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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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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 “...
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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. ...
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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, ...
1
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1answer
42 views

What does the phrase “getting a taste for” mean?

In a movie, I have seen the following scene: A dog licked a face of a man. The man said something. The dog was barking with the following subtitle: "I wasn't licking. I was getting a taste for when ...
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1answer
23 views

Choice of preposition in “best-of-x” in sports and other competitions

I would like to understand the logic (if there is any) behind the phrase "best-of-x" (where x is a number) in the context of competitions, most notably sports. I understand that best-of-five implies ...
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0answers
13 views

How to express succinctly “You plan you succeed if the conditions were like you expected”

You succeed at everything you plan (very short term) to do but only succeed if the condition were as like you had initially or you expected the conditions to be like A bit like a pyrrhic victory- ...
3
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2answers
57 views

Other ways to say “living in the gray” [closed]

Life is not black and white. There seldom is a definitive right or wrong. We need to learn to live in the gray. We need to consider and take aspects from each side in order to make practical life ...
0
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3answers
40 views

An expression for the trigger of something that was inevitable [duplicate]

I'm looking for a way to describe the thing that finally triggers something after rising tensions. For example, some isolated incident triggers massive protests, but the protests are really due to ...
1
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3answers
43 views

Usage of ''as many as''

We are talking about an airstrike around 1930 wherein the reporting newspapers differed on the count of fatalities. One noted that 22 had died; another/two claimed 24; yet another claimed 28 whilst ...
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2answers
69 views

What does “open recs” means?

This is entire message: As time goes to infinity we plan on having Stripes building products very close to as many of our customers as possible, which is (much) more widely distributed than the ...
0
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1answer
32 views

She was shrink by trade [closed]

James Paterson in his novel writes, “she was shrink by trade, a forensic profiler, and Jack Morgan’s number two at Private “. What does whole sentence mean?
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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
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1answer
39 views

When did “whole entire” enter into English language usage? [closed]

As a replacement for whole, entire, complete etc. Why the redundance? I first heard it in the 1970's.
2
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1answer
24 views

What is a better way to express, “right at this moment in time or this exact second”? [closed]

Example context: I am probably looking at the most beautiful person in the world right at this very moment. I can only look at something one thing at a time and that's exactly I want to say. ...
1
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3answers
40 views

A more serious version of 'no-holds-barred'

The phrase 'no-holds-barred' implies a fight, conflict or battle without any rules, but is relatively modern and comes from wrestling, giving it a friendly feel. What is the name for a fight where ...
2
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2answers
176 views

“I wanted to” vs “I want to” when referring to the future

Why do people say "I wanted to" instead of "I want to" when referring to a future event, as in "Tony wanted me to go out with him tomorrow night," instead of "Tony wants me to go out with him tomorrow ...
4
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3answers
59 views

Person/Group that claims all the work but can't deliver because they are overloaded

Is there a phrase or expression to describe a person or group that claims all of the work/tasks but can't deliver because they are so oversubscribed?
1
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0answers
22 views

Resource to search for missing words in common (short) expressions and idioms

Sometimes I have a partial expression that's stuck in my head and I have a really hard time trying to figure out what the missing portion of it is. For example, today I woke up with the expression "[...
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2answers
62 views

Words or phrases for someone that is ready to escape quickly, usually due to danger

I'm looking for a word or short phrase that describes a situation in which there is danger and you should be ready to move / escape quickly. The only thing that comes to mind is "Pack Light" or "...
0
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1answer
39 views

Using “into” or “inside” [closed]

which sentence do you prefer? Alex invited the new visitors inside the house and led them to his parents’ office. Alex invited the new visitors into the house and led them to his parents’ office.
0
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1answer
42 views

can the expression (give it a go) be broken up

Is this sentence grammatically and stylistically correct, or is it very weird: He insisted to give it yet another quick go
0
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1answer
33 views

What is the exact meaning of “bid him be of good heart”? [closed]

“He is a prophet of this people,” Waraqa assured his cousin after hearing her story. “Bid him be of good heart.” What is the exact meaning of "bid him be of good heart" here? Pls help.
1
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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 ...
0
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1answer
52 views

Expression for 'You just said words to appease me'

I remember an expression that's something like 'you're just giving me words.' The idea is that someone says, 'yeah, i'll do abc.' And you respond... 'Okay, let me know when it's done, so I can check....
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1answer
30 views

What does it mean - writing a minivan?

Please see the img below. What does "write me a new minivan" mean here? PS: I am from a non English Speaking country.
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2answers
93 views

What do broad and narrow mean in the context?

What does broad and narrow mean in a general context suppose Broad traits are x, y, z and narrow traits are a, b, c, broad issues are f, g,h and narrow issues are k, j, h? If a trait suppose X cant be ...
1
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1answer
43 views

How do you concisely make clear something exists only once?

I am struggling to find an appropriate and convenient wording to describe that something exists only one time in the whole world. Usually the word "unique" implies exactly that, but it's been misused ...
0
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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 ...
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4answers
63 views

Is there a word/phrase/expression to describe a seemingly easy problem?

