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

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Another term for oxymorons

What is the term for an incongruous phrase like "domestic violence," where the word "domestic" softens or alters the meaning of "violence," or "Big Brother," which is not literally an oxymoron but is ...
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9 views

Pure Applesauce: What does it mean and when/how was it created?

I could find out what jiggery–pokery means (dishonest or suspicious activity), but what does "pure applesauce" mean? And when, where, by whom, and how was this expression created? Context: ...
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1answer
33 views

Does the phrase “Do you want a hand in this” make sense?

From someone, somewhere, I remember hearing the phrase do you want a hand in this? I was told that it meant do you want to be a part of this? However, when I googled this phrase, nothing turned up. ...
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4answers
662 views

Good English expression for sorting this between ourselves?

If there is a problem at work and I want to convey to others at a similar level to me, that I would like to solve the problem "between ourselves" and not involve the boss or management - is there a ...
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1answer
101 views

Is there any difference between “told to” and “told to do so”

I will release a new version when I'm told to. I will release a new version when I'm told to do so. Is there any difference in the meaning of the two sentences and which one would I use in an ...
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1answer
48 views

Is the phrase “in addition to the above” correct?

I used the phrase "in addition to the above" in the following manner: We have lorems and ipsums, because the foo needs a bar every now and then. There are also dolers, sits, and amets, which we ...
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1answer
145 views

Question/Matter of definition?

A "Definitionsfråga", as it is called in Swedish, is for instance if you talk about what's good and bad, you can remark that it depends on what you mean by good and bad. You could might as well remark ...
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50 views

What are some phrases from the machine age that I can use in regular conversation? [on hold]

I have a friend who I joke around with via text. We call each other old sport, ol' boy, dear chum, and use phrases like gentleman's wager, etc. I'm trying to find more phrases from this era, which I ...
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1answer
41 views

Origin of “If X, you are in the wrong place” [on hold]

The phrase "If [X], you are in the wrong place" seems to occur frequently enough in some circumstances (but not others) that it seems to be a specific phrase. If so, what's the origin of it? An ...
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8answers
425 views

Non-technical word or phrase to describe a data “query”

The scenario is that I am replying to an email from a colleague requesting statistics from a database. I am wanting to say that the results are of the same 'query' that was run the last time (and all ...
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1answer
25 views

'In the ranks' OR 'With the ranks'

Which of the following two phrases is correct? I'd put him right there in the ranks of the best anthropologists out there. OR I'd put him right there with the ranks of the best ...
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3answers
62 views

Phrase/Idiom for increasing odds of winning by placing multiple bets

I'm looking for a phrase/idiom that represents when you increase your chances of winning some sort of gamble (or event with multiple possible outcomes) by saturating the field with bets. E.g. ...
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1answer
44 views

Is there an idiom suggesting the following fact: The name of the book belies the theme in it.

E.g.: I answer a question on ELU based on the subject line, however, I realise later that the body of the question provide a different input altogether. The name of the book belies the theme in ...
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1answer
97 views

Term when a brand name become synonymous of the product it produces [duplicate]

For example most of the people hearing "I really like my BMW" will understand than he is referring to a car whereas someone saying "I do enjoy my Lacoste" will leave doubts about what kind of ...
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2answers
60 views

Is there a word or phrase that expresses the action of “a person thinking about what another person is doing when the other person is not around”

Is there a word or phrase that expresses the action of "a person thinking about what another person is doing when the other person is not around". for example, John is sitting in his room in Kentucky, ...
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2answers
3k views

What does it mean to be “worth someone's keep”?

“Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for the worker is worth his keep. What does it mean ...
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1answer
31 views

“…whose talents reaches…”

I think in the phrase "a professional climatologist whose talents reaches far beyond that field" should be "whose talents reach" or "whose talent reaches." Am I right? If so, what is the grammar rule ...
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4answers
3k views

“make it to there” [on hold]

Consider the following two phrases which are both about going to some place: If I can't make it there If I can't make it to there Isn't the second phrase grammatically correct, whereas the ...
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3answers
535 views

Is there a term for a product having the same name as its place of origin?

Several trade products, especially food, have been named after their places of origin throughout the centuries. To mention just a few, champagne, after Champagne, France. calico, after Calicut, ...
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2answers
323 views

From Avocadoes to Asparagus, from kangaroos to koalas

What is the name of this literary saying? People use this figure of speech in order to express a wide coverage or variety of a certain class, such as vegetable species available in a market for ...
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3answers
110 views

Good Luck **in** all your endeavors' versus Good Luck **to** all your endeavors'

What is the difference between 'I am currently busy with family stuff so I really don't know when is a good time to catch up. Good Luck in all your endeavors' versus 'I am currently busy with family ...
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1answer
103 views

What types of words/phrases are “this” “here” & “they”?

I'm currently doing an analytic essay on my drama coursework (fun.). I'd like to explain how the playwright never reveals the exact setting of the act, by using only phrases such as "this","here", and ...
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3answers
285 views

How, when and where did the phrase 'state of the art' originate? [duplicate]

Volume 4 of Charles Burney, A General History of Music, From the Earliest Ages to the Present Period (1776) contains this sentence: And while it [Rousseau's Lettre sur la Musique Françoise] was ...
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1answer
38 views

What's the difference between “case by case” and “case to case”?

