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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.

0
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0answers
14 views

In the form of a human being or in the a form of a human being? [on hold]

What is correct? 'In the form of a human being' or 'in a form of a human being'?
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2answers
67 views

Is there an English metaphor/saying for this expression?

I'm translating a book and the author has written down a saying that can be translated literally as "If you want to hit a dog you can easily/quickly find a stick" Like, if I wanted to hit a dog, ...
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1answer
50 views

What made “You'd better!” a threat?

When and why did the expression "You'd better!" come to have threatening undertones? The structure seems to be helpful in its essence (e.g., "You had better throw out that banana or fruit flies will ...
1
vote
1answer
37 views

A name/word suggestion for person who travels the world and collects rare items of decor/furniture

For a project that I am doing, I need a name or word suggestion. The premise is that a individual is an explorer, or a traveller on adventures to far flung places, and collects & finds unique ...
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0answers
33 views

The past tense of “sink” is either “sank” or “sunk” [closed]

I've got it, maybe. The past tense of "sink" is either "sank" or "sunk". -I had assumed there was the past tense "sank" only. There is the colloquial phrase "You sunk my..." in some game or ...
2
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2answers
41 views

Is there any expression for explaining that someone justifies his wrongdoings by mentioning the others'?

Is there any expression for explaining that someone justifies his wrongdoings by mentioning the others'? For example, when someones says that because everyone cheats, I also can cheat.
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0answers
25 views

“on the inside” vs. “inside”

I saw a phrase "get mad on the inside" on this comic and I wonder why the author do not just write "get mad inside": http://www.poorlydrawnlines.com/comic/not-mad/ Is there any difference between ...
1
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0answers
22 views

Is the phrase 'Going forward' an adverbial phrase? Are there any particular contexts in which it can or cannot be used?

I recently was asked this question by one of my colleagues, if this was an adverb or an adjective. While I figure it cannot be an adjective, I presumed it is an adverbial phrase. Would I be right to ...
0
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0answers
20 views

Baby due date expected “on” or “in” [duplicate]

I am writing emails to relatives notifying that my wife is pregnant and we are expecting the birth on/in early August. Should I say: The due date is expected on August or The due date is ...
0
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1answer
45 views

Trying to extract information in a casual manner - Which word or phrase can be best used to describe it? [on hold]

Someone (person A) is trying to extract information in a conversation in a casual manner, probably with malintent, without the other person (person B) noticing that they (B) are actually divulging ...
0
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2answers
29 views

What's a trendy word for an 'information capsule'. A short snippet of information

In French we might say 'info-capsule' to designate a short block of information. There may be 'info-capsules' on a variety of topics but they are always short and may point to other resources. What ...
2
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1answer
40 views

What is it called when a word repeated?

reduplication? If you make the tuna salad I'll make the "salad-salad" That car is mine but it isn't "mine mine" it's my brother's I like him but I don't "like-like" him
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1answer
19 views

Is “this 'Joshua' character” a crude way of talking about someone?

I am writing a letter to a friend (Joshua) for his birthday and I want to recount all I had heard about him before we met. An excerpt: Since I got to know Aditya, I had been hearing about this '...
1
vote
1answer
22 views

What is the error name of “incorrect” but semantically valid variations of fixed expressions (e.g., “false news” instead of “fake news”)?

What is it called when one says "false news" but they mean "fake news" and just didn't notice the difference or didn't realize it mattered? It's like an eggcorn but the way it sounds is not quite the ...
1
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2answers
77 views

be the face of something

be the face of something: to represent the nature or character of an organization, industry, system etc, and the way it appears to people This is the sense I came to using the Longman definition. ...
-2
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1answer
33 views

What is the meaning of the phrase “What it could do though” [closed]

Could you please explain the meaning of the phrase "what it could do though"? Is it usually used as below? What it could do though is S+V
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0answers
25 views

“Idea of a” or “idea of”?