I remember my lecturer a few years ago using a word/phrase/expression to describe a seemingly easy problem that is actually quite hard to fix (e.g. if a football team keeps losing games, everyone ...
4
votes
3answers
210 views

A donkey does not know what kind of fruit persimmon is

The above-mentioned idiom comes from my native language. We use it when we are referring to a person ( often tasteless and unsophisticated one ) who finds it hard to appreciate a good thing or does ...
2
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2answers
45 views

On the hoof expression

A friend has asked me if they can say: I said those words on the hoof. It doesn’t sound right to me as I’m used to hearing it with eating: I had to grab lunch on the hoof. Is it correct, and if so, ...
0
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2answers
57 views

How would you describe moving your head back in shock?

How would you describe moving your head back in shock? I.e. if something shocks you, you might move your head away from it, a bit like the gasping cat meme. A friend has said 'shrink your neck', but ...
0
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4answers
92 views

One word for “someone working far away” [closed]

To say that since you're working in different location which is far away you won't be able to handle this activity.
0
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1answer
62 views

Turn out all the lights and call on the Lord

A man I knew, born in 1921, used to enter a room at festive gatherings and say "Turn out all the lights and call on the Lord." Do you know the origin of that phrase, or do you think it was just an ...
0
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1answer
34 views

Phrase for stage or step after “square one”? [closed]

"Square Two" would seem natural, but not sure I've ever heard anyone say that ...
4
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1answer
66 views

eligibility criterion for an -ing form to serve as a deverbal adjective

a dog which is barking can be rephrased as a barking dog; I am wondering whether a patient who is coughing can be rephrased as a coughing patient? similarly, can we rephrase something (such as a dog,...
0
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2answers
198 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". ...
0
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1answer
35 views

Which preposition to use with “sentiment” to describe an opinion on a topic?

Which preposition(s) can be used with “sentiment” in the following context? The general public’s sentiment [preposition] environmental issues changed over time. I am aware of the following options,...
0
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1answer
36 views

hot in the hot tub

I read a news starts with the saying "It's getting very hot in the hot tub for Senate Republicans at the moment." I understand that it says the topic is very hot, but why say "very hot in the hot tub"....
0
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1answer
59 views

When is it appropriate to refer to a pickle slice as a pickle?

For example, you may say "No pickles" on a burger order but if a pickle must strictly mean an intact pickled cucumber, then you could never ask for "No pickles" as no common burger has multiple whole ...
2
votes
2answers
48 views

What is the term (if any) for a “pothole”-like cavity in an icy surface such as an ice rink or lake that's been frozen over

...where one might unfortunately catch their skate blade in? Having lived in the southwest part of the country most of my life where there has been neither cause nor occasion for me to experience such ...
3
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0answers
23 views

Are there other interjections to substitute for “jeez”, “good grief”, “oh my god”, "and other interjections containing religion? [duplicate]

I would like to know if there are interjections expressing exasperation, annoyance, anger, frustration without connection to religion. Preferably doesn't originate from it either. No euphemism too. ...
0
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0answers
19 views

When can 'am' be used before a verb? [duplicate]

Like the famous quote, 'Now I am become death, destroyer of world' when is it allowed to use 'am' before any verb?
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2answers
35 views

Is the phrase: “degenerated into subjectivity”, a valid one?

I have never seen this phrase before. I can't find any search results for it on Google, I searched for: "degenerated into subjectivity", thus my question. I want to use the phrase in the following ...
2
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1answer
44 views

I've forgotten a word: something like “Persona effect”?

I learned a word a while back, and I just tried to recall it today and use it after like... 10+ years. It's escaped me now. The meaning of the word or effect or disorder, to the best of my memory, ...
1
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0answers
33 views

Is there an old saying/joke about “Where would I go if I were a [name of lost object]?”

In the 1950s my mother used to say, if I lost (for example) a glove, "Where would you go if you were a glove?" More recently I read this in a novel by my father from the mid-1960s: "... the old gag ...
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11answers
3k views

Can you say “leftside right”?

Can you say something like "I turned the box leftside right" in English? Or what should be used in place of "leftside right"? By "leftside right" I mean pivoting by 180 degrees.
3
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1answer
44 views

“Go before the numbers build”

In Mark Ravenhill's The Cane, there is a line which I think it's a slang, but I can't find any references on the net. Please help me: Maureen: Which is why I’ve invited the Head here today. I want ...
0
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1answer
43 views

Is it right to say that a product has been “proofed” by its company?

I saw a company (in germany) advertise its product by saying that it is "Proofed by [company name]". Is that right? I was a little confused, i can imagine that it is "right", but it is common to say ...
0
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1answer
24 views

A common expression that means agreeing with what everyone else said

So I wanna leave a rate my professor review and leave a comment that's pretty much consistent with what's already been said just for the sake of - in math terms - adding value for the sake of raising ...