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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.

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2answers
38 views

What are the best synonyms for “Pros and Cons” of using a methodology?

I'm writing my diploma thesis and I'm comparing two approaches to solving a problem. I want to write pros and cons of each approach. What are the benefits of using the specific methodology and at ...
0
votes
1answer
16 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
197 views

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

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.
0
votes
1answer
21 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
votes
3answers
95 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
27 views

“Not at all” or “I'm glad you liked it”?

How do native speakers normally answer to this thank you: "Thank you for your nice gift"? Do they reply to it with "Not at all" or "I'm glad you liked it"? Which sounds more natural? Is there any ...
0
votes
0answers
22 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
46 views

A sentence that confuses me [migrated]

The sentence is "The fact was, however, that she was always dreaming and thinking odd things and could not herself remember any time when she had not been thinking things about grown-up people and the ...
5
votes
1answer
58 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
votes
0answers
21 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
votes
0answers
13 views

Using what or which with the word circumstance [closed]

What's the correct expression: what circumstances or which circumstances?
0
votes
0answers
17 views

Plenty of similarities isn’t it.? Or Plenty of similarities aren't it? Which expression is correct [migrated]

Plenty of similarities isn’t it.? Or Plenty of similarities aren't it? Which expression is correct when we are comparing & referring to some 20 or more pictures?
0
votes
0answers
33 views

death by hanging (gallows) [closed]

I read whatever I found. If anyone could help me. In my scenario rich men do bad things and get away thanks to their money I need an intricate ironical well-known old, English expression. if possible. ...
0
votes
2answers
32 views

swatting flies with a sledge hammer

Is the phrase "swatting flies with a sledge hammer" a proper way to say that something is a litle bit too complicated?
5
votes
1answer
68 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
36 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, ...
0
votes
0answers
20 views

Expression for take a chance even when bound to fail

Any expression meaning to take a chance doing something even when you know you are pretty likely to fail because it is either too late or too difficult, etc.?
1
vote
1answer
20 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
vote
0answers
31 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
votes
2answers
33 views

what does “17 times out of his nerdy” mean? [closed]

what does "17 times out of his nerdy" 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 Randall's wife now back in ...
-2
votes
2answers
64 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
votes
0answers
75 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
335 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
36 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.
0
votes
2answers
23 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
43 views

Meaning of expression: “After the powder, the jam”

In Agatha Christie's novel "Hickory Dickory Dock" there is a scene between "employer" and "employee", where the former one begins by criticising heavily the practices of the latter but ends on a very ...
1
vote
2answers
53 views

Expression for indirectly asking someone to do something

Could there be an English expression (a verb or an idiom) for indirectly asking someone to do something that you want them to do that you find it awkward to ask them to do? For example, let's say you'...
1
vote
0answers
24 views

Friends reunited? [migrated]

I used to see my Phd Supervisor regularly every fortnight. I have not seen him for a while after my graduation. I would like now to drop him a line to say I would like to... (suggest an expression): ...
16
votes
3answers
5k views

Is “remove commented out code” correct English?

As a programmer, I often use the term "Remove commented out code" as a commit message when checking in code. I wonder whether this is correct English. To use an example outside the realm of ...
-2
votes
2answers
37 views

A word, expression or idiom to describe a problem that is not obvious but can potentially be very destructive

I am looking for a word, expression or idiom to describe a problem that is not obvious but can potentially be very destructive. Thank you!
0
votes
1answer
24 views

“and/not” vs. “and/or”

I often use the first construct in my writing to others to mean (elongated) Person A and, or not, Person B (i.e., The first person comes with or without the second person). An English major I know ...
0
votes
0answers
18 views

Dependent clause and when to know

He was running with one hand up, on the floor. Or He was running on the floor with one hand up. Which is correct and also how do we know the dependent clause
0
votes
2answers
54 views

“bless you!” alternative [duplicate]

Is there any neutral alternative the expression "bless you!"? In other languages you can just use "health" ("salud" in Spanish and "Gesundheit" in German, for instance. So I'd like to be polite in ...
2
votes
1answer
41 views

Is that expression right?

If we want to explain how important a topic is, can we say: No doubt that this topic is important.
0
votes
1answer
59 views

Word for “direction“ where which way you're pointing to doesn't matter?

Serbian language has a distinction between “smer” and “pravac”. “smer” is a straight line when you turn towards something. It's similar to a vector or a ray in maths. For example, “left”. “pravac” is ...
-1
votes
1answer
23 views

Most suitable phrase that has equivalent meaning with “ Terms that make the warranty invalid ”

I am preparing a document for our company's new product (industrial machinery). In the documentation there must be a special part which should list some terms and conditions that make our warranty ...
1
vote
1answer
46 views

Is “Cotton Industry” the proper term for an industry build around something more successful?

Over the course of my life, I heard people use the term "cotton industry" to derogatorily refer to a group of people that make money based on something more successful. For example: On YouTube, an ...
0
votes
1answer
19 views

Common expression for starting grammar school later than expected

There's a expression for children who go to school one year later than their peers, because they are deemed not yet ready, in Hungary this is at age 6 after kinder-garden, and they could wait with ...
1
vote
1answer
22 views

'Sufferer of ' vs 'sufferer from'

If one suffers from a disease, is one better considered a sufferer from a disease, or a sufferer of a disease?
0
votes
1answer
30 views

Meaning of “To be the last person to do something” in a group of people [closed]

Me and two of my friends share a pie. They ask me: "Do you want to be the last person to take a piece from this pie?" I answer: "Yes". Do I now get to eat only the last piece or the third piece ...
0
votes
0answers
23 views

Not do A “OR”/“NOR” B

Which of the following is correct? I feel like option #2 is correct but cannot find any similar usages. "You are not allowed to change abc or xyz" "You are not allowed to change abc nor xyz"
0
votes
1answer
20 views

Build on or upon

Which one is correct / works better for a formal writing? ... framework is limited by the assumptions it was built on or ... framework is limited by the assumptions it was built upon A quick ...
0
votes
1answer
22 views

Is there a way to unambiguously say “out(side) of time”?

"Out of time" can mean a variety of things, but IMO the most common one and the one that will be understood if there's no context is "with no time left". unambiguously In can also be used in music ...
0
votes
2answers
42 views

In the medical field what terminology do they use in describe cures and treatments

When doctors diagnose a poison what are the treatments cures called to stop the poison? What other names to the cures and treatment are there?
0
votes
0answers
34 views

calculate everything

I would like to know if a phrase is correct and if not, how I could express it correctly, because I am not sure that it sounds ok: Nowadays, with the financial crisis, we must calculate everything. ...
1
vote
3answers
63 views

“I teach myself”

Is it grammatically correct to say “I teach myself subject”? Context: my girlfriend is Italian, and remarked that “I teach myself” has no meaningful equivalent in Italian — ordinarily they would use “...
-2
votes
1answer
55 views

A formal way to place the emphasis on myself

I want the person to feel they can contact me directly but also give them the option to get in touch with other colleagues. It is a big benefit to them to have the capacity to contact me directly. ...
0
votes
2answers
42 views

Older equivalent to “concrete thought” metaphor?

What came first, concrete as a way to express a solid thought, or concrete as a solid building material? And what I am really getting at is, prior to the invention of concrete as a building material, ...