Questions tagged [phrase-usage]

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

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19 views

Can actions be one-off orlast for a period? Is it correct to say “He hid behind the door a few minutes ago and now he is hiding behind the door”?

Let's say, a light is now in its off-state (not operating) and then I pressed the switch and I say "I turned on the light" And now the light is in its on-state (operating) and we say "...
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38 views

can you say “he is in a lively chat with her”

My question is about style. Does it sound natural if you say that someone "is in a lively chat/conversation with someone" or is it better to say "he is ENGAGED in a lively chat with her&...
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How might we parse the phrase “put [something] out to board” to better understand its meaning?

The phrase is found in John Cheever's The Swimmer: He wondered if the Lindleys had sold their houses or gone away for the summer and put them out to board. I understand the phrase to basically mean ...
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What does it mean “To hold up against scrutiny”

So I have this sentence: "These books are very good and they hold up against both biblical and geopolitical scrutiny" and I'm not sure what would that mean...
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38 views

Got it and I got it

If a boss says to an employee: I need you to get this project done by today. Then, the employee replies: 'Got it.' or 'I got it.', some youtuber expresses these two answers mean differently. The ...
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“get along” er “git along” or “go along” (does vehicular usage matter?)?

Why is that individual (quote attached as screenshot for evidence, servant turned their back to face away before issuing the command, to/for the conductor to drive) saying "get along" and ...
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Sit in vs. on a team?

I know you would typically say: ‘he sits on the investment committee’ but if you are not high up in the hierarchy, can you nevertheless use the phrase ‘I sit on a team’? Or would ‘I sit in a team’ be ...
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Is it appropriate to use a tautology (e.g. "period of time) in an essay for a college biology class?

I've been working with Grammarly for basic grammatical errors on my essay, and this is pushing me to the point of bafflement and frustration. I understand that it is a computer program and is ...
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“the retailer would get twelve or more” is this the final price? [migrated]

I’d like to ask about the sentence from Six Napoleons by Conan Doyle. Their wholesale price was six shillings, but the retailer would get twelve or more. Does this mean the retailer sells this ...
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44 views

“do [something] now”. How to interpret this?

I am not a native English speaker, and for some reason, when my superior at work tells me to "stop what you are doing, and do this now" through internal channels online, I feel it has a ...
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One word for “to make someone addicted to something”

I need to know if there's a one word to get the meaning "to make someone addicted to something". Be it bad or good, something like, gaming, photography, reading, playing a musical instrument,...
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How common is the idiom “No great shakes” [closed]

How common is the idiom “no great shakes” in spoken English, especially among native English speakers? Will I sound natural if I use it in general conversation?
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Usage of “under the sound of one's voice”

I'd encountered the following excerpt from a speech by Martin Luther King (there's a video, if you're interested): "I want to say to everybody under the sound of my voice this afternoon that you ...
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Is there a word for someone who inadvertently makes your point for you?

For example: If a person tells another person, "You're racist" and the other person responds, "No, I'm not racist. But I just don't like to see Black and White people dating because it'...
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31 views

Usage of “For your information” in a formal email

I am writing an Email to a professor and want to assure him I will refer to his publication in the future. I am just curious whether using "For your information" in the following sentence is ...
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'Authority of Incumbent ' what does this phrase mean in Job description analysis

'Authority of incumbent' in job description Job description A job description is a written statement of what the jobholder actually does, how he or she does it, and under what conditions the job is ...
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How to express the “multiple” of one thing's advantage over another?

For example, car A runs at a speed of 30 km/h, and car B at a speed of 90 km/h. How can I express the multiple of B faster than A? B has 3 times advantage over A in speed. B has 2 times advantage ...
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Dispute over interpretation of “Less smaller”

I know that the correct form of "less smaller" is "less small" but that is the original phrase we went to a dispute over. This is the exact phrase. Someone: Most of the sites I ...
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Difference between two seemingly similar sentences [duplicate]

Is there a difference in meaning between these two sentences below? All of them do not like cheese. None of them like cheese. I've been told that (1) would "open up" for the discussion ...
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To take the journey to the end

Is it grammatically correct to use a phrase ( to take the journey to the end ) as a synonym of ( to finish the journey) ?
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Is “alas on me” correct?

I am writing a poem and though "alas" is an interjection, would it be correct or understood to say "alas on me" or "an alas on me", almost like the "a plague on them&...
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A bit yet to go

Can I use the phrase "A bit yet to go" saying about a small distance yet left to cover, let's say, by riding a horse or driving a car? The phrase fits into lyrics I'm trying to write. I've ...
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Is “in no way” informal?

Once in an undergraduate course on English academic writing, I wrote something like "This is in no way representative of ..." in an assignment, and the teacher marked it down for being non-...
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What does the expression “claiming moral dividends” mean in this context?

What does the expression "claiming moral dividends" mean in this context? Being self-righteous doesn't warrant you in claiming moral dividends as if you're doing humanity a huge favour.
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Express Preferences

Instead of or/and over? I'll take aspirin instead of ibuprofen. I'll choose your brand over my usual. Is that correct?
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'As a result of' Usage

As a result of seems to be quite a versatile phrase, and I can't entirely figure out the contexts in which it is used. This statement is apparently wrong: Sound can travel through water for ...
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take someone down a peg vs. cut someone down to size?

