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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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Can I say “I am a senior secondary in college”? [on hold]

I was thinking to use it in a different way. Is this statement correct?
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Is the expression “spilling the tea” often used between male friends?

I heard "spilling the tea" is often used between girls, since its meaning is to share gossip. So here's the question, between males, is that often used? If not, is there anything that would be ...
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Using “that's me” at the end of conversation

When you are giving updates in an informal group setting, is it OK to say "that's me" at the end to indicate you are done. Ex: I was doing x,y and z today. That's me.
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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
59 views

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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17 views

“Clothing iron” vs “clothes iron”

I'm personally used to hearing the term "clothing iron", but I see "clothes iron" is much more frequently used (according to Google Ngram viewer). Are there any differences as to how/when/where these ...
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1answer
39 views

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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17 views

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
24 views

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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In What Circumstance Should I Use I “Remain Hopeful”?

I am writing to the admission office of schools I am applying to and I want to express my will of joining them next year at the end of my letter. Can I say "I remain hopeful that I will be able to ...
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3answers
43 views

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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31 views

Can “subject” be used to denote “topic” when it works as an adjective or verb?

I have the impression of seeing job announcements using "subject" in the way like The institute has an opening of research associate subject(ed) to the project "Particles, Strings and the Early ...
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1answer
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“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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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
42 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
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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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1answer
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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
29 views

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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1answer
49 views

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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1answer
51 views

“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
61 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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1answer
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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 ...
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1answer
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“And” used in a list with no comma

I have no trouble reading the following, even though they say not to use "and" twice in a sentence without a comma: The bulk of the expense came from all the lost opportunities and all the rabbits ...
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1answer
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Using before the fact in multiple contexts

The terms "before the fact" and "after the fact" are usually used in a legal sense, as in, accessory before the fact, (and similarly, accessory after the fact), to indicate a person aiding or abetting ...
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4answers
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What does 'a couple of' mean?

A 'couple' is two of something, typically two people or a matching set of things. But it seems like there is ambiguity over what 'a couple of' means. Dictionaries often claim that, 'a couple of' ...
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2answers
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Am I using the word 'leverage' correctly ?

The sentence is, "I want to leverage my understanding of topic A with the knowledge of topic B to prepare myself well for a particular career". I want to convey that I already know topic A and ...
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1answer
86 views

Is it proper to say “at lesser cost”?

Would it proper to use "at lesser cost" in the following phrase: Get better outcome at lesser cost
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1answer
256 views

Is “In the both cases” correct?

I have personally never heard (or seen): in both cases being referred to by: in the both cases before; therefore, my first instinct was that it is an obvious mistake. However, looking up "in ...
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2answers
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Usage of the idiom ‘Crossing the Rubicon’

Wikipedia gives the following information on the search “Crossing the Rubicon” Julius Caesar's crossing the Rubicon river was an event in 49 BC that precipitated the Roman Civil War, which ...
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1answer
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Is the position of “everyone” in “time wears everyone down” correct?

I'm trying to write a quote that conveys that time wears down everyone (in that it spares none). In order to emphasise 'everyone' it seems it should come before 'down' (Ex. You let everyone down). ...
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1answer
77 views

How to ask what is your number in the siblings or to your parents.? [duplicate]

How to ask what is your number in the siblings or to your parents
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1answer
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To be form or ING form?

I have a problem about starting sentences with to be from of the verbs or gerund ones. I have read the similar articles here and some on the net but they are so confusing. Could you please tell me ...
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2answers
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he dropped out of sight - has it a clear meaning?

Dear fellow Stack users, I got into a little dispute with my english teacher today. We got tasked to analyse a text and answer related questions. There was one sentence in the text which read: "His ...
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1answer
96 views

Is “X is a risk of substance abuse” an ambiguous statement?

I recently happened upon a health assessment quiz with the following question: Which is not a risk of substance abuse? Bullying Death from Heart Failure Lack of Coping Skills Addiction The correct ...
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1answer
57 views

How do I be good?

In the ad wherein Steve Martin promotes his master class I note that, at some point, he asks this: How do I be good? Is that usage standard in the English-speaking world? Or is it just some kind ...
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1answer
33 views

Is it correct to say “Open shift”?

Is it correct to say open shift and close shift or is it more preferred to use begin shift and close shift? By opening shift, I mean it from the perspective of the worker that uses a cash register or ...
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1answer
32 views

Can I say “Putting forward our clients daily needs”?

Is it a right way to write like this? I would like to emphasize on the meaning that our clients daily needs are the most high priority, and we put all of our effort.
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3answers
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Is “in the pipeline” an AmE idiom?

American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms defines "in the pipeline" as: In process, under way, as in The blueprints for the new machine are in the pipeline, but it will take months to get approval . ...
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2answers
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About the AmE expression “pound the pavement”

Webster’s New World College Dictionary defines the idiomatic expression “pound the pavement” as: (US Slang) to walk the streets, as in looking for work. and according to The American ...
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4answers
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What does “extend a finger” mean exactly? Is it a commonly spoken phrase?

I came across the phrase “They’ve extended a finger” in the article that came under the headline “Mazie Hirono’s blunt style makes her a favorite of liberal looking for fighter” in Washington Post ...
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233 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 ...