Questions tagged [phrases]

This tag is for questions about phrases in the linguistic sense. In linguistics a “phrase” is a group of words that make a unit of syntax with a single grammatical function. Use [phrase-requests] if you are searching for a phrase.

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18 views

Is “there's plenty of X” known to be a “code phrase” to mean the exact opposite?

Every time I hear somebody or something (such as a website) claim that there is "plenty of" something, I always find that the exact opposite is actually the case. For example: Q: If I don’t have ...
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2answers
57 views

Word for “under the support/help and protection of”

"Homes of a particular community vandalized by the goons under the support and protection of police." How can I say this in a better way? The police was with the goons. Goons got full support and ...
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0answers
52 views

Who this part refers to?

I’d like to ask about the sentence I’m not sure about in The Engineer’s Thumbs by Conan Doyle. .. that of Mr. Hatherley’s thumb, and that of Colonel Warburton’s madness. Of these the latter may ...
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1answer
43 views

what does the phrase “loosen the reins on” mean? [closed]

In the sentence "I'm far less afraid of loosening the reins on students as far as getting up and moving around the room or speaking out or getting off track.", my understanding is " I'm not afraid of ...
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2answers
46 views

Ambiguous line from Browning's My Last Duchess [closed]

A heart – how shall I say? – too soon made glad, Too easily impressed: she liked whate’er She looked on, and her looks went everywhere. Sir, ‘twas all one! My favor at her breast, ...
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1answer
50 views

What does “on the nose” mean in the context of horse racing bets?

In the very end of the Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode "On the Nose" (~1957), the main woman calls her horse race bookie on the telephone and places a bet: Well, I'd like to put two dollars on ...
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1answer
46 views

Is the phrase “Ya, boss” an insult? [closed]

The phrase, “ Ya, boss,” is a senior executive’s response to his direct subordinates on occasion. Executive is male, subordinates are female. Aside from the fact that the supervisor thinks he is ...
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0answers
34 views

Is “My teeth chatter” a form of personification? [closed]

Is the phrase "my teeth chatter" (due to the cold) an example of personification? Teeth can't literally chatter, but they can make a chattering noise, so I am a bit torn on this one.
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1answer
87 views

“Take off”, “head off”, “leave”. What else can be used to politely indicate that I am leaving [closed]

I got a feeling that it is rude to say "I'm gonna leave" or "I'm leaving". Is it really impolite? And the term "take off", I have only seen it used on the series "Friends". Most of the time, it is ...
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1answer
89 views

“The 1800s” versus “the 19th century”?

As a non-native English speaker, who never says "Xth century" in my language, phrases such as: In the late 19th century, they invented a lot of cool stuff! ... always forces me to stop and think ...
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1answer
94 views

What is the meaning of “shoot the average”?

Could someone explain the meaning of "shoot the average" in the context below? I didn't change the median age of the group that much, but I think I really shot the average. Edit: This came from ...
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0answers
23 views

Is there a term to generalize the renowned, classic sentences

For example, sentences like "There is a first time for everything".
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2answers
1k views

What is the meaning of “later on the day”

The sentence is Please note that only candidates who actually pass the tests will receive a notification by email later on the day. I would like to ask that "later on the day" is when? Is that ...
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0answers
21 views

Usage of maverick as an adjective for a thing [duplicate]

I saw on Google the formulation: "the maverick of the sea scrolls…". Would it be better, equivalent or incorrect, instead of saying for example "the maverick of frameworks", to say "the maverick ...
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2answers
51 views

Phrase to indicate that science progress isn't linear [closed]

The historical progress of the sciences is never linear, as one may infer when reading the logically-ordered, neatly set series of theorems, assumptions, etc, before reaching the final demonstrations ...
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1answer
26 views

“Like never before” or “Like you have never done before”

I am a not a native English speaker. But the term "Manage Teams like never before" which our company thinks about using for advertising our software sounds strange to me. Wouldn't it be better to ...
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2answers
61 views

