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

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1k views

What does it mean to “look it”?

What does the emphasized part of the following excerpt mean? It's from an edition of 2001: A Space Odyssey. She had been assembled in orbit around the Earth, tested on a translunar maiden flight, ...
2
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2answers
686 views

Is the phrase “I feel you” too colloquial?

Does the phrase "I feel you" sound too slangy and somewhat horrible to a British person? Is it ok to use it as a synonym of "I understand what you feel/say" in an informal, casual conversation?
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1answer
499 views

orientational metaphor: I'm feeling “up” today

I have come across the following as examples of "orientational metaphors": happy is up; sad is down: I'm feeling up today. He's really low these days. While I understand the general concept, I ...
6
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2answers
13k views

Is it correct to say “I feel painful” to mean “I feel pain”?

Is it correct to say "I feel painful" to mean "I feel pain"? Please note that I mean only those cases, in which the phrase is a complete sentence. There should be no words after the last word in each ...
0
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2answers
562 views

How did the phrase “hear you out” or “hear me out” come about?

How did the phrase "hear you out" or "hear me out" come about? The phrase means "listen to whatever I have to say before you pass judgment on me," or "tell me whatever you want; I don't mind and ...
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2answers
359 views

Is “you are looking at the clock through the mirror” correct?

Mindy: That clock on the wall is so strange! Henry: What’s so strange about it? Mindy: Its minute hand is moving in counterclockwise direction. Henry: No, it’s moving in clockwise direction! ...
0
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6answers
99 views

Thinking way ahead and into unnecessary details

Is there any expression/phrase which means 'thinking way ahead and into unnecessary details'. An example would be a person thinking about the what color the doormat would be even before buying a ...
1
vote
1answer
381 views

Origin of the phrase “social justice warrior”

What is the origin of the phrase "social justice warrior"? RationalWiki says that the phrase "social justice" (without warrior) originated in the 1840s. Searching twitter for top tweets about ...
2
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2answers
327 views

Is there a general name for this: “The more you X the more you'll Y”

Some more examples: "The more you want the more you need." "The sooner you mow the lawn the sooner you'll be able to relax." Maybe there's not a name for this specifically, but is there a name ...
23
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5answers
15k views

“jury-rigged”, or “jerry-rigged”

As far back as I can remember, the usage went something like "Their jury was rigged, and that's how he got away." Or, "They Jerry-rigged the controller at the last moment and it worked!" I used to ...
2
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4answers
98 views

What is a word, or phrase, for something that is so obscure that you no longer want to do it?

My coworkers and I are using an internal request site and we are trying to figure out the correct word, phrase, or expression for our feelings. The site, and it's instructions, are so obscure that it ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Is “with respect to” wrong?

My English professor suggested yesterday that the expression "with respect to", despite being frequently used is simply wrong. He said that one should rather use "in respect of", which in turn is not ...
1
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1answer
51 views

Alternative for Under the Guidance of

I am writing a statement of purpose and want an alternative for "under the guidance of Professor". I has been used many times in the SOP and I want to avoid using it as much as possible. One ...
1
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1answer
63 views

Question/Matter of definition?

A "Definitionsfråga", as it is called in Swedish, is for instance if you talk about what's good and bad, you can remark that it depends on what you mean by good and bad. You could might as well remark ...
0
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4answers
82 views

Is this usage of “Just as well” correct?

Is it okay to use "just as well" in the next scenario: Person 1: When I'm mad I can be stubborn as hell. Person 2: And when you're not, just as well!
0
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1answer
45 views

Dangling modifiers

To succeed in any endeavor, commitment is necessary. Anything wrong with this phrase? A dangling modifier?
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9answers
4k views

Does “Chinese laundry” have any non-literal meaning?

A recent ad by Bing Lee had during its ad something like You could create a Chinese laundry with that much [washing powder]. Mum, you can't say that! Yes I can, I'm Chinese Does ...
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3answers
104 views

Opposite of Candid Photograph?

What’s the opposite of a candid photo? staged photo posed photo Neither staged photo nor posed photo sounds right though.
8
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7answers
39k views

What does the phrase “ungodly hour” really mean?

When I hear people speak of "this ungodly hour" they are usually complaining about being awake (or especially working) earlier than they are accustomed. But why is this called ungodly? It would seem ...
0
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2answers
59 views

Another way of saying “even with this considered”

Basically, the second sentence seems horribly clumsy to me. I've spent so long looking at it that I have a mental block of how to change it. So, an act could be seen as wrong owing to a different ...
0
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1answer
191 views

Which phrase shall I choose, “take part in the project of or process of”?

Although it was compelled to enter the modern world by the Western countries, now China is taking part in the project of modernization more actively and has completed many great achievements in the ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

“I can't get the message across.”

What are some other ways to say, "I can't get the message across?" This is explaining a situation where someone doesn't communicate what they're thinking, or they try to communicate what they're ...
0
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1answer
178 views

Trendy fashion phrases in press releases

How appropriate is it to use trendy fashion words in a press release? A fresh season truly requires a new wardrobe for the fashion-forward style setter. The surest bets? Stripes, lace, leather, ...
2
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1answer
67 views

Is there a word or phrase for someone who has difficulty telling his right side from his left side?

For some neurologic reason such person can't tell right side from left side. He may have a ribbon round his wrists to save him trouble.
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5answers
2k views

What does “What price [noun]?” mean?

