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

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I like dog or I like dogs which is correct and why?

Why do we say 'I like dogs'? Why can't we say 'I like dog' if we are referring to a particular dog? Most people use 'I like dogs'. Which is correct and why?
3
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2answers
120 views

Are the phrases “once for all” and “once and for all” equally acceptable?

I don't want to see you again! It's over, once (and) for all. Are both forms acceptable? Is one of them old-fashioned?
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2answers
53 views

What does “With the perspective time gives” mean?

Please help, I've tried everything but still can't make out what this clause means. The full sentence is: With the perspective time gives, I now realize that the most fitting statement Don Juan ...
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5answers
3k views

Correct, clear, concise way to use “potato-potato” in writing

"You say tomato, I say tomato" and the song from the beginning. As an informal turn of speech, it can be used to show that two or more parties are talking about basically the same thing but not in ...
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3answers
1k views

When did the phrase “first moon party” come about?

I had never heard the term "first moon party" until I watched this video, which has gone viral over the past 2 weeks. Was the phrase just recently coined by HelloFlo's ad, or has the phrase been in ...
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1answer
69 views

Usage of “unbelievably likely” [closed]

When listening to BBC commentary of a World Cup game last week, I stumbled upon the expression used by the commentator. In my ears, to describe something as "unbelievably likely" is a contradiction in ...
3
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2answers
129 views

Is “Go against type” a stand-alone popular idiom?

Today’s New York Times carries an article with the headline, “James Gorman of Morgan Stanley, Going Against Type,” followed by the lead copy: Forgoing Wall Street flash, Morgan Stanley’s chief ...
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2answers
63 views

Looking for a phrase for looking [closed]

See the photo: http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Film/Pix/pictures/2011/3/30/1301471878380/The-Three-Musketeers-007.jpg What's the most elegant way of describing the way they face the three ...
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3answers
154 views

What does “you don't need a husband, you need a Greek chorus!” mean?

A female friend recently saw a video of pretty old movie, “The Last Station” (directed by Michael Hoffman), which illustrates the struggle of Leo Tolstoy (the Russian author) to balance fame and ...
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15answers
11k views

“Soccer mom”: why soccer?

...why not football mom, baseball mom, or basketball mom? Soccer mom, as far as I can tell, is an American term made popular during the 1996 presidential elections, used to describe a key demographic ...
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4answers
83 views

Does one open a browser “on” a URL?

Can I say: It opens the browser on the URL [X] meaning that something is opening the browser with the URL [X] already typed in and loading?
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1answer
58 views

What does “she was as generous in sharing her death as she was in sharing her life” mean? [closed]

I just started reading this book called "A Dirty Job" by Christopher Moore. The author has dedicated his work to Patricia Moss by this sentence: This book is dedicated to Patricia Moss, who was as ...
2
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2answers
108 views

Mix of Sun and Clouds

In weather forecasts in the US, the phrase "a mix of sun and clouds" seems to be common whenever the forecast does not clearly predict rain or shine. In my recollection, forecasts used to have phrases ...
3
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1answer
78 views

Is there a phrase in English that means an apology for banality?

In Russian there is a phrase that literally means "sorry for triviality (banality)". It is used when a person wants to say something very simple and common like "everyone is mortal" or "love is the ...
2
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0answers
135 views

What is a “Gutenberg mind”? [closed]

I came across this phrase in yet another novel-is-dead kind of article, where the author refers to literary critics as the "possessors of Gutenberg minds". I was wondering if anyone else has heard ...
2
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2answers
199 views

Optional 'of' in various phrases, especially with 'much/much of'

Yes, I know there is a related question here. But that doesn't answer my question. For each of the following phrases, are they correct? If not, why not? What is the OF doing? What part of speech ...
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3answers
321 views

Pretty Please and Similar Phrases

I was wondering who uses 'pretty please?' Is it used mainly by girls? Under what circumstances? Thank you for replying.
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1answer
85 views

Two-part phrases: official term? [duplicate]

In English we have some phrases like: Make like a banana — and split Make like a tree — and leave With these kinds of phrases sometimes the second part is left unsaid; if you say, "make like a ...
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2answers
52 views

What does “as poll nears” mean? [closed]

I just read The Jakarta Post I've got this: "Prabowo changes style in campaign as poll nears" what is the meaning of 'as poll nears', I've got some guesswork and I am not really sure about it, ...
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1answer
34 views

Is the usage of among in “Some philosophers are addressed, among who Deleuze, Derrida,…” right?

I would like to know whether my usage of among in the following sentence is correct or not: Thus, a dialogue is developed with some philosophers who discuss and unfold the concept of ‘being’, ...
3
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1answer
153 views

Are both “from the offset” and “from the outset” correct?

I had always seen that phrase as "from the outset", but recently I saw somebody writing "from the offset" (meaning "from the beginning"). Dictionary.com claims that "offset" can be a synonym for ...
3
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2answers
53 views

Resident advisor: an advisor who resides or someone who advises residents?

Google assures me that there's a position at various postsecondary institutions called "resident assistant", "resident advisor", or "resident adviser". This is a student who lives in a dormitory and ...
2
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4answers
93 views

What does “make the last word on word” mean?