For example, is it correct to say "the idea of a deity" or "the idea of deity" when referring to the concept of deity in general?
1
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1answer
86 views

“Last days of Rome” phrase, meaning with examples

I would be interested to know the origin and evolution of meaning, along with example usage, for the phrase "last days of Rome".
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1answer
34 views

Why is the word 'appetite' appropriate in this context?

In his book about Bill Clinton, Christopher Hitchens describes how, in a 1992 speech on an event hosted by Jesse Jackson, Clinton "ambushed" Jackson by picking a fight with certain anti-White rap ...
-1
votes
4answers
61 views

Expression for a still body of water that captures pleasant atmosphere

I am searching for a word or expression that describes a still body of water, perhaps a lake. The expression should preferably also capture the pleasant atmosphere of no waves and minimal sound.
0
votes
1answer
29 views

Lt. Columbo's “It didn't take me until July”

Heard the following exchange in the Columbo episode An Exercise in Fatality: Lt. Columbo: You removed the bulb on the phone in the living room so the line wouldn't light up (...). Milo Janus:...
1
vote
1answer
40 views

Is “pushing at an open door” a common expression in English? [closed]

I'm not sure if the expression "pushing at an open door" is used and understood by a native English speaker.
3
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3answers
79 views

“too dumb not to ~”

It's a scene from Captain America: The First Avenger. In this scene, he is talking to his friend who has always fought against bullies and never run away from them even though he was weak. But for ...
1
vote
1answer
56 views

Is the English phrase “I'm cool in, anyway” right?

I'm writing an English oral script for a test. In my script, there are three roommates in a dormitory. A asks them: 'Guys, did you got any plan for this holiday?' B replied: 'Not really, any ...
0
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1answer
45 views

Meaning of phrase “knock against sth.” [closed]

I have encountered the phrase "... the knock against [sth.]" from this reddit comment. Does this mean that the person has concerns or problem with [sth.]? Is this expression used commonly? The full ...
57
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12answers
13k views

“Whatever a Russian does, they end up making the Kalashnikov gun”? Are there any similar proverbs in English?

I'm translating a Russian blog post into English and got stuck with the proverb, "Whatever a Russian does, they end up making the Kalashnikov gun." (Humorously meaning it's hard or even impossible to ...
0
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1answer
21 views

American communities vs communities in America

Is there a difference in meaning between: "Helping migrants became part our communities in America." vs "Helping migrants become part of our American communities." It feels like option 1 is more ...
1
vote
0answers
37 views

Is “barrel of eels” a common expression? What are alternatives

"To me, literature is something much more alive. More like a barrel of eels. When a writer creates a new eel, it wriggles its way into the barrel, muscles a path into the great teeming mass from which ...
-1
votes
1answer
67 views

How do you spell Vitral - meaning saying bad inaccurate things I believe? [closed]

I'm trying to find the word, which I believe is something like "Vitral", like when someone is saying bad and/or inaccurate things, such as: This guy has been spewing a bunch of inaccurate vitral ...
1
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0answers
36 views

he raised his upper body with his left knee and right foot on the ground [closed]

what i want to describe is in the picture i attached thank you
0
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1answer
19 views

A Question about “full marks”

Is that correct to say that I have completed several courses with full marks? I want to say that I have finished some courses that I obtained full marks in exams. Does it make sense to use the ...
5
votes
3answers
239 views

How would you say “es muy psicólogo”? [closed]

Good afternoon! In Spanish, some people tend to say: "fulanito es muy psicólogo". How would you say in English that a person is "muy psicólogo o psicóloga"? Thank you very much in advance.
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1answer
39 views

What does it mean by the phrase “not my story to tell”

I recently heard the phrase in the season 3 of Blindspot series. One of the characters used this phrase: Well, if i knew it, i'd swear that i'd tell you, but it's not my story to tell, so, sorry. ...
3
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3answers
108 views

Does “shooting for effect” have contradictory meanings in different areas?

