Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 174 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

How and why certain phrases are used in varying ways within various contexts.

0
votes
1answer
32 views

Correct usage of countless hours

What is the correct usage in this case: A: Say goodbye to all the tedious manual steps and countless of hours spent finding and correcting code errors. B: Say goodbye to all the tedious manual ...
1
vote
1answer
27 views

Is it grammatically and semantically correct to use “didn't much like” as a phrase?

Does "didn't much like" accurately express the idea that the writer did not like it as much as she would have desired. Would it be actually wrong, or would it be better if it is expressed as "didn't ...
11
votes
7answers
5k views

Why is “bat down” not listed in any of major English dictionaries as an idiom, set phrase, collocation, no matter whatever it is?

I came across the following passage in September 17 “The Hill.” under the headline, “Trump says Kavanaugh may be delayed.”: “If it takes a little delay it’ll take a little delay.” Trump told ...
1
vote
1answer
32 views

“Prevail upon” or “Prevail on”?

I just used "prevail on" in a sentence. The whole sentence was: "If we can prevail on them to provide some donuts, the meeting may be more attractive." Should I have said "upon"? I understand ...
0
votes
2answers
44 views

Am I using the word “firebrand” correctly?

I’m developing a 3-pronged description of my professional self for LinkedIn using words that start with f (example: “freelancer”).... At the moment, one of my prongs is “firebrand of innovative ...
7
votes
1answer
124 views

To let some of my cats on the table

While reading J.L. Austin's book How to do things with words I found this (to me) curious sentence: ... and here I must let some of my cats on the table... The context seems to imply that the ...
0
votes
2answers
16 views

Using Past tense words [closed]

This is a chorus of a song called "Exercises in Futility VI" by a band called Mgła. Self crucified - missed the right tree. Tore the wrong eye out. The hissing of hellfire. Self crucified - ...
0
votes
0answers
42 views

He was a young school-master out of place

I have a question as to sentence in The Musgrave Ritual by Conan Doyle. He was a young school-master out of place when he was first taken up by my father, but he was a man of great energy and ...
1
vote
1answer
24 views

Is it a proper usage for 'a top of'? [closed]

I am currently working with writing so-called 'fancy' English sentences, and here is one of such samples: Of course, moi knew about that ring atop of the other rubbish thou acquired! A 'normal' ...
0
votes
1answer
21 views

Most appropriate phrasing of a sentence containing an exception

Consider the following two paragraphs: The data was compelling. It appears that all of the companies abandoned that manufacturing method - with one exception - when it was determined to be less ...
0
votes
2answers
48 views

Blend in/blend into?

could someone please suggest me if the sentence below is correct or not (in context to the usage of blend in/blend into)? Please also share the reason/logic behind your answer. Thanks. "Never ...
0
votes
0answers
24 views

How do you say when you want to explain a situation that an experience influences your next action?

How do you say when you want to explain a situation that an experience influences your next action? Do you say '' with this experience '' when an experience changes your mind to move on an action? ...
3
votes
1answer
58 views

Does the phrase 'tongue bath' have sexual connotations when used to refer to sycophantic behavior?

When I first heard this phrase as a teenager (late 90s/early 2000s), it was being used to describe sycophantic talk or fulsome praise of someone. At the time, I figured the phrase originated as a ...
0
votes
0answers
23 views

“if we will be talking in english it shall take more time.” [migrated]

Please, help me with correct variant! if we will be talking in english it (our conversation) ... shall take more time. or takes more time. or is taking more time. I'd like to say that I ...
-3
votes
1answer
67 views

Difference between “With all due respect” and “Without disrespect” [closed]

What is the difference between the below two phrases? With all due respect and Without disrespect
1
vote
1answer
52 views

The use of respectively

I already read several posts on this forum, for example: Use of "respectively". I was however wondering about a specific use case: Items 1, 3, 4, and 6 dealt with motivation directly, ...
3
votes
5answers
78 views

Is it good grammar to say or write “different to”? [duplicate]

To me it seems natural to say something like: "I am different from you." or "You can't marry him, he belongs to a different species than you do." But recently it seems to be more and more common to ...
1
vote
3answers
105 views

What does “was Troy” mean in this sentence? [closed]

I recently read this sentence: He was doing a good job, was Troy. What do the words "was Troy" mean at the end of the sentence?
-1
votes
1answer
27 views

Which one is true: try to not repeat it or try not to repeat it? [closed]

Which one is true: try to not repeat it or try not to repeat it? English is my favorite lesson😁😁😁
0
votes
2answers
117 views

Does 'all but useless' mean useless or useful?

I saw a product review that was complaining about the built-in microphone of the camera, and in one paragraph stated it was 'all but useless'. I have seen 'all but [negative word]' in different places ...
1
vote
1answer
55 views

Why do we use open and closed instead of opened and closed

(Originally posted in Linguistics but I was told here is more appropriate) When talking about a door, for example, we usually say: "the door is open" and "the door is closed" why don't we say: "...
0
votes
1answer
30 views

Meaning of precisely in this paragraph

Consider this paragraph from 'The Elements of Programming': This uses the special form if, a restricted type of conditional that can be used when there are precisely two cases in the case ...
1
vote
1answer
45 views

Usage of “it's to”

When I finally wake up, it's to his arm slung over me, holding me close to his chest. The sentence above is the extract of a reading source. What possibly could be the meaning of "it's to..."? ...
0
votes
1answer
57 views

It's about time (vs) It's a matter of time

I would like to know if there is a difference in usage between these 2 structures. In other words what situations might suit one and not the other? It's about time. It's a matter of time.
0
votes
1answer
73 views

Is 'multiple-choice question' a misleading term?

