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Questions tagged [phrase-usage]

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

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Deck as verb and the accompanying preposition

As per Cambridge dictionary and others, the word 'deck' in its verb form means to decorate or add something to something to make an effect: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/deck ...
Ammu's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
20 views

How do you access a computer system? [duplicate]

One of the things that I come across frequently and am unsure the "correct" way to describe is when I am talking about logging in to a computer system. Do you: log in to login to log into ...
jesse_b's user avatar
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1 answer
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How common is “you lot” for a group of exactly two persons and under what circumstances can it be used as such if any?

Something about “you lot” tells me that it can't really be used with a group of two persons and requires a somewhat bigger group being addressed as a unit, to what extent is that correct and if not ...
Zorf's user avatar
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1 answer
59 views

What is "with the larger group being the first to flee" called? [duplicate]

I've been reading about the lore of Red Dead Redemption 2, I came across a certain phrase that I wonder about its name and what is the kind of function it serves. I have seen it elsewhere many times, ...
Shady Badr's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
108 views

What does "I like 'em firm and well covered," meaning?

It's a last part of the short story 'Pictures' by Katherine Mansfield. <1917> It was almost dark in the café. Men, palms, red plush seats, white marble tables, waiters in aprons, Miss Moss ...
user58207's user avatar
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-1 votes
2 answers
221 views

". . . , but thinks by Easter he'll have grown into it"? [closed]

(From A Terrible Kindness by Jo Browning Wroe, Part II Cambridge Choir, chapter 21) (It's Christmas. William, the chorister, at home) William's present is a bike, waiting for him in the communal ...
philphil's user avatar
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11 votes
8 answers
5k views

“Out of the mouths of babes”: Is this idiom strictly used to refer to children?

According to Cambridge Dictionary, “out of the mouths of babes” is an idiom used when a child says something that is surprisingly wise. So, it is used to compliment the child for saying something that’...
hb20007's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
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..set a time for

We use the phrase, "set a time for," typically, with an event. Set a time for carousing. Set a time for snuggling. Set a time for a phone call, etc. And that makes sense. But we also use it ...
CWill's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
54 views

Is the construction "to try and [verb]" now considered standard, as in "to try and explain......"? [duplicate]

This question is about a construction that I find mildly (only mildly) irritating, but baffling. See example below. I know what the phrase means when it is used, but why do people use it? Has it ...
ab2's user avatar
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3 votes
6 answers
361 views

What is the correct way to talk about the statute of limitations?

Almost everybody says "the statute of limitations has run out" when the literal meaning of that locution is clearly not what is intended: what is meant is that the period specified in the ...
S K's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
384 views

Speaking of a fitted bed sheet, would you call it “inside-out” or “upside-down”if you wanted to indicate that the stitches are facing up?

As the title says, while I’m fairly sure about the answer, I am looking for a valid explanation of which term is correct and why. I believe that the correct term is inside-out because it’s clearly ...
Neeku's user avatar
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1 answer
44 views

Propriety and use of the phrase "commend to suspicion"

I give up. I've used the phrase "commend to suspicion" occasionally in legal writing and correspondence, as in "[existence of x] might commend to suspicion that [result y]." My ...
Steve's user avatar
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0 votes
3 answers
222 views

The problem with "there"

It is natural, now, to think of there being connected with a sign, also what I should like to call the sense of the sign. It's the first sentence of the paragraph. There wasn't a context about some ...
Sayber73's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
104 views

"I always be myself"

Last night an actor in a YouTube advert told me "I always be myself." I don't remember the point of the ad to find it and share it here. I did search Google for "i always be myself"...
Iain Samuel McLean Elder's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
68 views

"not a few" vs "quite a few" vs "quite a lot"

Compare these sentences He had not a few kind thoughts about his former employer. He had quite a few kind thoughts about his former employer. He had quite a lot of kind thoughts about his former ...
YiLuo's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
608 views

Put oneself together vs. pull oneself together

I'm reading a book about makeup, aesthetics, the concept of beauty, etc. One of the author's interviewees said, That notion of beauty as a strength and putting yourself together well as a self- ...
Olivia Lo's user avatar
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2 votes
3 answers
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Phrase for a person in town known for being insane?

This is my first post, forgive me if it is unorthodox. So, I’m looking to title a video, and this is bothering me: I could’ve sworn there was a phrase to describe a local crazy person in a town or ...
Randy's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
96 views

Does "breathe in the light" have any colloquial meaning?

