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

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3answers
6k 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
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1answer
57 views

A phrase for a tip or trick passed down from one generation to the next

Many use the phrase life hack to describe a novel or clever solution to an everyday problem. Before this expression became popular I remember seeing another phrase in the English language to describe ...
5
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2answers
273 views

Does the phrase 'human race' allude to the idea of a relay?

Describing the history of humanity as a 'race' might seem odd to a listener who hadn't heard it before. Is the image behind this phrase alluding to the idea that human beings reproduce and pass on ...
22
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13answers
4k views

Is there an idiom for “I'm not an expert when it comes to kinds of feces”

There is an idiom in my language, which literally sounds like "I'm not an expert when it comes to kinds of feces". Which means that one considers all the instances of some group as equally bad, not to ...
0
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2answers
57 views

Usage of the phrase “over his lifetime”

Is it appropriate to use the phrase "over his lifetime" for in introducing someone if the person is still alive, i.e. "...his dedication to music over his lifetime..."
2
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4answers
152 views

Someone or something small yet capable of having big influence? [duplicate]

What is a word or phrase that means a person or thing which is quite small yet capable of having big influence and impact on society?
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0answers
14 views

“To die being hit” vs “to die from being hit.” [migrated]

What the difference between the two? Which is more commonly used by native speakers of English? Example: It’d be tragic, don’t you think? To die (from) being hit by an apple.”
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0answers
19 views

In terms of putting

I heard someone says "In terms of putting this forward,". That was unfamiliar phrase with me, putting "In terms of something" and "Putting this forward" together. When I look in a dictionary ...
0
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1answer
64 views

Use of “don't mention it” for “you're welcome”?

In which American regions is "don't mention it" used for "you're welcome"?
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1answer
30 views

Complete the sentences with the correct form of the following words [on hold]

I need to complete the two sentences with the correct form of the following words: offer, make. The sentences: Your exam grades _______ a big difference to your future career. The supermarket ...
0
votes
1answer
291 views

Use of the word “definitive edition”

Can I use the phrase "definitive edition" to explain that a product has the most up-to-date and highest quality in the field as opposite to mean "last edition of the same series"? Thank you for your ...
0
votes
2answers
36 views

“Same old story,” vs “old story.”

Example: Maybe it's the old story, maybe he just sees me as a friend. Maybe it's the same old story, maybe he just sees me as a friend. Which version is more commonly used by native ...
1
vote
1answer
64 views

did “born and bred” originally have different meaning?

Internet searching suggests the phrase "born and bred in Boston" means the same thing as "born and raised in Boston." But "bred" is the past-tense of "breed." Might "born and bred in Boston" have ...
0
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1answer
29 views

“Enact” (verb) - Phrase used

I just joined the english.stackexchange.com and I am thrilled to meet you all! I have a question to pose concerning the use of the verb "enact". I would like to know how do we use this verb to ...
0
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3answers
52 views

is the phrase “available with me” correct?

I used a bus in which the hostess said that the company magazine is available with me on demand. Is the usage of available along with with correct?
0
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3answers
60 views

How do you express high proficiency in a succinct way?

I heard the following phrase in movies: -- Do you know how to use A? -- I am a f****g surgeon with A I like it a lot, but I can imagine a lot of people will not understand the meaning. I ...
0
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1answer
27 views

Put down good money, meaning and derivation? [on hold]

Where does the expression: "Put down good money" come from, and what is its present day usage?
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votes
2answers
112 views

Come out of the closet [on hold]

'Come out of the closet ' derives from the phrase 'a skeleton in the closet'. Why is it perfectly OK to say come out of the closet but not come out of the cupboard as a follow-on the British phrase ...
0
votes
1answer
28 views

Expression of “relationship”

hi,if i want to describe“ the relationship between A and B as well as the relationship between A and C”.(A, B, C are things) can i say “the relationship of A to B and C”? Or “the relationship of A to ...
4
votes
2answers
96 views

What does “in the name of…” actually mean?

Whats the meaning of the phrase; "In the name of"? For example : whatever you ask in my name, Ask in my name. Oxford actually has an entry for the phrase, but it doesn't seem to match how it's used ...
3
votes
6answers
534 views

“Have some reason you” or “Have some reason why you”

Can the "why" be removed from the phrase "have some reason why you?" Example: Do you have some reason you ____? vs. Do you have some reason why you ____? Are these both grammatically ...
3
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3answers
343 views

Origin of phrase “pulling for you”

When somebody is going through a difficult life situation, people will commonly say, "We're pulling for you." Where did this term come from? It sounds rather strange!
4
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4answers
4k views

origin of phrase 'stone the crows'

Just as the title says — where, and how, did the phrase 'stone the crows' originate?
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votes
3answers
46 views

A formal way to express “many things go out of control”? [on hold]

In an opportunistic and alcohol motivated party many things go out of control "Many things go out of control" is common use, I could not find a proper way to express it in Formal English.
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4answers
22k views
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3answers
54 views

A formal synonym/expression for “saying that”

I need a more formal expression for "saying that" here. My supervisor told me it is informal English, but I couldn't find another formal expression Saying that rape culture is an environment ...
0
votes
1answer
28 views

Should had be used for first or second event [on hold]

I get confused about the usage of 'Had' in a sentence. Could someone please tell me which of these sentences is correct. He received an award after I had suggested his name. OR He had received an ...
0
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0answers
52 views
2
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1answer
44 views

Is there a word or phrase for knowing what to say but not how to say it?

