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

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What does “couldn't happen to a better person” mean?

It seems like it should mean "if they were any better of a person, this wouldn't have happened to them" (which is quite negative), but it's always used in a way that implies a meaning of "no person is ...
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64 views

Does the phrase “waste breath” always indicate talking in vain? [closed]

everyone, I am wondering if the phrase "waste breath" always indicates wasting time and talking in vain. Let's say a teacher said to his class: Since you do not understand this grammar rule, I'll ...
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3answers
134 views

'Third wheel' or 'fifth wheel'?

If you are the "extra" person in a situation, are you the "third wheel" or the "fifth wheel"? Some books—like Film Noir Guide—say "third": O'Keefe plays an escaped convict on the run with his ...
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27 views

What is the difference between a “leading question” or a question to verify information.

Example: Question: What color is the car? Answer: Red. Reply: So you said the car is, Red? Is this a leading question or a verification? Example: Statement: The tree is on fire. Reply: And you said ...
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95 views

To pretend that a mistake was intentionally done so as to save face

I am looking for a expression, phrase or word that describes a person or behavior that pretends a mistake made was intentionally done so as to save face. There is a phrase in my language saying "To ...
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2answers
64 views

“Let alone” phrase

I'm having trouble understanding the ordering of the phrase "let alone" For example: "I don't have a dollar let alone a dime" and "I don't have a dime let alone a dollar" Or (from a similar question ...
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1answer
35 views

What qualifies as first generation

Sometimes, I feel that the term "first generation" is used sort of vaguely sometimes. So it confuses me (because my situation) is a little bit complicated. My dad, was an immigrant from a foreign ...
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1answer
47 views

Should you follow parallelism even if you're only connecting 2 clauses/phrases?

Is the following sentence parallel? "The program commenced with the speaker explaining the definition of recollection, which means reuniting with God and that we need to have faith in Him." If I ...
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1answer
70 views

What is the origin of the phrase “throw (someone) for a loop”?

I was just saying this today and I realized I have no idea where it comes from. What is the origin of "throw (someone) for a loop"? Some Google searches show that I've been using it correctly and ...
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1answer
31 views

Is this Clause or falls under some other category

a finding that has shocked most observers. Full sentence: studies have shown that X is 60 percent of Y, a finding that has shocked most observers. What is your opinion. Isn't it that the above is a ...
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63 views

to begin with vs in the first place

I was wondering if it would be grammatically and idiomatically correct to use to begin with in the sense of used at the end of a sentence to talk about why something was done or whether it ...
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2answers
45 views

Accepting criticism [closed]

What are some words or phrases that say that we will accept criticism or any words thrown at us? I want to respond in a way so the bond between us is never broken. I don't want to take things ...
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356 views

“bucking for” .. like Klinger

In the culturally referrent 1970s USA TV show "MASH", about the Korean war, character Corporal Klinger acts "crazy", specifically wearing female clothing, ... because he is bucking for a section 8 ...
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3answers
116 views

Term for being mad at someone for something you know they didn't do

In particular, if one is mad at a another person for something they did in a dream. For example, I woke up this morning from a dream where my girlfriend hurt me, to see her next to me. I know it was a ...
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10answers
1k views

Looking for a word to describe ineffectual people who would like to be effective

I need to create names for four categories of people - people who score either high or low on measures of environmental concern and pro-environmental behaviour. I have three sorted so far: High ...
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1answer
48 views

Action performed sitting on a chair that rotates

The question just popped out on seeing my colleague who sits next to me. He always keeps rotating sitting on the chair. Well, not a complete rotation. Since it is not a full rotation, all I can think ...
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5answers
173 views

To win by a lot

The Football players were magnanimous enough to compliment their opponents, even though they won _______. Is there a word or phrase that falls along the lines of "windfall", or shows that the ...
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2answers
207 views

Never Meet Your Heroes - Is this expression an adage?

When the expression "Never Meet Your Heroes" is used, is it used as an adage? If yes, what is its origin? In other words, why should we not meet our heroes?
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3answers
68 views

Can we use 'what' as a reference to a previous statement?

For example, in a sentence like: The weather is getting warm, what indicates of the Spring approaching. I feel that the usage of 'what' here is incorrect, and the appropriate way to say it would be: ...
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40 views

What is the meaning of “the seal and crown”

What is the synonym for "the seal and crown" in the following sentence? I've searched Google, there are not much information about this expression there. There was no grimace, no graces, but a ...
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4answers
109 views

What term or phrase could be used to describe everything that is necessary for a successful product, except for the product itself?

I work for a company that manufactures and sells vehicles. When we talk about a product, we are talking about the vehicle itself; the physical object that the customer will own. In order to sell ...
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0answers
49 views

Phrase Synonymous to “Stop at nothing?”

I'm writing a paper describing a fashion designer who creates incredibly complex and EXTRAVAGANT sets for his runway shows. I want to say he "stops at nothing" or "spares no effort" or "leaves no ...
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28 views

What is the origin of the phrase “inconvenient knowledge” [closed]

Richard McCombs 2013 book, The Paradoxical Rationality of Søren Kierkegaard, contains this passage: "...the suspicion arises that the purpose of this investigation may well be to forget one's ...
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2answers
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Wilson's supporters were lined up for a favorable ratification

Wilson's supporters were lined up for a favorable ratification vote, but were unprepared to act unless he authorized them to accept mild qualifying language, this he refused to do. I cannot ...
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1answer
139 views

“Amiable sex” meaning?