Which phrase is more common in English? "To take someone down a peg" or "to cut someone down to size"? I know they both are used in English to mean "to show someone that they are not as important as ...
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The adverb “why” at the end of a phrase

I found the following phrase in the wild and as an ESL speaker it piqued my interest: So people who become Social Media influencers can get lucrative deals with companies why? What's up with the ...
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“Committed to achieve”? (from Instagram bio of WHO)

With all that's going on right now (i.e. the COVID-19 pandemic), Instagram has decided to promote a few accounts whose information it deems factual. One such account is that of the World Health ...
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Usage of “mailing list” in corporate language

The Cambridge Dictionary defines mailing list as: a list of names and addresses kept by an organization so that it can send information and advertisements to the people on the list An example ...
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More professional way of saying Correcting a Mistake

I need to rewrite "correct a mistake" into something more professional. I can think of "amending a mistake" or rectifying it, but none seems to sound well (I want to put emphasis on a word that's ...
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63 views

How can I use “fill someone in” passive voice?

Recently I get to know the phrase "fill someone in". I am not sure the usage of the phrase in a passive voice sentence. Is this correct? What I was filled in today is that we are planning a big ...
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Is it correct to say “mission completed”?

Is it correct to say "mission is completed" or I should say "mission completed"?
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The proper usage (or avoidance) of “former” & “latter” when context involves a logical evaluation?

In cases where a sentence involves a logical evaluation, e.g., ... ... Is it improper to do [this], rather than to do [that]? ...is there any convention on the usage of "former" vs "latter"? For ...
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Is the term “downforce” exclusively used to describe the aerodynamics phenomenon?

When describing a literal, physically applied "downward force", would it be improper to use "downforce" rather than "down force" (or some variant of)? And if so, should it be hyphenated, i.e., "down-...
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36 views

“May happen” is it correct? [closed]

I just want to know if it's correct to use "if I may happen" on this example: "If I may happen to have what you're looking for..." English is not my first language so I'm confused about it.
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Automotive: “Part-makers” or “Parts Makers”? [duplicate]

I see the term "parts maker" in use a lot in automotive industry news, and I'm wondering if the term is a correct construction (grammatically speaking). When this term is used in Japanese it is ...
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36 views

What does “End on a short note” mean?

I'm not a native English speaker could anyone explain the meaning in usage of the term "ending on a short note." I've searched Google and Stack Exchange but could not find anything.
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“have a worry of”

Whether there’s a worry of looking ignorant or potentially costing themselves some leverage (and at the same time, money), a car owners’ inability to ask for help could end up costing them in the long ...
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How to use implies in a sentence?

I want to say that the chip carrier is like the cover of the chip and that it also provides "surface mount", where surface mount is a technical term that means that the chip carrier facilitates the ...
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36 views

How I can use verb 'Wish' correctly?

I thought that verb 'wish' we use to tell another person success or joy, etc. But I saw the sentence: I wish I could, but I don't want to. Here it's being used about my regrets, isn't it? How ...
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Any difference in nuance between “for easing restrictions” and “for easing of restrictions”?

These days, we often see news headlines like the below examples, and I wonder if there is any difference in nuance between "for easing restrictions" and "for easing of restrictions". Can anyone help ...
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Your health and well-being are of paramount concern to us. What does 'of' mean here?

I received an email from a university and am a bit confused about the sentence below: As you’re aware, your health and well-being are of paramount concern to us as we look to adopt the latest ...
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Why is the phrase “We assume the reader to have […]” not ungrammatical

In scientific articles I often read the phrase: We assume the reader to have [some basic knowledge in] ... A simple google search of it reveals tons of examples. But, strictly, it sound a little ...
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“in exhibition”?

The Bosarges’ $5 million mummy now is in exhibition at the Museum of Natural History in Houston. (source) I am not familiar with "in exhibition". I would always use "on exhibition". My own research ...
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Do people “make parties” in New York?

They made a party for you. Sounds plain wrong to my ears. People don't "make a party" unless their intended meaning is that they attend it, much as "I made the train this morning." However, I lighted ...
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Correct Usage: But for your charm or But for your charms?

Are both of these correct usage: But for your charm I wouldn't have stayed back. But for your charms I wouldn't have stayed back. If both of these are correct usage then are the meanings same in ...
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Using a phrase differently

I know "It was fine while it lasted" means that an experience or situation was enjoyable while it was happening, but now it's over and so you have to move on. Suppose the COVID-19 lockdown is over. ...
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Meaning of 'what is this compared to her previous song'

'What is this compared to her previous song'. Two people argued about whether a song was good or not, and one just responded with this. What did they mean by that? I haven't found any satisfactory ...
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“The direction traveled”

I have always found use of the phrase "the direction traveled" a bit odd, though not as striking as "travel a direction". People travel a distance and travel in a direction, but do ...

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