I found the article of New Yorker magazine dealing with U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia’s scrupulousness of the usage of words under the title’ “Salia’s word game” very interesting as an ...
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6answers
195 views

Word/phrase similar to bluster

I am looking for a phrase similar to bluster. Something like “he saw her ???? fade away”. I'm looking for a phrase that describes fake arrogance or sizing somone up and trying to show them that they ...
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1answer
138 views

No longer valid vs. Invalid [closed]

There is a subtle or perhaps more than subtle difference between the phrases "no longer valid" and "invalid". Can English experts elaborate with examples where one should be used and not the other.
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1answer
47 views

What's the difference between 'part of' and 'a part of '? [duplicate]

I usually see these sentences containing 'part of' or 'a part of' ,like 1.An apartment or compartment is part of a larger whole. 2.He spends at least a part of his time in reading. What's the ...
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1answer
105 views

how to say “etc” in a subject

I am translating some legal certificate and I need to indicate that a construction method and related factors are in accordance with a law. I am not sure what is the appropriate way to describe ...
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3answers
167 views

What does the phrase “for want of means” mean? [closed]

I came across this phrase in the following passage: Two instances of such forays have been particularly noted by scholars. In his essay “Of the Affection of Fathers to Their Children,” Montaigne, ...
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2answers
162 views

Where did the phrase “washing one's hands of” originate?

I know that the phrase "to wash one's hands of" comes from Pilate in the Bible, Matthew 27:24: When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water ...
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1answer
223 views

What does “Emergency blame game” on Iraq mean?

New Yorker magazine (June 14) reports as follows under the headline, “Senator, John McCain calls for emergency blame game on Iraq.”: “Citing the deteriorating situation in the war-torn nation, ...
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4answers
396 views

“Battled-hardened,” Is this one of New Yorker's renowned idiosyncrasies?

There was a really entertaining short story describing customary exchanges of fierce words between a restaurant patron and waitress in New Yorker magazine (June 14.) under the title, “Lunch at ...
3
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1answer
99 views

Where does the phase “buy it” (to die) come from?

In English, the verb "buy" can be used to refer to somebody's having been killed, usually in the past tense; for example: Harry bought it in World War 2. Where does this phrase come from?
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211 views

Opt for, to be up for (and to be down for)

What's the difference between I opt for the party and I'm up for the party? And, to make it more complex, I'm down for the party. But I'm especially interested in the first two.
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1answer
64 views

What kind of phrase is this? [manically across the stage]

In the sentence: At the beginning of the play, the entire cast dances maniacally across the stage. What kind of phrase is [manically across the stage]? Is it an adverb phrase, prepositional phrase or ...
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1answer
109 views

Is “per E-Mail” an English phrase

Is it correct to say: "I'll send you this file per E-Mail"? Or "Please send me this file per E-Mail"? I know most people say "I'll send you this file by E-Mail" or "Please send me this ...
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7answers
197 views

Word meaning “without my asking”

There is a specific word meaning 'without my asking' and I cannot seem to recall it whatsoever. Used in a sentence: "she told me all about her personal life 'without my asking."
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1answer
83 views

Is the phrase ''a little bit'' superfluous? [closed]

What's the point of saying both words if one of them already implies a small amount of something? Doesn't it seem a bit redundant?
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1answer
65 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 ...
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1answer
55 views

Does this “come with” make sense in this sentence?

Food makes the human body survive, whereas Clothes decorate it. With decoration there comes propriety. (my translation for an ancient Chinese text) By "with decoration there comes propriety" I mean ...
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2answers
135 views

Does “you don't want X” mean “I don't recommend X to you”?

Quite often I read exchanges like this: — I want [something], I tried this and that but still no luck, how can I do that? — You don't want [it]. An example: example. I'm Russian, and this ...
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1answer
66 views

usage of terms “as well as ” and “as well” [closed]

Can anyone describe the usage of the terms "as well as" and "as well" in sentences? Are they interchangeable?
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6answers
3k views

Perception of the phrase “kindly let us know…”

Recently, I talked to a native speaker about the proper usage of the word “kindly”. I frequently use phrases like “kindly let us know whether you agree with the suggested approach” in business ...
3
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1answer
84 views

Usage of “What does who want?”

I have stumbled upon the phrase "What does who want?" which puzzles me. Its unusualness makes me doubt. I have been told it is used just as "What does he want?", with [who] replacing [he] when we ...
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7answers
2k views

How to say “You have this much work to do because you decided to do that much” more elegantly?

I want to try word this a bit more elegantly, fancy, etc. Basically that is a reply to a co-worker who said to me in an email saying "Too much work to do!" and I want to reply to that in an ...
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3answers
102 views

phrase request-'Luckily, it could have been worse'

It's like you just don't have money, but suddenly you realised you did put a note somewhere deep in your bag and you grab that out and just feel the mixture of being lucky and relief and pessimistic ...
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3answers
91 views

Period of time, a bit or a while

If I want to place my luggage at the hotel for a few hours, how is it best to ask if I can do this? Should I ask the receptionist: "Can I place my luggage here a bit?" or "Can I place my luggage ...
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1answer
65 views

regarding the meaning of a phrase

what is the meaning of the following phrase? once too often like he did it once too often Thanks in anticipation.
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1answer
218 views

What is the origin of “breaking bad”?

Wiktionary gives the meaning of "break bad" but does not mention about the origin: 1. (colloquial, of an event or of one's fortunes) To go wrong; to go downhill. 2. (colloquial, chiefly ...
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2answers
232 views

When something sounds too good to be true, it is or isn't?

I'm having a hard time understanding why the phrase is when something sounds too good to be true, it is and not when something sounds too good to be true, it isn't Because "when something ...
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1answer
86 views

Anything and everything

Is it correct to say, "Please feel free to change anything and everything in the draft"? I want to mean the reviewer can change as much as he wants (but want to say that more emphatically). What ...