of our chances to achieve that elusive ...
0
votes
2answers
185 views

The usage of “go south” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Origin of the idiom “go south” My understanding is that "go south" means something fails. I would like to have a post with the title: My job ...
0
votes
2answers
1k views

What's the difference between “he's going to start walking” and “he's going to walk”? [closed]

What's the difference between "he's going to start walking" and "he's going to walk"? Are there any shades of meaning here?
0
votes
3answers
6k views

Use of “save this day” instead of “save the date”

Can we use the phrase save this day instead of save the date? The intention is to emphasize an event happening on a special date. For example, a soccer match is going to happen next Friday and I want ...
2
votes
1answer
364 views

What does “He is not a man about town” mean?

There was the phrase “He is not a man about town” in the article of Time magazine May14 – 20 issue, titled “Brazil’s War on Big Oil,” reporting the oil-spill accident which took place in the sea 230 ...
2
votes
3answers
189 views

What is the difference between “Lisbon is a city on the water” and “of the water”?

There was the line, “It’s one of those places that’s not on the water but of the water,” in the article of May 25 New York Times titled “How I fell for Lisbon,” an enticing reading for anyone who has ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Origin of “pay a visit”

Where did the phrase pay a visit come from? Sometimes I hear instances of conversations like I paid a visit to the local cemetery to see my granddad's tombstone/grave or something like that. ...
3
votes
2answers
365 views

Is the phrase ‘think past something to something’ an idiom or just a plain verb + adverb combination?

I was caught with the phrase, ‘I was thinking well past it,’ appearing in May 25’s New York Times’ article, titled “How I fell for Lisbon.” The text reads: I met Lisbon in a snit. I was ...
4
votes
4answers
590 views

What does “I don’t think God’s through with me,” mean?

In addition to the comment, “I don’t have to go any further than the mirror. It’s me and me alone,” I was interested to find another repentant phrase, “I don’t think God’s through with me,” in John ...
2
votes
4answers
5k views

Is ‘There is no there there’ a normal and very natural expression?

Is ‘There is no there there’ a normal and very natural expression? I was amused to find the phrase, ‘There is no there there’ in the article titled, ‘Wrong resume’ in today’s New York Times ...