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

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14
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16answers
2k views

What's an idiom for something that you've heard many times?

I'm trying to write something for my blog, and I need an idiom that will replace me saying, "I've heard people say that all the time, it's the same old story."
1
vote
4answers
63 views

how do you say “write onto a piece of paper” in a more creative way?

I want to use an alternative to the expression write onto a piece of paper I would like to rephrase this to sound more interesting. Can anyone provide suggestions?
0
votes
0answers
20 views

Meaning of “to be Accounts Receivable for someone”

I understand what accounts receivable are, and I understand what factoring is. But I don't understand what the phrase "to be accounts receivable for someone" means, e.g. "I'm accounts receivable for ...
0
votes
1answer
29 views

Is there one word for knowledge and wisdom that has been obtained from different sources and from experience?

Is there one word for "gathered wisdom", meaning knowledge and wisdom that has been obtained from different sources and from experience?
4
votes
4answers
159 views

What does “to put it charitably” mean?

There was the following sentence in the article titled “Why Rick Perry may be out of luck” appearing in the New Yorker (August 19): "Last Friday, the Texas Governor was indicted on two counts: ...
-1
votes
1answer
28 views

I need help with the correct usage of You and Me/I [on hold]

when is it right to say "you and me" and "you and I"?
4
votes
2answers
4k views

What does “be at it” mean? Is it an idiom?

In the talk show titled “How Dogs Evolved Into 'Our Best Friends'” on NPR’s “Fresh Air” aired on November 8, naturalist Mark Derr offered an intriguing story about how humans and wolves developed a ...
1
vote
4answers
227 views

How do you describe the feeling you get when you've almost dropped something but caught it in time?

Question says it all. I've had suggestions of using "relieved" or "elated", but none of them really sound like what I'm thinking of. Think about it this way. The other day, I nearly dropped my ...
1
vote
0answers
38 views

“In my younger years, early days, early years, and earlier years”?

I just wanted to express the period from when I was born to my recent days until I realized something. I initially put "in my earlier years." Then I wasn't sure if the meaning of the phrase that I ...
2
votes
3answers
97 views

IMHO, I am great? [on hold]

I am not a native English speaker. I was wondering if the phrase "in my humble opinion, my proposal is interesting because ..." is contradictory? I am trying to say that something I proposed/said ...
14
votes
13answers
7k views

Euphemism for “There's more than one way to skin a cat”

Growing up in the 80s, I ended up hearing/using this phrase a lot whenever I wanted to express that there was more than one way to do something: "there's more than one way to skin a cat." I have ...
-1
votes
0answers
33 views

Supermarket English [on hold]

Please check if these sentences sound natural. If not, please correct them. We currently have a special on apples. Double-bagged paper, please. We do not accept bills larger than a twenty. Can I ...
3
votes
4answers
143 views

A phrase that captures the concept of making oneself falsely appear to be guilty for purpose of discrediting another party

Perhaps this is more of a trope, but I'm looking for a phrase or word in English that describes the situation where: (a) "Party A" consciously performs actions that establish a false expectation of ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Origin of “kettle of fish”

What is the origin of the phrase "kettle of fish"? e.g. It's was a good film. But the sequel is a different kettle of fish. It seems to simply mean "thing", but in a fun and witty way. But I ...
0
votes
2answers
118 views

What would be a proper alternative word or phrase for “social network”, but have the same impact or meaning? [closed]

What people normally first think in my opinion when they hear "social network". What else could you say apart from social network?
2
votes
1answer
44 views

Is the phrase “There are many hungers it is better to deny than to feed” correct?

The "it is" seems out of place to me. I'd rather have it written as "There are many hungers that/which are better to deny than to feed".
1
vote
3answers
81 views

Synonym for: It may take longer than expected (ie. a meeting)

For instance: I have a meeting today that is scheduled until 15h00 but it may take longer. In dutch we would say: Het kan uitlopen. How would I say this?
4
votes
5answers
1k views

“Needs cleaned” or “needs to be cleaned”

I'm from Western Pennsylvania. Until I moved away, I never realized that when I omitted the to be from phrases like needs to be cleaned, my usage was different than what most English speakers are ...
0
votes
2answers
28 views

Article and plural for a title of a section

Which one of the following titles is better? (1) The Specifying of the Planning Horizon (2) Specifying of the Planning Horizon (3) Specifying of Planning Horizons The context is : a ...
2
votes
3answers
3k views

Is the usage of “in your humble opinion” correct?

We use "in my humble opinion" to express humility. But I even see usage of "in your humble opinion" to ask for others' opinions. What does it mean? I see the usage in the original message here, ...
6
votes
5answers
2k views

Is ‘toss a bone to somebody’ a popular English idiom?

I came across the phrase ‘toss a bone’ in the headline of the New York Times article (July 15) in its Business section that reads “As a Watchdog Starves, Wall Street Is Tossed a Bone.” I checked ...
0
votes
1answer
63 views

Gentleman famous phrases [on hold]

So my question was about gentleman famous phrases. I would like to know some, as english is not my native tongue. If you know phrases they repeat often, and also how to finish a mail with a classy ...
3
votes
1answer
178 views

conceived of as vs. conceived as

When I want to write that some something has been "taken to mean" or "understood" or "interpreted as" XYZ, I sometimes use the phrase "to conceive of something as XYZ, where XYZ usually is a longer ...
0
votes
2answers
37 views

Is “after all” necessary in the following paragraph?