I only know one meaning for "shooting for effect". It's the sort of thing a SWAT team commander might say to indicate that no one is terribly interested in interrogating the subjects. Basically, it ...
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0answers
26 views

What is the meaning of “the best worst thing”?

What does the expression "the best worst thing" mean? Yes, that's without any slashes and/or commas. I tried a quoted Google search but it didn't surface anything that explains the meaning; only ...
5
votes
1answer
61 views

Is “a such thing”… a thing?

John McWhorter, a Columbia U linguistics professor who hosts the excellent "Lexicon Valley" podcast, has on several occasions used the phrase a such thing where I would have said such a thing. I ...
0
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0answers
23 views

Is there a phrase like “preaching to the choir” but with the opposite meaning? [duplicate]

"Preaching to the choir" means you're making a point to a group of people who all already agree with you. Is there a similar phrase, meaning you're making a point/argument to a group of people who ...
0
votes
1answer
23 views

Efficient way to describe someone employed but not at the place you're talking about [closed]

The context I'm describing a particular type of school: privately-owned, a very specific subject taught, and along with the actual employees of the school, there are "coaches" who currently work ...
0
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2answers
59 views

swatting flies with a sledge hammer [closed]

Is the phrase "swatting flies with a sledge hammer" a proper way to say that something is a litle bit too complicated?
5
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1answer
105 views

Origin of “sleep like a log”

In English you can say: sleep like a log (or top) Sleep very soundly. ‘I slept like a log until morning’ In Spanish we have the exact same expression, dormir como un leño, which is an ...
1
vote
1answer
47 views

“Safe Drive Save Life”?

"Safe Drive Save Life" is the name of a program initiated by the Government of West Bengal, a state in East India. You could look it up here and here. Every time I go to the capital of West Bengal, ...
1
vote
1answer
27 views

“This/That is, ” used at the beginning of a sentence to clarify a concept from the previous sentence

According to an English native speaker who works with me, the "This is" bit in the following sentence should be replaced by "That is": In fact, the feature space need not be unique. This is, for a ...
1
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0answers
33 views

The meaning of “to look at the lake”

I can't find it anywhere else as of right now, but I've seen people using this expression several times and I still haven't been able to understand what it means. I tried looking for its meaning on ...
0
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2answers
42 views

what does “17 times out of his nerdy sweater-vest-wearing league” mean? [closed]

what does "17 times out of his nerdy sweater-vest-wearing league" mean? I heard it in a drama called "This Is Us". Kevin was taking about the moment his brother, Randall, got crush on a girl who is ...
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votes
2answers
68 views

Is it correct to say ‘I will go there in my own way’? [closed]

To express that I will use my own transportation means and route to get there rather than going with a group following the proposed route, can I say, ‘I will go (or get) there in my own way’? Does it ...
35
votes
7answers
8k views

How come people say “Would of”? [duplicate]

I often read the expression “would of” used instead of “would have”. Each time I read it I get annoyed so I googled it and found out -as I expected- that it is an incorrect way to say “would have”. ...
3
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1answer
100 views

Burning the candle at the other end

I came across this while reading "Along came a spider" by James Patterson. Chapter 48 begins with the sentence: The rest of that day, I burned the candle at the other end. Followed by: It ...
3
votes
5answers
344 views

Voyeurism but not really [closed]

I am looking for a word or phrase that portrays the feeling of watching an intimate (but not sexual) moment unfold. Some context; A is keeping a watchful eye on E because he is worried about her ...
-1
votes
1answer
37 views

What does “too by the numbers” mean? [closed]

I've read the phrase: The book was ok but a bit too by the numbers. What does "too by the numbers" mean? Searching for it in Google gives 286,000 results, but can't find a definition for it.
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2answers
27 views

Is there another way to say, “drive the point in further?” or belabor the point?"

In a work I am writing, two characters are having a discussion that becomes quite heated. The man makes an observation about the woman that is less than flattering and then while she's still ...