4
votes
6answers
19k views

What does “everything's gone pear-shaped” mean?

I've recently heard this phrase spoken twice on a British television show, and I assume it means something along the lines of, "everything's fallen apart," generally meaning, things are bad right now. ...
3
votes
2answers
293 views

Etymology of close |kləʊz| (klōz) & close |kləʊs| (klōs)

In doing research for the question Is it “close-minded” or “closed-minded”?, which was in turn prompted by the discussion under this answer to another question, I realized that some of the confusion ...
0
votes
5answers
737 views

What's a short phrase meaning “visited and ascended” (e.g. a tower)?

Is there a short and clear word or phrase, that is not pretentious-sounding, meaning "visited and ascended", as in buildings, e.g. Bert visited the lobby of Empire State Building, but Ernie went up to ...
28
votes
7answers
22k views

Is “used in anger” a Britishism for something?

On a different board, someone referred to a computer language that had achieved popularity beyond the academic world as "used in anger", the way a shot fired in combat instead of on the practice range ...
3
votes
1answer
231 views

Is it correct to say “This train not taking passengers”?

I hear this announcement often at the train-station. Is this grammatically correct, without an 'is' after the word 'train'?
7
votes
6answers
7k views

Translation for Dutch “tot en met”: until and including?

In Dutch language we use the expression "tot en met" to signify a quantity between two measures including the last measure. So, for instance, the following: woensdag 22 juni tot en met vrijdag 24 ...
5
votes
3answers
18k views

“Exchanged with” vs. “exchanged for”

Is "exchanged with" grammatically correct and does it mean the same thing as "exchanged for?" "For" and "with" don't normally seem interchangeable, so these two phrases should be different, yet they ...
17
votes
2answers
14k views

Does “filling out” equal to “filling in”?

I quoted the following from a pamphlet: Please read the instructions carefully before filling out the application form. The application will be returned to you and the registration may be ...
3
votes
6answers
7k views

What is the pronunciation of “Aussie”? [closed]

I know that Australians pronounce Aussie like Oz-ee. However, how should Americans pronounce it? I have, in the past, politely corrected Americans when I hear the typical "aw-see" (\ä-sē\). It ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

“Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back”

Does the phrase "satisfaction guaranteed or your money back" make any sense from a grammatical standpoint?
3
votes
6answers
12k views

Alternative terms for meaning “wake up”

What other terms or expressions can be used to say "wake up", either slang or not? I have read about "quake up", but as English is not my natural language I am not sure of how used is this ...
1
vote
4answers
188 views

“Arrival of Nightfall”

Does it make sense to say that something waited until the "arrival of nightfall"? It sounds a little awkward (maybe because nightfall occurs rather than arrives?). Perhaps there is a better way to say ...
2
votes
6answers
4k views

How can I greet a group of teachers?

Suppose I'm walking in my school corridor and there are 4–5 teachers standing in the hallway. How can I greet them all at once? Anything better than "Greetings, teachers"?
2
votes
4answers
16k views

Is it “as God is my witness,“ or ”as God as my witness"? [closed]

I have seen both "as God is my witness", which makes sense but sort of puts God in a supportive role, and "as God as my witness", which sounds wrong to me but I don't know, might be an olde tyme ...
2
votes
3answers
12k views

What is the difference between “little” and “a little”?

I would like to know how these two words differ in usage. Which one is singular? Which one is plural? I would greatly appreciate if you could provide me with a sample usage of these phrases.
2
votes
1answer
4k views

Whence the phrase, “in short order”?

In British English, at least, it's quite common to hear that something will be done 'in short order'. For example, He's going to finish that paperwork in short order. or: He'll be leaving the ...
0
votes
1answer
754 views

How do I ask a question about someone's order of birth? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Framing a question whose answer is an ordinal number How to phrase an asking sentence that must be answered with an ordinal number? How to ask a question to get a cardinal ...
49
votes
7answers
4k views

English counterpart to Japanese signal word, “Dokkoisho”

What is an English counterpart to the Japanese signal word, “Dokkoisho” uttered unconsciously in such case as sitting down on the bench? When you get old, it becomes tough to move your body. We ...
3
votes
7answers
64k views

What is the expression to suggest a few dates and times to meet?

Let's say a friend of mine tells me the following: Nice! Let’s meet up for a drink this week. And I want to say, "Sure let's do it. I will propose a few ..., and you tell me if either of them ...
0
votes
3answers
690 views

The phrase “to pour cloud water”

I've came across this article which uses the phrase "poured cloud water". Is this a well known expression? Searching Google, the first page shows me only places where this article is quoted. From the ...
11
votes
5answers
1k views

Intention of rising pitches

I have been wondering about the rising pitch used in almost every sentence, by especially young Americans. What is the purpose/intention of rising pitch except in questions? Is it friendly and ...
5
votes
10answers
19k views

How does one pronounce “nihilism”?

I have heard this word pronounced somewhat similar to [the River] Nile-ism as well as similar to Neal-ism. The former is obviously because of the German or possibly Russian pronunciation, but how ...
2
votes
3answers
176 views

Is “webdesigner” a word?

I am a uh, designer of websites, and I would like to use the phrase for my profession correctly. Unfortunately, webdesigner is flagged by Google Chrome's spellchecker as a misspelling, and web ...
0
votes
3answers
2k views

Meaning in context and grammar

From Narnia book 1 chapter 1: "Is Mr Ketterley really mad?" "Well either he's mad," said Digory, "or there's some other mystery. He has a study on the top floor and Aunt Letty says I ...
5
votes
2answers
897 views

How were key positions on the typical QWERTY keyboard chosen? [closed]

It's hard to know where to ask this question, but I decided to ask it here because of how uniquely the keyboard relates to the language being typed. The keyboard appears to be English-specific, but ...
2
votes
3answers
578 views

Is it better to say “How do I…” or “How can I…”?