As kind of a real-life example, I'm struggling to write a description of the Crusades from the point of view of a Catholic pope. I know that through the Crusades, the Christians basically "rescued" ...
0
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0answers
27 views

she's been amazing helping me do with my breakup [on hold]

she's been amazing helping me do with my breakup. so i didn't understand the function of (with) in this sentence
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0answers
55 views

Is using a sentence as a subject grammatically correct?

For example: Attack them directly won't do anything "Attack them directly" is a partial sentence. In this sentence, we treat that whole phrase as a subject and make a sentence from the phrase. ...
-1
votes
0answers
52 views

I'll be curious

Just wondering if it is correct to say "I'll be curious to". For example, I used the sentence "I'll be curious to read them [the text messages] later". Do I actually mean to say "I am curious to read ...
7
votes
5answers
4k views

Is ‘Set one’s hair on fire’ a popular English idiom?

Yesterday’s (September8) New York Times carried an article titled ‘Setting Their Hair on Fire’ which was written by economist, Paul Krugman. It is followed by the following sentence: “First things ...
0
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1answer
46 views

Alternatives to 'In The Pink'? [closed]

I'm looking for alternatives to 'in the pink'.
2
votes
3answers
81 views

Is there a name for this particular kind of redundant phrasing?

I'm wondering if there's a name for this particular kind of redundant phrasing: So what I'm going to do right now is, I'm going to . . . or So what you want to do is, you want to . . . I ...
2
votes
1answer
109 views

What is the origin of the phrase “Never Put a Hat on a Bed”?

I came across the phrase "never put a hat on a bed" while playing Google Feud. It was the top result for "Never put a _______". I looked it up, and found out that there's a superstition that says that ...
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1answer
31 views
0
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1answer
37 views

What does “The young graduate student was bright and eager, but green to the power of data structures.” mean?

The following sentence is from the "The Algorithm Manual" book The young graduate student was bright and eager, but green to the power of data structures. What does the green to the power of ...
1
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1answer
62 views

Word or term for propaganda associating truth with crazy people

The corporate media often write pieces about people who are deemed crazy, then proceed to ridicule things these people say or believe, which typically include some very sensible things. For example, ...
1
vote
2answers
368 views

“In the figure below” or “in the below figure”?

I frequently encounter this in technical documents and I am wondering which one is correct. In the figure below or In the below figure
15
votes
5answers
10k views

“anymore” vs. “any more”

any more requests anymore requests Are these two the same? It seems that "any more requests" is grammatically correct while "anymore requests" is not. Am I right? Why are they different?
1
vote
2answers
582 views

Is half of an amount stated as 50% less or 100% less? [closed]

I've struggled with this concept and have generally interpreted it one way for all of my life, which leads me to believe people are incorrect when they state the other form. And honestly I'm not ...
1
vote
2answers
91 views

“Robust” as a noun

Can an adjective "robust" be a noun in a sentence? And if it can't how would you say with one word "robust fellow" that can be applied to both man and woman? Because as I understand "robust fellow", ...
0
votes
1answer
59 views

What is the “theoretical” counterpart to “hands-on”?

Situation: an educational event may have two parts. In the first theoretical part, we explain the approach, big picture, some theoretical principles. In the second practical part, we give the ...
2
votes
6answers
8k views

Can “your reputation precedes you” be used as a negative statement?

I have always considered "your reputation precedes you" as a gesture of complement and respect. However it occurred to me if it is possible to use it for a notorious person with a bad reputation? ...
-1
votes
1answer
65 views

“Go to the bank” in a where question [closed]

I read an excerpt from some ESL material but I find it unconvincing: A: Excuse me. I want to go to the bank but I'm lost. B: Turn that corner. The third building is the bank. A and B are ...
0
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0answers
33 views

Concise Way to Say “Small Tasks can be as Important as Big Tasks”

I need a concise way to explain this idea: Doing the small and easy tasks can be as noble (or more worthwhile) than doing the hard tasks. Examples: 100 people can be more effective by ...
0
votes
7answers
3k views

I need another phrase for “as expected” or “it would follow”?

I am writing a technical paper where I have described an experiment resulting in "x". Then I go on to describe the result of a second experiment whose result was expected since the reason was deduced ...
1
vote
1answer
932 views

Envy is the biggest tribute

The best football (soccer) coach in the world for the past 12 years said: Envy is the biggest tribute that the shadows do to the man. Where does the phrase come from?
2
votes
1answer
65 views

Idiom or phrase to denote unfair use of someone who is nice

I am looking for an idiom or a phrase to denote the situation where someone is unfairly taken advantage of (Ex: Gets a lot of work dumped on his lap on a Friday evening like Harold in Harold and Kumar ...