What's the difference between "case by case" and "case to case"? I often hear the former from my Japanese students. When I asked them where they got the phrase, they always say they learned it from ...
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1answer
36 views

“People who” or “people that” [closed]

I am doing homework and I got confused about this phrase when I was writing. I am not a native English speaker. (...) and the only way to do this was taking control of everything and being ...
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2answers
38 views

Can we use “I can put you down..” when enlisting someone for an appointment?

For example, "I can put you down on a weekend tour." As far as i know, when you use the phrase "Put you down" it's more of embarrassing someone or it could also mean that you want to kill that ...
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3answers
80 views

Every once in a while [closed]

Representatives from my recruiting company sometimes come to visit me, may be once in a six months in my office. Is it correct to write some words of appreciation to them as shown below?. "I ...
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1answer
74 views

semantic difference for the forms: “x of y” vs. “x of the y” vs. “y x”

As a non-native speaker, I have a problem understanding the difference in meaning of the following forms: "… of …" "… of the …" "… …" To be more specific, let me give some instances: "theory of ...
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0answers
47 views

couldn't be arsed [closed]

I am in no doubt whatever that this comes from, almost certainly in England and likely in the early days of the labour movement with it's heavy job delineation focus, where the management requested ...
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2answers
57 views

What are some synonymous phrases for the phrase “Turning Criminal”?

I need suggestions for different ways to say "turning criminal," as in "He began turning criminal, committing illegal acts instead of abiding by the law."
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12answers
4k views

Shoplifting vs. a word for “someone who orders, eats and sneaks without paying the check”

Shoplifting relates more to the physical possession of goods. A shoplifter may pretend to be a customer or buy some and steal many (or vice-versa). But while at a restaurant such pretense won't ...
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1answer
33 views

I must know all the facts. I cannot help you otherwise [on hold]

I must know all the facts. I cannot help you otherwise. Combine this sentence into complex sentence. I have no idea how to combine?
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1answer
57 views

Usage of “give it a read”

Is the usage of the phrase "give it a read" correct? For instance, "Hey, I have attached my essay. Do give it a read and let me know what you think".
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1answer
28 views

What are the alternatives for “May I ask…”

Before posting a question, "May I ask..." seems would make it more politely. I wonder what are the alternatives for that phrase? Seems "Pray, .." also do, but that sounds a bit Jane Austin?
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0answers
32 views

how do you say Keep Laughing in Latin [closed]

I would like to learn to say this phrase. I've tried looking on other websites and I was unsuccessful.
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2answers
76 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..."
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1answer
43 views

Comma before a conjunction that precedes an infinitive phrase?

I understand that a comma is used before "and" when the conjunction precedes an independent clause; however, I'm curious if the same rule applies when it precedes an infinitive phrase: "It was my job ...
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1answer
36 views

I lost my temper in Domino's pizza the other day and ended up pushing the bloke “behind the till” [closed]

I lost my temper in Domino's pizza the other day and ended up pushing the bloke behind the till. What is the meaning of "till" here ? Is it preferred to use such formations in general ...
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2answers
78 views

Can you use “crime scene” for a suicide? [closed]

Example: The detectives assigned to Kevin's suicide left the house. I took the opportunity to investigate the crime scene. I'm not sure if this is correct. Since suicide isn't a crime. Or ...
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1answer
36 views

What is the meaning of “contain the group”? [closed]

I come across the following BBC news: These gains have undercut the core pillar of the US strategy against IS. But airstrikes and limited ground operations by local forces can contain the group ...
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1answer
119 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
42 views

Is the phrase “horizon road” grammatically correct? [closed]

Is the phrase "horizon road" grammatically correct, and if so, is it equal to "road to horizon"?
2
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3answers
3k views

What is the origin of the phrase “wind your neck in!”?

I was wondering if anyone could shed some light on the origin of the phrase in title.
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10answers
2k views

“Sir,' I said to the universe, 'I exist.' 'That,' said the universe, 'creates no sense of obligation in me whatsoever.” [closed]

'Sir,' I said to the universe, 'I exist.' 'That,' said the universe, 'creates no sense of obligation in me whatsoever.' Does the statement mean the universe does not care about you existing ...
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5answers
5k views

Phrase or expression meaning “getting more than you bargained for”

I'm writing an article and I'd appreciate a more sophisticated phrase for the term "getting more than you bargained for". All help is greatly appreciated.
3
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0answers
2k views

What is the precise meaning of “f***” in the context of the hip hop mantra, “F*** bitches, get money”? [closed]

I've been hearing the line "Fuck bitches / Get money" in hip hop songs recently. I mostly noticed it lately in a couple of notable songs by Lil Wayne and other Young Money affiliated artists, but ...
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1answer
39 views

How can I understand “absurdly gross”

I have read a tweet: "the way Apple’s DTrace port controls processes is absurdly gross ....". How can I understand "absurdly gross" in this sentence?
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3answers
2k views

What is the action called when a grumpy old man shows that he is annoyed, by making a 'throat-clearing' sound?

Sometimes when a grumpy old man gets annoyed, he makes noises like clearing his throat. Does grumbling or grunting define that action? Is there a more appropriate word or an idiom for that?
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1answer
45 views

How to translate “other than” and “rather” in a sentence?

I have trouble with some of English phrases, such as other than and rather. I am not sure about the meaning of them. There are two sentences which include these phrases: 1- anything ending in a ...
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5answers
13k views

What does ‘play a blinder’ mean? Is it a popular phrase?

I came across the phrase ‘played a blinder’ in the following paragraph of the New York Times’ December 12 article, titled “British Euro Farce,” dealing with British Prime Minister David Cameron’s veto ...