I have noticed that the phrase "breathe in the light" is used in several seemingly unrelated pieces of music, for instance, it is the name of a "Stellardrone" track, and in the ...
Daigaku no Baku's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
59 views

Are "AT MY peril" and "TO MY peril" correct?

I'm considering simple one-liners which help describe scenarios in statistical hypothesis testing. Some of you may perhaps be familiar with the concept of Type 2 errors (the cost of ignoring a false ...
SS_SS's user avatar
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1 answer
128 views

Is the phrase "as drunk as a marine" still used today?

(From The Wrecker by Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne, Chapter XXIII, published 1892) Passage 364 “Excuse me one moment, Captain Dobbs. I wish to speak with my mate,” said the captain, whose ...
philphil's user avatar
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-1 votes
1 answer
72 views

Isn't "grouped together" redundant? If not, how does it change the meaning from just "together"?

Is the word 'together' redundant in this sentence? Keys are grouped together in a keychain. I mean, how is that any different from Keys are grouped in a keychain. I find the first sentence ...
mvg's user avatar
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-2 votes
1 answer
138 views

Correct the phrase 'u need a girl whose looks doesn't matter to her' [closed]

Link to video: https://vt.tiktok.com/ZSNsL7FqE/ The context of the video is that this guy has some demanding expectations for a girl. The following comment was made: u need a girl whose looks doesn'...
Dois's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
378 views

Which is more correct: "labeled" or "labeled as"? Is either one acceptable in any context?

I've never really given this much thought, but my inclination recently has been to omit the "as" whenever I'm referring to something being labeled. Is it ever necessary to include it? When ...
Riley 's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
147 views

Usage of "take your gin and guns to Putney"

(From The Wrecker by Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne, Chapter XXII, published 1892) Passage 350 “I beg your pardon,” he said once. “I am a gentleman, Mr. Carthew here is a gentleman, and we ...
philphil's user avatar
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-3 votes
1 answer
56 views

Common usage of "be tried for one's life"

(From The Wrecker by Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne, Chapter XXII, published 1892); Passage 348: The public house and tea garden called the Currency Lass represented a moderate fortune ...
philphil's user avatar
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0 votes
0 answers
42 views

'Too good': Hyperbole, fossil, calque, quirk, something else?

I often hear the exclamation "too good" in Indian English. Sometimes it describes food, sometimes music, sometimes an event, anything really; it's rather versatile, common enough to have ...
Heartspring's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
182 views

"That clause" with "subject + verb" replaced by an infinitive

I have 2 questions about the 3 sentences below. Sentence 1: Source: Novel "Holes" by Louis Sachar (1998) - Page79- Line 8 (You can find this sentence on Google Books.) Tell Becca that when ...
L-traveler's user avatar
18 votes
2 answers
5k views

What triggered the slang term "epic fail"?

Epic fail is defined as a spectacularly embarrassing or humorous mistake, humiliating situation, etc., that is subject to ridicule and given a greatly exaggerated importance.(Dictionary.com) The ...
Gio's user avatar
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Was “who’s she, the cat’s grandmother” common in Scotland? [duplicate]

My mother’s retired Scottish nanny, who was born in 1888, and grew up near Ullapool, on Loch Broom, would say this. She also took care of me when I was a child. She would correct me when I spoke of ...
Sassy's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
92 views

Can “niche” be used as a collective noun?

I know people can use language however they want, but I recently heard someone claim that “niche of people” was a phrase. I had not heard it before and disagreed that it was a phrase people used. The ...
John Montgomery's user avatar
-1 votes
2 answers
30 views

Which one is appropriate when describing belonging?

Talking of memory, which is correct? To my heart Or In my heart If talking of belonging, which one is correct? She always belong to my heart Or She's always in my heart Can I use "always ...
Olly's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
690 views

"There's no point" + gerund vs "there's no point in" + gerund

I've noticed that both are used though "point in" is seemingly far more prevalent. Is there any difference or it's down to one's preferences? E.g. There's no point in talking to you. vs. ...
Artem S. Tashkinov's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
37 views

Is there any rhyme or reason to Positive vs. Ridiculous examples for the phrase: "might as well have ... for all the good ..."?

I am a native US English speaker, and my question today has to do with usage of the following phrase: I might as well have [insert potential action] for all the good [previous action taken] did! ...
LHM's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
92 views

Does "watered up" mean you have a craving for something?

