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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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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 ...
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1answer
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What does 'shrink' mean in this sentence: “I don't talk about me like a TV show character would to his shrink”

"I don't talk about me like a TV show character would to his shrink" I've heard this alternate usage very rarely, so I couldn't understand what the person means when he/she says it. I guess this is ...
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32 views

“I [must/have to] say” in exclamatory sentences

The phrases "I must say" and "I have to say" are used to express something that came out to be different from your expectations, or when you feel you must say something that is better not been said. ...
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Is 'Another Europe is possible' correct English? [closed]

Given that we don't have a second Europe, I thought it should be something like 'A different Europe is possible'. Or does this sentence have the same meaning?
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32 views

The usage of “I see not”

I've read a lot of novels written in English, and one thing I've come across many times is the phrase "I see not..." (e.g I see not how this plan is going to work). I am very curious as to whether "I ...
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I want to know the meaning of “get into my bones”

From Churchill’s My Early Life, I gained an immense advantage over the clever boys. They all went on to learn Latin and Greek and splendid things like that... We were considered such dunces that we ...
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46 views

Leading to the right path XXX, is it incorrect or correct?

This excerpt is taken from a translated Chinese novel: "Only after leading to the right path 1000 souls could one call themselves virtuous." I find the original sentence weird and also think that ...
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1answer
31 views

Postpositive adjectives [closed]

I know that there are a few cases where we can use the adjective after the noun, which is called postpositive. Here are some examples: Attorney General / Secretary General / court martial But I ...
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“of + [abstract noun]” such as “of interest”, “of importance” etc [closed]

The Internet tells me that "of interest" means "interesting" and the same thing goes for other "of + [abstract noun]" things. However, I believe that these two forms have some nuanced difference in ...
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2answers
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What is the meaning of “make up someone's mind”? [closed]

I don't understand about meaning of word of the phrase: "make up someone's mind". For example: he makes up his mind about something. Thanks you for helping.
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Using inversion in conditionals

Is this sentence correct: Had this happened around the time of mad cow disease, it'd be easier to explain. Shouldn't this read : Had this happened around the time of mad cow disease, it would have ...
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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. ...
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Using 'would' or 'used to' with a time reference in a different sentence

In a test there are such sentences: "When I was little, I shared a bedroom with my sister Catherine. As I was eight years her junior, I obviously (used to go / would go) to bed earlier than her." ...
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1answer
50 views

Which is correct? Launch Ceremony or Launching Ceremony?

I have been having a disagreement at work. We have several events where we commemorate the launch of something like the start of an alliance or an award. My colleagues (whose first language is not ...
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1answer
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Can something be “very historic”?

In the video NASA Administrator Bridenstine Chats with Elon Musk of SpaceX Bridenstine uses "very historic" three times out of four times near the beginning of the video: the historic launch complex ...
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1answer
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Alternate sentence for I reached home [closed]

I saw a creepy man coming towards me I start running straight to my home. After "i reached home" I locked all the doors and windows. In this para what alternative word can I use instead of "I reached ...
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Can you say “what was —- a reaction to?”

If I mean to ask the main causes of something, so I want to know what something reacted to, can I say “what was the war a reaction to?”? It sounds pretty weird to me... I’d rather say “what did the ...
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1answer
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Usage of “as of”

Can this phrase be used other than referring to time? For example, is it correct to say: "If condition A happens, then do option 1; as of condition B, do option 2."?
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2answers
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What meaning of/phrase based on the verb to call is used in “I call [noun]” (for instance bull****) and considerations with count nouns?

Sometimes you hear people say something like "I call [noun]", mostly with bullshit ("I call bullshit"; and there's also a question on the site with shenanigans). It feels like an opinionated statement ...
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How does one use the Latin word “cum” in a sentence? [duplicate]

Is this usage correct: The Tim Smith show takes listeners through Tim's day to day life as a broadcasting legend cum podcaster. Are the dashes "-" necessary? and is the broadcasting legend too much?...
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3answers
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Does “beat the distance” make sense?

I'm walking in a direction and there is someone who is ahead of me and walking in the same direction as me. I'm trying to catch up with him. If I say: If I speed up, I might be able to beat the ...
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2answers
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In contemporary use, does 'white noise' enjoy common figurative meaning?

In at least the ELU hyperlocal environment, the claim that 'white noise' has only one meaning seems to be mostly unchallenged. For example, as commentary on a recent question (now on hold) titled "...
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1answer
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X being Y versus X is Y

I was recently chastised by my supervisor for describing something as being something else. The problem: "Species A has genes X1, X2 and X3, Species B has genes Y1 and Y2. Protein X3 being the ...
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1answer
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Why are there vague terms in science and mathematics? [closed]

In the sciences and in mathematics there are a great number of words and terms in use that do not, in any literal sense, describe the concept they are meant to describe. Let's explore the use of "...
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71 views

Use (or misuse) of the phrase “romantic rival”

In a recent episode of the CBS show "Bull" staring Michael Weatherly as the lead character "Dr Bull", the "Episode Details" are something like this (slight variations depending on source): Episode ...
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1answer
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What does “orangutan language” means?

