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

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Origin and Meaning of “just for namesake purpose”

I found some online references to the phrase "just for namesake purpose", and as per namesake's definition, this seems to be wrong usage of the term. Can anyone explain the origin and meaning of the ...
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23answers
3k views

Suitable saying for “different people like/dislike different things”?

Suppose I have some problem when someone takes an action 'X' on me which I find highly offensive and which makes me feel bad but it may/may not effect other individuals if used on them. A friend of ...
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2answers
58 views

Do you “take out a debt” or “draw a debt” or some other phrasing?

I wish to say that I did something which put me in debt to someone, without naming the person. How would I phrase this? Example: But one afternoon near the end of my time on the farm, I took out a ...
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2answers
56 views

Word to describe an action that divide groups

Greeting, I am looking for a word that I can use to describe a method that divides a single group into similar smaller groups (not opposing groups). Something like "schismatic", but without the ...
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0answers
29 views

Can I use “at all” instead of “either” in a sentence?

If you want a really simple and easy way to get rid of the “Get Windows 10” icon and stop your PC from downloading Windows 10, you can download a little piece of freeware called GWX Control Panel from ...
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2answers
88 views

How do you use the phrase “as … as can be”?

I know you can say " happy as can be," but can you us any adjective before "as can be"? Can I say " I was as American as can be"? or " He was as excited as can be"?
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56 views

I don't understand the phrase “Just as . . . so.”

Here is my example (from an SAT question): Just as Ireland has produced many famous writers and the Netherlands an abundance of famous painters, so Finland has provided a large number of famous ...
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3answers
642 views

“An advantage given a handicapped person at the beginning of a competition to make them draw even”

I'm looking for a single-word or set-phrase defining the advantage given a handicapped person at a competition. I know that most competitions, including the Olympic Games, don't do that as they have ...
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1answer
49 views

Use of “in comparison to”

I have doubts regarding the construction of the phrase: "[...] degree of fulfilment regarding the number of water quality parameters effectively controlled in comparison to the mandated number ...
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1answer
89 views

Is there a difference between an adverb and an adjectival complement?

Consider the example: I am happy to wait. In some publications, the function of the infinitive is called 'adverb'. In others, it is 'complement of adjective'. Is there a difference in the naming of ...
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2answers
120 views

Word to describe someone who allows himself to be ill?

I am looking for a word to describe a person who allows himself to become ill. Example: They can sense that depression is settling in again, they know how to stave it off, yet they allow it to ...
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5answers
82 views

I could not have not noticed

"As a geek I could not have not noticed the error in your calculation." This is how I would say this in Slovak language, is this correct in English? If not, what could I use instead? EDIT: The ...
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3answers
198 views

“Good to hear(read) from you” [duplicate]

I have noticed people use this sentence to reply to written mails but I often ask myself; why use "hear" when you "read" ? Is it just a generally accepted phrase or people do use it wrongly ?
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1answer
64 views

Identifying the participial phrase in a sentence

They boarded the subway packed with people My attempt: I think "boarded the subway" is the participial phrase which modifies "they", because "packed with people" is a prepositional phrase ...
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3answers
121 views

Does British English have an equivalent of “under the hood”?

I feel like there must be some equivalent to the phrase "looking under the hood"in British English but have drawn a blank. Can anybody help?
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2answers
137 views

definition of 'but until'

What does but until in a sentence mean? I came across the phrase in a sentence that sounded almost exactly as this: He was a great person but until he started caring for other people's feelings. ...
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2answers
42 views

Please suggest a better transition phrase as compared to “Coming to” [closed]

Excerpt from my essay: Coming to my industrial experience, I am currently working in... My professor's comment on my essay: I think you want to transition to industrial experience from ...
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5answers
2k views

What's that robber's thing called?

I have seen many movies/television serials in which people use handkerchiefs over their mouth and cheeks tied at the back of their head, to cover up their identity while committing a robbery or simply ...
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3answers
195 views

Meaning of “to wax loquacious” [closed]

What does the phrase to wax loquacious mean? The following line appeared in an Indian newspaper: It is an attempt to confront the Prime Minister, who waxes loquacious when speaking to the ...
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1answer
32 views

Usage of “brought from”

I've come across this sentence: A sudden rap at the door **brought her from** her reverie. I think it should have been written as: A sudden rap at the door **brought her back from** her ...
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3answers
320 views

Another way to say “to another level” [closed]

I am looking for another way to say take something to the next level.
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3answers
90 views

What is the word or phrase for a statement of the kind: “x is because of y” when y is simply a restatement of x?

I know this word, but I cannot think of it. It is driving me crazy. Example: The murder rate in the National Parks is very low because the people who go to the National Parks are non-violent ...
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1answer
37 views

How do I phrase a thank you and acceptance for an exclusive invitation? [closed]

I recently received an invitation to participate in a professional summit. It is an invite only summit and very exclusive and I am not sure how to word my response. Is it more appropriate to say I ...
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0answers
25 views

All's okay except when you make a little mistake [duplicate]

What's this situation called when you work at a place where you are never appreciated for what you do until one particular day you forget to do something which attracts all the negative sentiments ...
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0answers
107 views

How to use “have an impact”?

I was wondering whether saying "have an impact" instead of "have an impact on" is idiomatically correct. "He aspired to have an impact through education and hard work."
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2answers
65 views

Is there an expression for cutting ties or calling off something that is ultimately unfavorable to both parties?

