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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.

1
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2answers
44 views

A word meaning “To understand (a thing) given its observer's context and prior knowledge”

As per the question: the word I'm looking for is used to describe something that only one who (for want of a better way of putting it) went through something can understand that thing. To make the ...
0
votes
1answer
33 views

What connotation does, “to have something on someone” have?

Does "to have something on someone" connote wrongdoing, or is it innocuous?
1
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2answers
6k views

How to use “come true” for something other than hopes and dreams and wishes?

I'm from Italy and my mother-tongue is not English, so sorry in advance for my mistakes. This is my question: I know how to use come true in sentences like: I wish my dreams would come true. But ...
3
votes
7answers
350 views

When is 'off guard' hyphenated?

How do you decipher when and how to use 'off-guard' or 'off guard'? Example sentences “I wanted to find it before my opponents did,” he clarified. “So, if anything was brought up during one of ...
0
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1answer
45 views

A sentence that confuses me

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 ...
0
votes
1answer
444 views

Alternative sentence of “May I come in, please?”

What do you usually say in the UK when you come into the class while the teacher is teaching. Is it ok to say "excuse me, sir or miss" or "May I come in, please"? are there any other ways to say this?
5
votes
1answer
52 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 ...
34
votes
4answers
29k views

I don't have a ___ in this ___ (saying)

Earlier this evening, I was trying to tell someone, "I don't care who wins the Superbowl this year. I don't have a-" I could't remember how to complete this saying (to mean I don't have a personal ...
4
votes
5answers
7k views

“Full of spit and vinegar” meaning

I was reading a book and couldn't understand the meaning of this: After all, how many times had her father complained that she was full of more spit and vinegar than most boys? I searched, but I ...
1
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2answers
21k views

It's really nice seeing you. Do native speakers often use this phrase?

My teacher told us that if you want to start a conversation or greeting in a not necessarily formal way you should say the phrase "it's really nice seeing you" after saying hello. Do native English ...
0
votes
1answer
23 views

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

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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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
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0answers
13 views

Using what or which with the word circumstance [on hold]

What's the correct expression: what circumstances or which circumstances?
1
vote
1answer
28 views

Word for working with two parallel work instruction system in a company

If living two lives, one for outside world and other in the closet is double life. What would you call preferably pejoratively for when employees are working with two procedures rule book & ...
0
votes
3answers
71 views

Single word preferable in business context to replace “for the sake of it”

Single word preferable in business circle to replace for the sake of it again preferably which is commonly used so that every one (in the business circle) knows the meaning. Explanation: It is ...
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
1answer
69 views

Usage of phrase “I maintain and satiate a healthy appetite” [on hold]

I was planning on using a sentence like this in my resume/jobmarket summary: "I maintain and frequently satiate a healthy appetite in machine learning, neuroscience and mathematics." (Basically ...
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. ...
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 ...
4
votes
5answers
528 views

A word or phrase for an unremarkable event that occurs with uncanny frequency

I am looking for a word or phrase for an unremarkable event that occurs with uncanny frequency. To give a specific example, one might be seeing a random shopper drop their bag every time you enter a ...
0
votes
2answers
109 views

Simplify “Status Update Frequency”

I need to measure if someone sends status updates about their current activity. The best I came up with was “Status Update Frequency”. Does this describe that measurement? Is there a simpler term? (...
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?
2
votes
3answers
2k views

“book an appointment” in a more casual way

I'd like to ask what would be the most casual/common way for you to book an appointment for a haircut. Let's say I've been to one particular hairdresser several times already and "Can I book an ...
2
votes
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, ...
3
votes
3answers
12k views

What is the most appropriate opposite of “Select All”?

Is it more appropriate to use "Deselect All" or "Select None" or some other phrase to indicate the opposite of "Select All"? Context: A toggle button in a piece of software that will select all items ...
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
751 views

“I'm thinking of” vs “I'm wondering” vs “I wonder”

When we want to say that we have been thinking (for days) before taking a decision, I'm use to saying I'm thinking of hiring another employee... Are there any other ways of saying the same thing? ...
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”. ...
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 ...
0
votes
2answers
193 views

The meaning of the expression “Never laugh at live dragons”

I'm a big Tolkien fan and have read LOTR and The Hobbit many times. However, there's one quote from The Hobbit that I've never fully understood, and that is the phrase, "Never laugh at live dragons". ...
1
vote
0answers
29 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
63 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
12k views

Alternative way of saying “allows us to…”

What are some alternative ways of expressing the following? This fact allows us to focus our attention on XYZ. I keep writing "allows us to..." over and over, unable to think of another way of ...
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 ...
0
votes
1answer
51 views

history of the ___ VS. history of _____ [on hold]

I need to fix a title of an article: which sentence is correct? History of Wall Calendar Design History of the Wall Calendar Design History of the Wall Calendar History of Wall Calendar where the ...
0
votes
2answers
5k views

Is “The Venue in the map” or “…on the map”?

How can it be determined, if the correct version is "The Venue is in the map" or "The Venue is on the map"? And which is correct?
2
votes
7answers
4k views

Properly refer to the turn of the year

During a meeting I was explaining a problem that only occurs once year: when one year ends and new one begins. Specifically during the first few days of the new year. Unfortunately, I was lost for ...
1
vote
1answer
22 views

“Force behind your team” connotation [closed]

So I've been writing cover letters where I use some variation of the line "I would love to become a creative force behind your team." What is the connotation around being a force within something? I'm ...
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 ...
0
votes
2answers
22 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 ...
-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.
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'...
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 ...
4
votes
2answers
38k views

Besides the point or beside the point?

Beside is the more popular usage, but I have seen many references and usages of besides, as well. Beside is a preposition, and besides can be either a preposition or an adverb. Which would be the ...
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): ...
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 ...
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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
2answers
49 views

Is there a term for someone trying to dismiss an argument without addressing the points?

Let me give you an example. Two people are having a debate on the internet (surprise, surprise). Person A and Person B go back and forth a few times. Person B catches Person A in a fallacy. Instead of ...