I've come across phrases like "What price freedom?" a lot. I speak British English and it doesn't read nicely to me. It seems some words are missing. Does it mean "What is the price of X?"? Where did ...
7
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7answers
5k views

Where does “Going out on a limb” come from?

I know that the phrase, "I'm going out on a limb here" means either to take a risk or hazard a guess, but where does it come from? As in, what did it originally refer to before it became an idiom?
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1answer
26 views

Shortening a frequently used phrase in a paper

What is the correct term for referring to something as X throughout the remainder of a paper/article? For instance, I'm writing a mock memorandum to a client in a tax class I'm taking and I would like ...
0
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1answer
29 views

Omitting linking verbs

In the following sentence, is it grammatically correct to omit "being"? Cross-reference [being] impossible, we must but rely on this sole documentarian, as any other ways of accessing the ...
0
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5answers
363 views

Meaning of the phrase “Educational pearl”

I've found that phrase "Educational pearl" on this page and have no idea what it means. Can someone explain it for me please?
0
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1answer
41 views

Article usage and of phrase

Here are two examples: A: I heard there were those in this town who collect the LP. B: Yes, over there, Tom and Gina. They are the collectors of the LP you are looking for. In general, the ...
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0answers
24 views

The release stage in 'set down 'big pan'.

My question is: 'Set down' - /t/ is inaudibly released because of the 'plosive + plosive' combination. So /d/ in a word 'down' also should be inaudibly released, right? 'Big pan' - during my classes ...
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3answers
45 views

Word or phrase designating the consensus reached at the last conversation about a topic

I vaguely remember hearing a term for this, but can't remember what it was. The word or phrase refers to the consensus reached at the end of the last conversation about a topic, just before the group ...
68
votes
18answers
28k views

A formal way to say “I don't want to sound too cocky…”

Allow me to clear the situation. I was talking with my professor about a piece of software that I had developed. While we were discussing, I wanted to say something like I don't want to sound too ...
2
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6answers
58 views

A good sentence for specifying “without considering something” formally

Suppose that someone has done something valuable, but in doing that he has made some kind of cheating. I want to say that if we ignore the cheating, the work is valuable itself. What is an ...
0
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1answer
35 views

Communicating Last Full Week to users

I'm trying to communcate the idea of 'Last full week'. That is, the most recent Sunday through Saturday range that has totally finished. October 2014 Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa 1 2 3 4 5 ...
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1answer
33 views

How do you use the phrase “all about” in terms of location? [closed]

There's a line in Dropkick Murphys' song "Going out in style" saying "take my urn to Fenways spread my ashes all about" I suppose this means "all over the place"? I tried searching for all ...
0
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1answer
46 views

the phrase “from now on” to be used in similar phrases

All of us know that "from now on" means starting from now, for example: From now on, all of us have to turn our mobiles off. But is this term assignable to such phrase? From lesson three on... (I ...
4
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3answers
4k views

“Not quite yet” vs “not yet”

Does the phrase 'not quite yet' mean that something will be done shortly? Does this imply less time than just 'not yet'?
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1answer
70 views

'Birthdate vs birthday'- I know three other people who share my birthdate

We say birthday and not birthdate Generally, birthplace is used for place of birth but not birthdate for date of birth. What is the reason that birthday scores over birthdate when it comes to ...
2
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3answers
60 views

“Don't teach somebody to do bad things” - is there any expressions in English?

In Russian there's a sort of expressions like "Не учи его/ee плохому". Literally, "Do not teach him/her to do bad things", usually used, when somebody gives an advice, that could be harmful for the ...
31
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6answers
5k views

What is the American word for 'tea-towel'?

On a tour from Australia to the states my wife asked me to stop at the gift store and buy memorable fridge-magnets and tea-towels. Everywhere I went, none of the store attendants seemed to know what ...
9
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2answers
21k views

What is the origin of the phrase “Gag me with a spoon”?

How does a phrase such as "Gag me with a spoon" originate? I understand the sentiment as a real concept — gagging oneself with a spoon causes a choking sensation without actually constricting ...
9
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1answer
590 views

Etymology of 'swan song'

Can someone explain the historical background behind this phrase with context to its usage today? There are several versions of etymology, so which version is most widely accepted? I came across this ...
0
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1answer
59 views

Meaning of the phrase 'out upon it'

I came across this phrase twice while reading the play Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare in the following contexts: 1 - "Out upon it old carrion, Your flesh rebels at these years?". A ...
19
votes
7answers
5k views

Why does “big cheese” mean someone important?

This is one of those common phrases that I have never really questioned until now. According to the free dictionary, "Big cheese" means an "important person". But what on earth does "cheese" have ...
9
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3answers
8k 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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3answers
238 views

A title or descriptive phrase for someone who likes to share

I'm building a mobile app that has a series of achievements that may be awarded based on the users interaction. The app itself is an easter egg hunt. One of the achievements is for sharing (via ...
7
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5answers
12k views
0
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3answers
547 views

“in a word” vs “in a sentence”

In a word, you are wrong! In a sentence, you are wrong! Which is more natural? I feel "in a word" is more common than "in a sentence", but "you are wrong!" consists of three words rather ...
0
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1answer
46 views

Meaning of “seek out like water”

What does seek out like water mean in the following sentence? The epitaph contained a final message from Maynard, who expressed a note of deep thanks to all of her supporters, whom she "sought out ...