Certain it is, that he was a great favorite among all the good wives of the village, who, as usual, with the amiable sex, took his part in all family squabbles; and never failed, whenever they talked ...
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1answer
76 views

I am looking for alternatives to the phrase “way too” or “far too” as in “Way too often…”

I am editing a work written for professions and have come across a sentence beginning "Way too often I encounter ..." First, this seems very colloquial. In doing some research on google ([alternative ...
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97 views

What's the right way to ask if something belongs to someone or something [closed]

There are two devices, and I have an extra nail or spare part. I want to ask which device the nail belongs to, in a simple way. Should I say: Who's this nail belongs to? Who's this nail? ...
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2answers
38 views

What is the phrase for a publication that publishes articles with differing opinions

One day it may post an article listing 10 reasons why living in Lapland is the worst, and then another day it may list 10 reasons why living in Lapland is the best. Compare this to newspapers in the ...
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2answers
49 views

Handling someone in their own style

Looking for a phrase or single word to describe the strategy which a person employs when she deals with another person in their own style. For example: Let's say a person constantly says that God ...
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0answers
37 views

What word can be used to describe the person's way of saying

I have a classmate, and she got a job interview out of state and we both are the smartest people in class, but I don't have any reply from any companies yet, so was kinda trying to tell me by telling ...
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0answers
109 views

An English Phrase for something that goes against your belief

there is a saying people say when a society neglects an idea because it goes against what they believe in. It goes something like which the society shawn on but the word is not "shawn", I believe that ...
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2answers
96 views

Phrases for filling stomach

"The food was so bad that I couldn't eat even just to (fill my stomach?)." What would fit in there?
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1answer
40 views

A phrase structure tree problem… "All the faith he had had

I am trying to create a phrase structure tree for the sentence All the faith he had had had had no effect on the outcome of his life. Many people are familiar with this sentence I am sure. The ...
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0answers
103 views

Using -rich suffix

I have to following example phrase: A movie, rich with effects Now I'd like transform it using the "-rich" suffix: Effect-rich movie At first, does such phrase sound natural? If no, is ...
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5answers
108 views

Phrase to describe the state of horror/fear within a country

I am writing a paper on terrorism throughout social media, yet I cannot find a way to phrase the state of horror within a country. My sentence is as follows, "Terrorist attacks are detrimental to ...
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1answer
45 views

Charge of or for - the cost of something [closed]

my question is: If person A says: Do I have to pay additional for the delivery service? and person B replies : Yes, there would be an extra charge FOR or OF that? (the delivery) Thanks!
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2answers
61 views

Not quite a sentence [duplicate]

What word or phrase adequately describes a series of words which may have a distinct meaning, but fail to adhere to normal grammatical rules? In particular, they might not have any finite verb or even ...
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3answers
149 views

“Birds and bees” origins

"The birds and the bees" is a euphemistic way of referring to sex. As in, a parent 'telling their son about the birds and the bees' would be giving them "the talk" about sex. Growing up, I got "...
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64 views

Came “into” fruition?

My friend wrote some copy, explaining that her "company came into fruition because she realized the opportunity..." I've never used "came into fruition" -- only "came to fruition". Is "came into ...
3
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1answer
78 views

Does a robot process “sensory data” or “sensor data”?

What is the best name for the data a robot acquires from its environment? Examples include camera images, laser range measurements, acceleration measurements, sound, the force it is exerting on a ...
6
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9answers
382 views

Idiom or Expression related to Nepotism

I'm looking for an idiom or expression that relates to someone who is promoted to get them out of a department because they can't be fired due to politics, possibly nepotism. The promotion is not ...
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5answers
200 views

Phrase to describe the “act of sharing an opinion”

I am writing a research paper on the use of social media for the purpose of terrorism. For one of my supporting statements, I am attempting to describe how social media connects users with similar ...
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2answers
51 views

Nicely packed story - a better way to say it? [closed]

"She told us a story, it was a very nicely packed story but..." Is there a better way to say "nicely packed story"? There was this person who gave us a speech and she shared a personal story. It was ...
3
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3answers
116 views

Word or Phrase for Smart and Difficult to work with [closed]

A coworker and I are having a discussion about a very smart person we work with who is also very difficult to deal with. We both feel like there is a word or phrase out there to describe this type ...
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2answers
54 views

“be so kind to to sg” [closed]

I would like to ask somebody politely to accept an invitation. Which is the correct form "please be so kind to accept it" or "be so kind and accept it"
4
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2answers
138 views

What would you call a person that is so scared of losing their own life that they will go so far as to risk the lives of others?

What would you call a person that is so scared of losing their own life that they will go so far as to risk the lives of others? I'm trying to think of a word that expresses the meaning of someone who ...
0
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1answer
56 views

The word noggin [duplicate]

Where did the word "noggin" originate? My daughter was talking to her friend and the expression "your noggin" was used. Then one had asked the other, "where did that phrase come from originally?"
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18 views

How did “that is” evolve into informal “as in”? [closed]

Someone might write: Our ​friends, that is to say ​our son's ​friends, will ​meet us at the ​airport. Yet, say: Our ​friends, as in ​our son's ​friends, will ​meet us at the ​airport. How ...
6
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3answers
126 views

Ironic phrase for something becoming more complicated specifically because of efforts to 'simplify' it?

My linguistic skills fail me and I'd like some advice. I have a project that currently works exactly as intended, short and sweet, yet a higher up has changed their mind and are asking for it to be ...
3
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1answer
53 views

How to describe someone with an adjective? [closed]

I want to say that 'If I should give you an adjective that would be '. Although I am not sure if this is correct or if there is any better way to say that?