Questions tagged [expressions]

This tag is for questions about expressions. Expressions are words or phrases used to convey an idea, or else a particular term used conventionally to express something. Consider phrase-requests and expression-requests if you are looking for an expression, phrase-meaning if you are unsure about the usage of a given phrase.

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Can the expression 'how to do sth. and doing sth' be used in writing or oral English? [closed]

If it can, is the verb singular or plural?
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How does a person say they care but can’t solve anothers’ problems if they don’t accept responsibility for their life and finances [migrated]

My sister constantly wants to lay her problems on me and expects solutions, ie she earns a good salary driving a truck but basically lives in her truck but wants to live with me when she isn’t driving ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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what does the expression "I was feathered" mean?

I'm reading "A Day No Pigs Would Die." I’d just wound up running away from Edward Thatcher and running away from the schoolhouse. I was feathered if I was going to run away from one darn ...
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I'm sorry THAT I didn't hear you [closed]

Is it wrong to put 'that' after I'm sorry in "I'm sorry THAT I didn't hear you"?
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Is it correct to say: "When do you have the time" to tell someone he can do a thing when he has the time [closed]

I asked someone to do something for me, but he cannot do that thing right now. I want to reply him back that it's not an urgent thing, he can do the thing that I want whenever he has the time in the ...
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launch an attack in soccer game?

Can we say 'launch an attack' in the soccer game when I kick off? Thanks. eg As the goal keeper, you need to launch an attack quickly and effectively. Is this expression correct? Or just 'kick the ...
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Words and expressions request for order

My mom bought home some fruit last week and before we are able to finish them all she got some more today so she told me, translated to English from my first language, that I should eat the fruit that ...
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To "provide an example of" - what does "of" refer to? [closed]

Basically, I am asking myself if both of the following ways are valid: He provides an example of dogs, namely the husky. He provides an/the example of the husky, which is a dog. Note that one time ...
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Is a phrase "A table for two" correct or should I always add word "people"? [closed]

Is it grammatically correct to say "A table for two, please", without saying "for two people"?
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1 answer
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What does "forty-four tears hell out of a man" mean

In "East of Eden" the Sheriff tells Kate that Adam Trask is "a forty-four tears hell out of a man". Is that an expression in English? I've never encountered it before, neither has ...
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How old is the expression "walking distance"?

I'm curious about how long we've described distances as "walking" and if it's been used over a long period, what distance did it refer to over time? The Online Etymological Dictionary, while ...
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Usage of "ran into" [closed]

I am writing a short text, and I am not sure about its correctness, because all the examples I've seen about the usage of "ran into", are done in its active form . "I ran into my cousin ...
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Consensus needed [closed]

Which reads better? I would like to discuss value and worth, and myriad other issues. or I would like to discuss value and worth, and a myriad of other issues.
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1 answer
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Can we say "the sky is fine" when decribing weather? [closed]

I saw this sentence in a middle school exercise book: In the afternoon the sky will be fine and the sun will begin to shine. It sounds like something bad has happened to the sky in the morning, ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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What's the meaning of 'couldn't make your car'? [duplicate]

It was a situation that the police were trying to stop a driver who ran two stop signs. The driver finally got out of the car and said "I couldn't make your car". From a publication article ...
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-2 votes
1 answer
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What does "inside references" mean?

All commencement speakers who shamelessly pander with cheap, inside references designed to get childish applause, will be forced to apologize It's from Conan's commencement speech and I'm not sure ...
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Phrase like "margin of error" or "buffer" but specifically about spare team capacity?

I am trying to think of a phrase that means something like "margin of error" or "buffer," but specifically applying to spare capacity of a working team within a company. "...
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1 vote
1 answer
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"Neither wonder" - is it a thing?

In response to a surprising realisation, one might say something like "No wonder {x} is {y}". However for a great deal of my life I was apparently erroneously saying "Neither wonder&...
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Acting mature without being mature

One of my characters is a woman in her late twenties who is emotionally immature and has little life experience, but tries to act more mature than she is. Is there a word/expression/idiom to describe ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Meaning of add texture to something (a plan, discussion, etc.)

I was having a conversation with a senior executive about launching a new initiative. He said he would like to get behind it, but I need to add a bit more texture to the whole proposal. What does ...
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What is the meaning of "He scowled ahead of him"?

Reading Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse, I just found the expression “He scowled ahead of him” and it struck me as something I'd never heard or read before. The context is that this guy is sitting ...
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What's a name/term for someone who bases their opinions and speech on being liked by as many people (or most accepted) as possible? [duplicate]

A "consensus filter" where their main concern is "will people be alright with me thinking this?"
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"Agriculture" including only plants and excluding animals

In English, "agriculture" includes the cultivation of both plants and animals for food. In some languages, a cognate such as "agricultura" (in Spanish) may contemplate only plants ...
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1 answer
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"That's a good question" as a response to an inquiry

Why does the person being spoken to say "that's a good question". Is this response a form of condescension?
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5 votes
1 answer
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What does "careabouts" mean?

What does "careabouts" mean? I saw it in a LinkedIn video regarding jobs, workplace, etc. I searched all dictionaries but got nothing! I even got nothing on Google! Like such a thing doesn't ...
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2 votes
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Why a cow in the phrase "don't have a cow"? [closed]

Why a cow? Why not a sheep or goat in the phrase "my mom will have a cow if she finds out!"
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Is "the art and craft of ..." a common expression in English?