Tonight at dinner my friend from Tulsa, OK read from the menu that the university cafeteria was serving egg noodles at one of the stations. To his disappointment, they were actually serving rice. &...
gvlocke's user avatar
  • 21
1 vote
1 answer
121 views

When do we use "an analogy", "a metaphor" and "a figure of speech"? [closed]

I have difficulty understanding when we use "an analogy", "a metaphor" and "a figure of speech". I feel like in a casual conversation, people just use any of these words ...
Tom's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
180 views

Can 'something else' be used negatively?

I've used the expression "to be something else" in a lot of different contexts. I'm wondering now whether sometimes I have used it wrongly. This is when I have said it to refer to someone as ...
ItsJustMe's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
546 views

Euphemistic pee-pee/wee-wee: which refers to the organ and which refers to urinating?

Does one pee-pee with his wee-wee, or does he wee-wee with his pee-pee? Is one phrasing more typical than the other? That is to say: How is pee-pee used more commonly- as "to urinate" or as &...
Professor Plum's user avatar
0 votes
3 answers
80 views

Which contexts warrant the use of prepositional phrases over stacked adjectives, and vice versa?

Are there good reasons to use, e.g., "customer relationship management solution" over "solution for customer relationship management"? I understand that in certain contexts ...
parergon's user avatar
  • 105
0 votes
2 answers
108 views

Middle English “Whan that” vs “Whan”

whan pronoun Definitions (Senses and Subsenses) whom MED online University of Michigan How does one construe “that” in the phrase “Whan that”? This seems to be the normal construction in ME, but ...
sks's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
79 views

An English equivalent to the Spanish phrase «Me pasó a un amigo»?

In Spanish we sometimes say something like «Me pasó a un amigo». For example, you could be telling someone to be careful when doing something because otherwise something bad and possibly embarrassing ...
Mariano Suárez-Álvarez's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
68 views

Is the question ""Does it exist what I'm looking for?" " the most usual way to ask a question in this meaning? [closed]

I'm doing a translation from Portuguese to English, and I've found a phrase that is a simple question, but I don't know if it exists, because it simply doesn't exist on Google, with one exception. &...
Paulo Buchsbaum's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
84 views

"The associations between x and y " vs "The associations of x with y"

When conducting and reporting a statistical analysis, is it more correct to state: "The associations between x and y " "The associations of x with y"? Or are both equally correct?...
SPet's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
116 views

How to Translate the "Killing" in this Context?

This is a clipping from a director's memoir(source: A Life: An Autobiography by Elia Kazan) which I once cited in another question, recording an actor's affair. When we got back to Munich for the ...
RomanGhost's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
149 views

Can I email someone (with) something? [closed]

Can I say "I emailed you (with) a brief introduction of our program along with the application link"?
user478837's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
168 views

Is the expression "to hire help" a euphemism for "to employ servants"?

When reading about the differences in the language used by upper-class speakers and middle-class speakers in the 1940s in the US in Philadelphia Gentlemen: The Making of a National Upper Class, I ...
Elisa's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
126 views

Is it correct to say “take one mile at a time”? [closed]

Is it correct to say: Take one mile at a time. Or is it better to say: Take it one mile at a time.
Lisa's user avatar
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8 votes
2 answers
2k views

Does contemporary usage of "neither...nor..." for more than two options originate in the US?

I use either...or / neither...nor to introduce two alternatives - 'this' or 'that'. So I was surprised to read the following in (British) The Spectator magazine - If the same claim were made on TV, ...
Dan's user avatar
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0 votes
2 answers
216 views

Is “The door can't open” always an incorrect expression?

I am not a native speaker of English. I would like to know whether "The door can't open." is always an incorrect expression. More specifically, the Wikipedia article on Force dynamics has ...
L-traveler's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
3k views

Does 'we got each other' have the same meaning as 'we got each other's backs'?

To have someone's back means to "always be ready to defend or help someone." So by extension, "we got each other's backs" is a way of saying that you and another person are both ...
user477414's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
41 views

What kind of statements are “the best pie I’ve ever eaten” and “the most beautiful mountain I’ve seen in my life” [closed]

My partner always makes statements such as those in heading. They are always sensationalised to create emphasis and drive home his enthusiasm for the subject. For example we were discussing Florence ...
Jared's user avatar
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