In a multiple-choice question there is usually only one correct answer. In other words, you make a single choice from a list of options. However, 'multiple-choice' suggests that you should be ...
1
vote
0answers
35 views

Is “as well X as Y” correct and equivalent to “X as well as Y”?

I'm proofreading a text for a friend and she uses the construct "as well X as Y", but I've never seen it this way and can't find anything on the net. Example: The structure is fused and takes part ...
0
votes
0answers
38 views

The whole kit and caboodle

I have happened upon a sentence that goes "You got the name. That is the whole kit and caboodle." I know what it stands for in the meaning of everything, all things, whole matter but it's ...
0
votes
2answers
62 views

Is there a better way to say “The second most popular response was …”

The context for this question is that we administered a survey and the results are part of a reflection blog post. The number one response was bug-free code, and we think this is ... The second most ...
0
votes
2answers
85 views

“Push against boundaries” meaning? [closed]

What does the phrase " to push against boundaries " mean as in "it is important to be able to say ‘no’ to children when they misbehave or try to push against these boundaries"?
1
vote
0answers
17 views

Using and not using indefinite article in phrases [duplicate]

What difference in meaning is achieved by omitting an indefinite article in the second of the following phrases: 'a half of a yellow sun' and 'half of a yellow sun'?
0
votes
2answers
74 views

What’s does “if the dog bites once mean?”

Someone has recently messaged me the phrase “if a dog bites once”, I do not understand what this phrase could mean and my friends do not understands it either. I’m getting a threatening feeling off it ...
1
vote
1answer
53 views

Is it correct to use the phrase “Dreaming on another love”?

Is it correct to use the phrase "Dreaming on another love"? I am aware that the most often used phrase would be "Dreaming of another love", however I wonder if one can say "Dreaming on a star" or "...
1
vote
1answer
48 views

How to say that “watch this movie continuously till the end”?

I am bit confused and lack of words when I am trying to say this. Sometimes when a movie is full of thrill and suspense we should watch it till the end to get the suspense revealed. But due to lack of ...
1
vote
4answers
351 views

Why do we say “give me five”?

Give me five, (together with its main variants such as slap me five, give me a five etc.) is a very common way greet or celebrate asking someone to hit their open hand against yours. Give me five! (...
0
votes
1answer
42 views

Feel bad about doing something because it affects another?

How to say you feel bad about doing something because it affects another person? Does the following line sound correct, "It would be inexcusable with regard to him"?
0
votes
0answers
23 views

is “get a question correct” idiomatic?

to "get a question correct" sounds wrong to me; I would say "get a question right". But I cannot figure out if there is a reason for this, as "correct answer" and "right answer" are synonymous, and "...
3
votes
3answers
73 views

“from A to B” or “to B from A”

Which expression is more customary? Are their situations where one would be favored over the other? Edit: Sorry for making the question unclear. My motivation for this question came from reading ...
2
votes
2answers
141 views

Can you say 'study a degree'?

I received an online promotion from the University of Edinburgh titled "Study a World-Class Degree Online." It struck me as remarkably bad English coming from an institute, but in this case it comes ...
2
votes
4answers
109 views

History of Clean-Slate phrase

What was the phrase clean-slate originally used for? Or did it always refer to restart in something?
0
votes
1answer
30 views

Global figures phrase

Can I use the term global figures to describe final totals in a personal individual balance sheet that has no global connection or reach?
0
votes
0answers
9 views

Joining two parentheses into the one

I would like to use Stated differently, ... and In a nutshell, ... at the beginning of sentence as one parenthesis. Say, Stated differently in a nutshell, .... Is it clunky? Is there a way to joint ...
4
votes
1answer
165 views

Is “Wile E. Coyote moment” mainly an economic metaphor?

The metaphor of Wile E. Coyote moment has been recently used by Ben Bernake suggesting that the U.S. economy might face a real slump in a few years. (Google images) Checking with Google it appears ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Origin of “I don’t buy it”

I am referring to the idiomatic expression “I don’t buy it” meaning I don’t think it is true. This connotation of the verb buy appears to be from the ‘20s according to Etymonline: Meaning “believe,...
0
votes
1answer
62 views

Is ex-procedural a word?

I am looking for a single word for the expression, "outside normal procedures." I have tried ex-procedural, but it sounds too formal.
3
votes
1answer
790 views

As high as an elephant's eye

One of the most famous lines in American theater is "The corn is as high as an elephant's eye", written around 1942 by Oscar Hammerstein II, obviously the opening of Oklahoma, There's a bright ...
0
votes
0answers
31 views

“The same” as an answer to a question of identity

Can "The same." or "The same!" be used in response to a question about the identity of something, which is phrased as a guess? For example: "Is that your sister in the photo?" "The same." "Ivan, ...
0
votes
2answers
162 views

I've got my work cut out for me. Origin, meaning, negation by sarcasm?

The phrase "I've got my work cut out for me" I have until now mistaken to mean: "The work that I have to do is largely completed (due to efforts by others beforehand), and only need to do a little bit ...
2
votes
0answers
26 views

Why do we “get to school” but “get home”? [duplicate]

I've noticed that we "get to" some places, i.e. school, the gym, work, etc but we only "get home". Why do we omit the "to" for that particular usage?
1
vote
1answer
40 views

English idioms usage: “shack up”, “give leg bail”

Are the idioms "shack up" (=sleep with) and "give leg bail" (=flee) in use now? Are they widely used? Are they easily recognized?
0
votes
0answers
35 views

What is the difference between racial inclusivity and interracial inclusivity?

Could someone please care to explain to me the nuances between these two? Also, does the latter, that is interracial inclusivity, even make any sense? I tried searching it on Ngram and results ...