The use of the phrase ‘all but’ in this context

“So far, 686 people have been tested in the U.K., with all but three negative” In this article, the use of the phrase ‘all but three tested negative’ doesn’t make sense to me. In my head it should ...
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0answers
22 views

Search engine for English idioms? [migrated]

I am looking for a resources which can provide related English idioms/phrases. For instance, if I were looking up 'to help out', I would find 'to pitch in', etc. Does any such resources exist online (...
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1answer
63 views

Phrase for when there is no point in speaking because you'll be met with excuses or rebuttal

This question doesn't fit because the excuses/rebuttals may be valid, the point is the responder will immediately set about looking for them and doesn't really care if they're fixable obstacles or ...
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0answers
36 views

Is “for all I know” without may/might/etc. “correct”? [duplicate]

I have seen "for all I know" used in both of the following forms: For all I know, he may as well be Santa in disguise. For all I know, he's Santa in disguise. From what I've understood so far, both ...
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0answers
18 views

When to use “on the basis of” vs “based on”

From the ACS Style Guide Effective Communication of Scientific Information (pg 52): Choose “based on” and “on the basis of ” depending on your meaning. Phrases starting with “based on” must ...
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0answers
35 views

Word or phrase to describe anything that seems trivial but can be indicative of something important

When I say “anything” I could be referring to a comment, an interaction, a symbol, or an action. I’m not sure how to explain this without using examples. In hospitals, doctors often identify patients ...
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2answers
45 views

How to describe factors leading to a negative event?

Being a non-native English speaker, I am looking for an appropriate verb/phrase to describe the negative event as consequence of two health factors. My best shot is "precipitate"; however, I am ...
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2answers
49 views

In “Some statement. This!”, what does the “This!” mean? [closed]

I have seen a expression or phrase of the following form: Some statement. This! The "This!" seems to be something like an acknowledgement. Is there a more verbose explanation or translation of it?
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1answer
69 views

Meaning of Pudding of a young man

Could someone explain what the pudding means here. I'm a bit confused. From the stammering and awkward conversation, she had with Haroun that day Naveed discovered to her consternation that her ...
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1answer
27 views

Is “make it to the X” time-sensitive? Also, is “make the X” a synonym for that? [closed]

If somebody arrives at X and says "I made it!", does it mean they are happy they have arrived at X in time or because they arrived there at all? Is there an inherent time-sensitivity in these words? ...
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1answer
29 views

Is there a specific expression to denote territories which were once occupied?

I have to write a long History essay about territories which were once occupied by one people, but no longer are. Is there a term for that, something like once-[insertpeoplehere]-occupied?
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3answers
79 views

Term for “company mostly recruiting people who accept low pay”

What would you technically call a company that, as a strategy, mostly recruits people who will accept low pay? Background to understand the strategy: Typically High pay = high skills, but the company ...
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1answer
55 views

What’s a good synonym for when a sports player get mockingly booed by the crowd.?

Often in sports when a visiting player plays on the court of the home team, he will get booed. The word I’m looking for has similar meaning to serenade. “As Lebron James got blocked, the crowd _____ ...
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0answers
4 views

Does the question sound rude? how to ask in English? [migrated]

How to form a question without sounding rude. If I see someone coughing, should I say: Is it rude to wear a mask? or Is it rude if I wear a mask? And is it rude in the American culture?
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0answers
12 views

Do not express a sentence properly due to lack of vocabulary [duplicate]

I am searching for a specific phrase. Sample Sentence I am an avid reader so I go to our local library at least three times a week where I meet some other reader. Now here I cannot express the ...
0
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1answer
75 views

Defending your mistakes abruptly [duplicate]

I see some people make mistakes in conversation then they counter-attack you if you point out their mistakes. Let's take an example: Jay: I don't like Chinese food because I hate china. Xu(...
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1answer
40 views

Similar phrase to `Let's have a chat…`

I've found this on my friend's book - Let's have a chat so that we can set the balls rolling Looks very professional but I couldn't find something similar to this one myself. Does anyone help ...
3
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1answer
80 views

To burn something to the ground

According to Collins Dictionary to burn something to the ground means to completely destroy it by fire. I have two questions regarding this phrase: 1- What is the exact connotation of it: Does it ...
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1answer
88 views

Why use “at compile time” rather than “at compilation/compiling time”?