Is it better to say "How do I do something?" or "How can I do something?"
2
votes
4answers
987 views

Why does my spellchecker vindicate “floccinaucinihilipilification”?

I have heard of this word as cited to contain the most i's of all English words. I had never heard of it before, but when I copied and pasted it into my email program, lo and behold, the picky ...
2
votes
2answers
741 views

American pronunciation of “professor” and “law”

In this video, around 0:45, when Amy Chua says "I am a professor at Yale law school". I was wondering why her mouth pouted twice, once at the end of "professor" and the other between "law" and ...
4
votes
4answers
4k views

No loitering sign: “Police Take Notice”

I'm a native English speaker and I've never been able to really parse this one. Is it a command aimed at the police? If so, shouldn't it be "police, take notice"? Is this construction used anywhere ...
19
votes
4answers
4k views

If Christopher is a “carrier of Christ” then what is Jennifer carrying?

I was told in a Latin class that the name Christopher has Greek roots that mean "one who carries Christ". I assume that the Latin connection here is fero, which is the verb to carry. With that in ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Is there a term for switching syllables of words?

Primary question: A common speaking mistake is to exchange syllables of words, saying "It's trace rhyme!" instead of saying "It's race time!", or pronouncing "kickin' chackatory" instead of "chicken ...
15
votes
3answers
19k views

Fine semantic differences between “thus” and “therefore”

I have seen a few Q&A's with this title but none really reflects my question. I am aware both are adverbs and so forth and how they syntactically can be used equivalently, but what about ...
6
votes
12answers
3k views

What would you call the object of an activity one does for fun?

For instance, the object related to cooking is a "dish", when playing it is "sport" or "game", when singing it's a "song". Which single term would describe the object for the general act of doing ...
0
votes
1answer
179 views

“Had changed destiny”

I want to write something that means the same thing as "had changed destiny." I was going to use those words, but something didn't seem right. I googled that phrase, and came up with only one thing. ...
4
votes
3answers
33k views

Usage of “as per”

Could you show me how to use the word as per in a sentence? Can I make sentences something like the following: I changed the image as per the suggestion of my boss. Or could you give me an ...
2
votes
3answers
7k views

Origin of “zero”

Dictionary.com gave the origin as: 1595–1605; < Italian < Medieval Latin zephirum < Arabic ṣifr cipher I'm just wondering who coined the actual English term 'zero'? I know that ...
4
votes
2answers
821 views

What's the meaning of “six words away”?

What's the meaning for "six words away"? I heard it repeatedly in the movie Coach Carter. Edit: In the scene in a bus, when the coach blasts the team for sneaking out to a party without informing ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

What's a “right old roarer” in British English?

I was reading an Amazon review just now, and came across someone (Tchaikovsky) being described as a right old roarer. I'm guessing this is familiar slang to Brits, but I'm not getting good search ...
11
votes
8answers
1k views

Word for someone who collects dice

I collect game dice as a hobby. What is a word for someone who collects dice?
0
votes
2answers
138 views

Gender question [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: Speaking about someone of unknown gender… Gender neutral pronoun I'm writing a paper about markets and mention several times providers and their offers. The ...
6
votes
6answers
1k views

A word for someone who has more skill than a code monkey to be at just the next level

A Code monkey is a computer programmer or other person who writes computer code for a living. This term may be slightly derogatory, meaning that this developer can write some code but is ...
2
votes
2answers
655 views

Use of commas and “thus far” in the “The Gettysburg Address”

It is for us the living, RATHER(should here be a comma or no comma) to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have THUS FAR so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be ...
1
vote
0answers
96 views

“I wrote a (albeit very rough) draft” or “I wrote an (albeit very rough) draft” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “a/an” preceding a parenthetical statement Does the parenthetical phrase change the "a" to an "an"? If you remove the parenthetical phrase, then you'd ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

What's the difference between “buy up” “buy down” “buy” and “purchase”

What's the different between: Buy up buy down purchase buy When they're all supposed to mean "to pay money"?
3
votes
1answer
426 views

“Unpleasant smile” vs. “unhappy smile”

Is an unpleasant smile the same as an unhappy smile? What does an unhappy smile look like? If they're not the same then what does an unpleasant smile look like?
3
votes
2answers
100k views

What does “run of house” mean with regard to hotel room type

I have seen a room type at a hotel like below; Family Room 2 Bedrooms & Living Room Run of The House Everything is OK except the Run of The House thing. What does it exactly mean here? ...
1
vote
2answers
799 views

A data compromise

I know that security people use the verb "to compromise" with the meaning of "to break", for example in "the integrity of the account has been compromised". But is it okay to also use the noun ...
66
votes
14answers
14k views

Is there a polite alternative to “No thanks, I'm full”?

English is not my native language, but when I was studying in the US, I was always trying to find an alternative to I'm full! I felt that it was a very improper way to express that I have eaten ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

what does “provide for” mean?

Interviews that asked past behavior questions demonstrated superior validity for predicting performance because they provide for an assessment of motivation to apply knowledge/skills more ...
1
vote
2answers
201 views

word/phrase for initial set of data or givens

I'm searching for a neutral phrase that conveys the concept of the initial condition/situation/position/set of givens or factors impacting an outcome. For example, the idea of a 'headstart' conveys an ...

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