Hey, im new here. In forum, i saw a Non-English stranger commented a text which is in stranger's native language (not English) that someone doesn't know of it, someone informally commented "Sorry i ...
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Using “angels of mercy” to refer to nurses

I wonder if "angels of mercy" by itself (not in context) will be understood to mean "nurses." I have googled this term, but the results I got referred to the angels from religions.
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A brief history v. the brief history - what explains the difference in function?

I'm puzzling over a difference in sense between two expressions as I've seen them in titles of texts. Here they are with examples: A Brief History. Brief modifies history, which here seems to refer ...
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The meaning of “сome + noun/gerund” [duplicate]

What is the meaning of this construction in the following sentence heard in this video? DA's office is pursuing this as a capital case, which means that come sentencing it will be up to the jury ...
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2answers
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Reader's choice to interpret the story as he wishes to

Many times stories end in a way that the reader has a choice to decide which interpretation he'd like to follow. What is the word or phrase one should use to describe this situation? It is analogous ...
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1answer
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Scientific way to describe “over linear growth”

I am aware that typically we use "linear" growth or "exponential" growth to describe certain trending, which seems very standard and scientific. But on the other hand, what is a proper and scientific ...
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2answers
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What’s the connotation of stand in “stand corrected”?

Stand corrected: Agree that one was wrong, as in I stand corrected—we did go to Finland in 1985. This set phrase is quite old and dates back to the mid-17th century according di the AHD: This ...
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When and by whom was “stage diving” coined?

Stage diving is the practice of jumping from the stage, usually in a rock concert, to be caught and carried aloft by the crowd. From: houseplanet.dj According to Wikipedia this practice was ...
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Would have to collect it until Saturday

I have recently read the following sentence Would have to collect it until Saturday When I asked the author what they meant, they stated it is the same as Would have to collect it on ...
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806 views

“On behalf of” or “On the behalf of”?

Ability to do X on the behalf of another user vs Ability to do X on behalf of another user Which one is correct and why? :( I've been debating this with someone over the copy of some ...
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5answers
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Usage of the phrase “I clutched my pearls”, esp. for males?

I came across with a phrase, “clutch one’s pearls” in the headline of the Hill (January 6). It reads : “Dem lawmaker: ‘Kind of odd’ for GOP to be ‘clutching their pearls’ over profane call to ...
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1answer
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On usage of “What’s in a name?”

The most famous quote from Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” appears to have a more recent and different usage according to McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. What's in a ...
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“fall prey to” or “fall a prey to”

Thanks everyone for checking this question. I was reading Great Books of the Western World, and there is a phrase "fall a prey to" and since I didn't know about it so I went to Collins Dict and ...
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1answer
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What is the shelf life of decade names?

Here is a sentence from a book published in 1970 in Britain. Ernest Bramah Smith ... was probably born in 1869 (it is curious that only two writers represented in this collection were not born in ...
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5answers
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What is the origin and scope of usage for the phrase “how about..”?

It’s unclear to me how those two words even make sense together, yet they can be used to suggest something akin to “..and now this” in almost any propositional phrase. Where does this come from / ...
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2answers
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How to say “get performed” in another way? [closed]

"The mechanism of warehouses can be further improved if the workload of employees is lightened by certain tasks getting performed autonomously." This is the sentence I want to use, however, the ...
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1answer
99 views

Which of these phrases is better : “point out to a” vs “point out a”?

Which one of the above phrases is better suited generally and to the given examples? I'm leaning towards "point out to a" but I don't want to complicate the sentence if it is not necessary Example 1: ...
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4answers
271 views

Is there an idiomatic expression to refer to an “ambush” journalist?

Ambush journalism is an expression from the early ‘80s that refers to: aggressive tactics practiced by journalists to suddenly confront and question people who otherwise do not wish to speak to a ...
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1answer
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How do you explain the sentence “What do you make of the argument that…”?

At first I thought that the sentence "What do you make of the argument that..." is just to ask someone for his opinion on something. However, I have also seen some translation explain that such ...
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Can we say “Albert’s birthday is on next Saturday”? [duplicate]

Can we say "Albert’s birthday is on next Saturday"? and "The concert was on last Saturday"? Does the preposition on in the two sentences have to be left out, or is it optional? I know we should say "...
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1answer
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What does it means? [closed]

A: "Books don't grow on trees." B: "Oh, well, technically, yes, they do." B:" They're made of paper. " A: "Sarcasm, Owen is that really the weapon you're reaching for?" A: As deputy library ...
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How is this structure formed? A case of 'inverted adjective'?

Here are the structures in question: Is there a region in the United States of America that has a pronunciation similar, .... Tuscany)? compare with: ... that has a similar pronunciation, .......
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“Identify as” or “identify themselves as”

I came across this paragraph in a newspaper. "He explains the significance of these diverse realities: 'An occupational identity, where people identify as farmers, is emerging in States of the first ...
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1answer
113 views

usage of “in other words”

I have read the following sentence in a 5 score independent writing TOEFL test. "After stating that everyone’s opinion can be different about this, for me honesty, in other words, always telling the ...
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Siberian unicorns lived until at least 39,000 years ago

BBC: The rhino, Elasmotherium sibericum, was thought to have become extinct between 200,000 and 100,000 years ago. By radiocarbon-dating a total of 23 specimens, researchers found the Ice Age ...