According to https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/compile, compile is just a verb, which means it cannot be used as an adjective or a noun. So, grammatically speaking, at compile time ...
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2answers
51 views

Which noun was referred to after comma?

I am reading a paragraph in English. English is obviously not my first language. I like to confirm my understanding of a sentence. This is the sentence. Copernicus had offered his replacement for ...
0
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1answer
46 views

X removed from Y

Does "X removed from Y" as a general rule mean "X minus (without) Y" i.e. does "What is femininity removed from motherhood" in the following text mean "What is femininity minus (without) motherhood"? ...
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3answers
74 views

Phrase - Agreeable premise to trick someone into supporting additional stuff

I'm having difficulty in articulating this idea without giving a long bloated explanation when calling it out. The idea is where somebody states a vague generally agreeable and innocuous premise in ...
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1answer
83 views

Wear slippers or put on slippers [closed]

Which is the most correct one? 1) My shoes are lost from the shop, kindly allow me to wear slippers today. 2) My shoes are lost from the shop, kindly allow me to put on slippers today.
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1answer
52 views

What does “You are my weather” mean? [closed]

I would like to ask what the phrase "You are my weather" mean. The context is in an acknowledgement section at the end of a book where the author pays tribute to her family. She said that she would ...
1
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1answer
63 views

Starting a sentence with “If making …”

How do constructions of the type If + verb(-inf form) If making the right choice ... seem to native English speakers? Some suggested to avoid such constructions and use instead, "If we make the ...
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0answers
26 views

Saying or poetry for “Everyone has its own place”

What are some famous sayings or poetry that advertise "equality" and "freedom" against a ranked society? I want something meaning "everyone has their own merit" or "everyone has his/her unique place"....
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0answers
23 views

sink to a depth

What is the meaning of sink to a depth in this quote: No one will have praised him except the Good Critic and Mrs. Walden [critic] and a few private people with no influence. But he is all the ...
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1answer
41 views

do [something] to [something] like [something]

The phrase "don't talk to me like a child" means "don't talk to me like I am a child". Does it always work that way? Could this phrase ever mean "don't talk to me like you are a child"?
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1answer
42 views

What does “seconds on toast” mean?

I read “Kafka on the shore” and met the next sentence: I look around, and seconds on toast don't seem likely to materialize. Could you explain what “seconds on toast” mean? What is semantically ...
4
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2answers
80 views

What is the origin of the idiom “to be sure”?

I want to know the origin of the idiomatic phrase "to be sure". None of the definitions I found on online dictionaries mentioned an origin, and I also didn't find it asked anywhere on the net (though ...
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1answer
111 views

English equivalent of Konkani proverb “kam natilo achari bhurganchi kule tasto” (When jobless, a carpenter takes to even filing children's buttocks)

English equivalent of Konkani proverb "kam (job) natilo (not having) achari (Carpenter) bhurganchi (Children's) kule (buttocks) tasto (files)" (When jobless, a Clueless carpenter takes to even filing (...
0
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1answer
70 views

“For the sake of” vs “for sake of”

Are for the sake of and for sake of both equally correct and idiomatic? The dictionaries I know list only the former, while the latter also seems to be commonplace.
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1answer
59 views

Is it alright to say something is super great [closed]

I would like to know if it's alright to say something is super great. Example: Let's build this house super great.
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1answer
35 views

How would you write this sentence?

Concerns of critics become evident in large apps where it is common to see CSS files with thousands of lines of code. OR Critics' concern become evident in large apps where it is common to see CSS ...

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