In particular, ending something that one of the parties is still attached to. For instance, in a relationship, if one person doesn't want to go through the short term struggle of a breakup (and is ...
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2answers
66 views

What is a shaggy-dog story? [closed]

Can anybody help me to explain the meaning of this sentence, i dont understand its meaning, it's about when Andrew Marr (a Historian) make a conclusion about History of the World, he concluded about ...
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1answer
104 views

Solely interested in mindless social fun

Is there a word for a person who is solely interested in mindless social fun? A junior I know told me that EL&U is stressful because it's full of "serious"(lack of a better word here) people, of ...
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2answers
55 views

How to use “ the look of confusion” in a sentence?

Can you say "I saw the look of confusion on Max." or do you have to say "I saw the look of confusion on Max's face." ?
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0answers
28 views

Armor glistening like glass in Chapman's Homer

I am trying to recover a lovely phrase that I only dimly remember. I think that it's in Chapman's Homer. I think that it's a simile: someone's armor or shield (perhaps Agamemnon's) "glistens like ...
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2answers
103 views

Using the word “average” in a question [closed]

By virtue of using the word "average" in a question, am I asking for answers that are opinion based and not objective? I came across an article whose heading was What Is The Average Rate Of ...
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9answers
154 views

phrase request-Talking in completely irrelevant terms to cover up one's lack of knowledge

Imagine the following scenario: Charlie walks into a chess club, where Alice and Bob are playing a casual chess game. Alice: Hi Charlie, do you think I should move the rook or the bishop? Charlie: ...
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6answers
343 views

“adjusting glasses”?

What is the idiomatic way to describe an action by which a person puts their eyeglasses back if they are a bit off down the nose (and does that often as a habitual unconscious move)? (I mean ...
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3answers
78 views

What is the name for the favor which goes against your best interest?

Many languages have this expression but I am not sure how it is expressed in English. Its example would be: I helped him cheat his way through college, now he has no job. I did him ____ favor. ...
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4answers
74 views

What's the meaning of “strike out on an odd tangent”? [closed]

In his blustery speech to parliament, Prime Minister Yusuf struck out on an odd tangent to praise China as an "all-weather friend". What's the meaning of a phrase "strike out an odd tangent"? ...
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1answer
42 views

What's the meaning of “the column's impediment”?

We see atop Arlington Ridge, the column's impediment of Arlington House, which is now the Robert E. LEE Memorial. (CNN Transcripts; video and audio: CNN Student News) What's the meaning of ...
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2answers
79 views

Is it correct to say 'We will do it when we got a decision'? [closed]

Someone will make a decision, then we receive it, and do something according to it.
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1answer
151 views

draw my attention/ catches my eye/ attracts my attention

Can I use the three phrases in the title interchangeably? For example: The woman in the tight black dress definitely draws my attention/ catches my eye/ attracts my attention.
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3answers
67 views

How do I emphasize his superiority?

A boy(3 years) I saw in a fun-fair was trying to play in mickey mouse bounce house(precisely speaking clambering a steep slope) suitable for kids older than him, say more than 5 years. I am trying to ...
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5answers
210 views

Where did the phrase 'Uh Oh' come from?

Uh oh is defined as something you say when you made a mistake, or when something is going wrong or a bad thing is about to happen. An example of a time when you would say "uh oh" is when you ...
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1answer
131 views

Is “our friends” being used sarcastically here?

Generally speaking when we say "our friend" we are referring to someone who is a friend of ours. However, I have noticed that at times these words are used sarcastically to refer to someone who is ...
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1answer
130 views

What is the origin of the phrase “Put one in the wood for him”?

I'm curious about the origin of the phrase "(Put) one in the wood (for him)" meaning ‘reserve a pint of beer to give him when he arrives’. I live in west Kent, UK and hear this phrase fairly often. ...
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1answer
58 views

“Check out the big brain on Brett!” Is there a word or phrase to describe verbatim quotations from films?

There are quite a few examples of idioms, phrases, or even single words, specially coined for a movie scene or a television sitcom. When adolescents hear these new expressions and find them ...
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2answers
711 views

“Going down the rathole” vs. “Going down the rabbit hole.”

I hear/read the phrase "going down a/the rathole" used as a synonym for the phrase "going down a/the rabbit hole," the later taken from chapter 1 - "Down the Rabbit Hole" of Alice's Adventures in ...
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1answer
81 views

Word for the feeling when you are looking for an solution

The title is kinda self-explanatory, but what I'm looking for is a one single word describing your desperate need/desire to find the solution of your problem/situation. I'm writing a story where a ...
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14answers
2k views

Common phrase for “to name the issue exactly”

I'm looking for an expression/phrase which is common for when in a discussion somebody points to the exact issue / cause of the problem or named an argument which corresponds perfectly to your own ...
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1answer
78 views

What is the tense/verb phrase of: I was not used to their accents [closed]

Really struggling to understand tenses that do not have an action & I have looked up everything I think it is but it does not appear to qualify/be correct. I have been staring at this for hours. ...
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3answers
120 views

'Need to know the correct English for “snacks served” or “provided”? [closed]

This might be a silly question, but recently I came across in Facebook an event where it was written snacks will be provided. Is it a correct English phrase or it should be like snacks will be ...
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1answer
48 views

Is the infinitive at the end of “I did whatever I wanted to do” necessary?

In a statement such as "I did whatever I wanted to do," or "I wore whatever clothes I wanted to wear," are the infinitives "to do" and "to wear" necessary? Is it improper to say "I did whatever I ...
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4answers
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What is the phrase for “weakness in courses”?

I am describing my students and want to say they do not know much about the courses that they passed last year. How can I say it in English? E.g. My students are weak in science, so I can't teach ...