As a German I am wondering whether "the art and craft of" (e.g.) teaching, cooking, etc. as in the title of a book I recently came across ("The art and craft of problem solving") ...
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2 votes
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1930s slang: "low roader"

In various English consulates throughout the world in the 1930s, expatriate Britons who caused trouble due to illegal or unethical behavior were known as "bad hats." The term "bad ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Was "Get in, jump in, if you can't get in, throw your money in" once a common saying?

My great grandmother had a saying: Get in, jump in, if you can't get in, throw your money in. I've never heard anyone else use it but somehow I always had the feeling that she got it from somewhere. ...
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12 votes
2 answers
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Does anyone know the expression "Aye Gannies" (or perhaps the spelling is "I gonees")

Growing up in the Missouri Ozarks we had a neighbor named Hicks who used this expression. One of Mr. Hick's frequent and unique expressions was, “I Gannies” (the “a” was short). The only other times ...
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What's a phrase or idiom for when a person does a task already completed because they didn't know it was done? [duplicate]

Is there a phrase or idiom for "so we don't both do the same thing".
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2 votes
1 answer
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What is the definition and origin of the phrase "force the straits"?

I've seen the phrase used often in information about the WWI Gallipoli campaign ("forcing the straits" or "force the Dardanelles"). I know what force means (power, or using power ...
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What does "rock 'n' roll" mean in this sentence? ("dispensing a little rock 'n' roll to any character ...)

I'm trying to understand a commentary on the novel Crossroads, by American novelist Jonathan Franzen. Below is one sentence I have been unable to comprehend. Dispensing a little "rock 'n' roll&...
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0 votes
1 answer
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What is a another way to describe a union stronger than the parts? [duplicate]

I am looking for a beneficial way to describe the merger of two companies where the sum of the two is stronger than the two halves - where each brings something the other needs.
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4 votes
2 answers
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What does "a tall question" mean?

During a talk, I heard the expression "this is a tall question". May someone explain what does it mean?
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1 vote
2 answers
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Is there a phrase for a person who supports something which is bad for them and is held up as proof that the bad policy is good?

Is there a phrase which describes the situation in which a person supports something that is detrimental for them, and then held out as evidence that the detrimental policy is correct? For example: ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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What is the exact meaning of 'give me a pair of'? [closed]

Does a pair always means '2 of something' or can it be used more generically to indicate 'a few of something'? What is the exact amount indicated by 'a pair'? Is there a different meaning whether a ...
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What does honey hustler means?

Hi I am not native english speaker. I just wanna know what does mean when girl says about herself she is honey hustler. Especialy when she is like postitute or former prn actress. Thank you for your ...
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3 votes
2 answers
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English equivalent for the Aramaic idiom "eyes so jealous they cannot carry"

That isn't a literal translation, but it's essentially similar. When someone is jealous of you or your success and are resentful about it, in response we say "their eyes cannot carry"; Which ...
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"hot for what you got"

The dialogue in an American TV show goes like this It's just that he walked you to the door, and where I come from, that means he's hot for what you got. How can we rephrase "hot for what you ...
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"deep run" - what does it mean?

In "a deep run" seen in the sentences below, what does "run" mean? a chance at making a deep run in the tournament Panama did not appear poised for a deep run they were usually ...
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13 votes
2 answers
2k views

Can I use "be exposed to" for positive things?

Is this sentence correct: In order to learn a language, best practice is to be exposed to that language via movies or talking in person. Can I use "be exposed to" for positive things? If ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
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Unidentified word or construction [closed]

There is a puzzling sequence of words in the following text (bold type). We live in a society in which money is needed to survive. Unfortunately, many people work in no-end jobs just to have some ...
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Expression for treating people for punishment/demotion/embarrassment?

When a boss does not like someone, and gives them a meaningless job to embarrass them. Is there a expression for such treatment, e.g. put in a dog house?
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1 vote
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How to use "Some more so than others"?

Consider the following sentence: Americans all around the world felt a sense of pride, some more so than others. Is such a usage of the phrase correct?
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A catchy way to say that someone "backed off from a deal"

I need to find an expression, idiom, or image to say: "They backed off from the deal before it even started."
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1 vote
1 answer
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Modern usage of the word 'hearken'

I'm doing some translation work and would like to use the word 'hearken' as the original piece (Chinese) has a religious and traditional feel to it. Question: Would the sentence, "Such an ...
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Formal alternatives to “I’m always down for...”

I want to say that “I’m always down for a diagnostic challenge”. I have tried, “I always welcome a diagnostic challenge.” Any other ideas of a way to make this more formal?
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up by 6% over ANY previous year?

What does this "up by 6% over any previous year"? Since 2019, Clarksville-Montgomery County has added over 6,000 new jobs and, even with the decline in travel from the pandemic, in the last ...
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3 votes
3 answers
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Why do some people say “negative growth” instead of using a single word indicating a decrease?

I am not a native English speaker, nor am I an economist. I have heard the term "negative growth" used in the context of Gross National Product (GNP), and it seems that it is also used in ...
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