Of all the people who wanted to join the trip, Anna was the the last I expected would come. We barely knew each other at school after all, and I was pretty sure she wasn't interested in me. ...
0
votes
2answers
65 views

Similar idioms to “When the cat's away, the mice will play”

I wonder if there is any similar idioms to "When the cat's away, the mice will play." I searched on a few websites (the free dictionary, dictionary.com, and cambridge.) but there was no suggestions ...
-1
votes
0answers
26 views

BMX vocabulary? [on hold]

I need more words/phrases describing the BMX riders motion. Especially, when the riders are flying through the air or when he's riding through the Megaramp. For example, Rockets down the ramp and ...
-1
votes
0answers
39 views

In academia, to express gratitudes to someone in the Acknowledgement or the Comment [closed]

In academia, when writing an article, in the Acknowledgement or the Comment, if we hope to express gratitudes to someone in a short sentence. Should we say: Thanks to + someone for suggesting ...
20
votes
10answers
6k views

I don't like potatoes or ice-cream [closed]

I am struggling to find the correct grammar for a fairly simple sentence. "I don't like potatoes or ice-cream". This appears to be incorrect because it is a contraction of the two clauses "I ...
3
votes
3answers
54 views

Meaning of “by some margin”

Could you please explain the meaning of this? I have it in a sentence - The speaker was, by some margin, the youngest person in the room. I am a translator from English to Czech and I can´t find it ...
2
votes
1answer
157 views

Does a phrase exist that one uses to another person who is about to sneeze?

"Bless you" or "God bless you" are commonly used after a sneeze but does one exist (or was one once commonly used but no longer) when a person is obviously about to sneeze?
0
votes
2answers
30 views

what does it mean to “betray contempt for” someone? [closed]

I came across this phrase in a quotation from Carl Sagan, "they betray contempt for the intelligence of their customers". From the context, it seems to mean "to show contempt", but I couldn't parse ...
1
vote
1answer
8k views

“Would have” and “would have no”

Could you describe about "would have ~ed" & "would have not ~ed". I know would has the several meanings. But when I was talking with one of my friend who is a native speaker and in this following ...
4
votes
4answers
548 views

What is it called when you say something but it does not imply for the other?

I'm really lost for words... For example, I like people with short hair. But then someone could say, so you hate people with long hair? But, of course, I did not give any information on people with ...
2
votes
2answers
103 views

What's the correct way to puncuate “Now, on with the show!”?

Title says it all. When I say it, I often pause after now. Not sure if it's correct to have the comma there or not.
0
votes
2answers
66 views

What is the basic meaning of 'blueprint'?

I just want to know the meaning of blueprint. Some websites say it's a method of printing, some say it merely means a pattern or design used by engineers or architects to document their ideas. I ...
0
votes
2answers
47 views

What does “the balcony is really far away” mean?

Yesterday, I watched MasterChef America. There were two teams competing in the challenge of cooking and serving food at a football game. There were 100 voters and the red team won the blue team by 51 ...
0
votes
0answers
41 views

He didn't so much as thank me OR to thank me?

I have heard both ways 'He didn't so much as thank me' and 'He didn't so much as to thank me'. Which is correct and is the other wrong or can it be used colloquially? Thank you.
-2
votes
1answer
34 views

I am trying to find something to express 'In the spotlight'

I am building a cold case discussion forum and want a phrase like IN THE SPOTLIGHT for cases that will be highlighted....or I would like to 'heat up'....help?
17
votes
2answers
7k 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
votes
1answer
378 views

What Part of speech is “back” in my sentences

Back in time. Back in those days What part of speech is "Back" in those sentences
4
votes
9answers
152 views

Word/phrase for importance being reduced

For example when you stop doing one thing before it's finished, and start something else because you, or someone else, considers it more important than the thing you were doing. The thing you was ...
0
votes
1answer
44 views

“At the service of” versus “in the service of”

In doing a translation on duolingo, another translator had translated a phrase to say "at the service of X". I edited this to "in the service of X" and left a comment that as a native speaker, hearing ...
5
votes
2answers
344 views

What does “Mercy within mercy within mercy" mean?

I saw a lot of articles in these couple of days about Pope Francis’ reflection of his style, influences and priorities as pope in the recent interview with La Civilta Cattolica, the Jesuit journal in ...
0
votes
2answers
51 views

Can a person have a “dextrous mind”?

Can we say that a man has a dextrous mind? This would mean that he has a highly skilled brain which is capable of excelling at a certain mental activity, or that he as an individual is capable of ...
4
votes
4answers
553 views

“Most” vs. “most of”

During most of history, humans were too busy to think about thought. Why is "most of history" correct in the above sentence? I could understand the difference between "Most of the people" and ...
5
votes
1answer
21k views

What does “beggars belief” mean?

What does beggars belief mean, in general and in this sentence? It beggars belief that removing the tag was so urgent that you couldn't wait for a response more than 40 minutes before removing it. ...
11
votes
5answers
40k views

Origin of the idiom “falling off the wagon”

I often hear the idiom "falling off the wagon", as in "Has Robert Downey Jr. fallen off the wagon?" (i.e. Is he drinking alcohol again?). Where did the phrase originate? What wagon? And why is being ...
0
votes
0answers
22 views

“Has proven” or “Has proven to be”? [duplicate]

Is there a difference between "The medicine has proven effective" and " The medicine has proven to be effective"? Both seem to make sense, but I usually see "has proven to be" followed by a noun ...
-1
votes
4answers
1k views

Grammatical name and function

What is the grammatical name and function of the parts of this sentence that are capitalized: The boy WHOSE SHOES WERE DAMAGED could not go with the others.
0
votes
1answer
75 views

Not too expensive v.s. affordable

I'm building a website and I need to choose between 'not too expensive' and 'affordable'. The sentence: Reliable, stable, secure, great support and of course not too expensive! or Reliable, ...