Questions tagged [expressions]

This tag is for questions which a dictionary cannot answer asking the meaning of a particular expression.

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An American expression for "a packet of crisps"

According to the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, it seems that this is called "a packet of crisps" (Lognman | crisp), but the same dictionary says that "packet" is ...
Kaguyahime's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
36 views

What does the word "another" refer to in the sentence “He could not forget or pardon a lapse in another"?

I am quoting from The Return of Sherlock Holmes, The Second Stain, by Arthur Conan Doyle: “Mr. Holmes, I will tell you everything,” cried the lady. “Oh, Mr. Holmes, I would cut off my right hand ...
user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
44 views

Does "I'm gonna get it" mean that I'm going to get scolded or punished?

As per the title: is I'm gonna get it an idiomatic, fixed expression? I cannot find any reference online where they provide a definition/explanation of such an expression. I'm almost certain that in ...
Cal-linux's user avatar
  • 111
0 votes
1 answer
51 views

Use of 'Don't you tell me' [closed]

I recently used this expression,'Don't you tell me' in the following context: Someone told me they are going to have a busy day tomorrow. I replied 'Ugh, don't you tell me' to show sympathy and ...
user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
135 views

What is the difference between "Seem focused on" and "Seem to be focused on"?

And also, is the expression "seem focusing on doing something" also correct?
J.W's user avatar
  • 25
-2 votes
1 answer
51 views

What does it mean when someone asks "what's on the register?"

I was joking around with a friend saying I'm accepting wedding presents already despite not being prepared for marriage just yet, then she asked: What's on the register? I googled it and the only ...
grammargirl98's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
122 views

What is the range of 'many hundreds of something'?

What is the range of 'many hundreds of something'? Or, does the expression only suggest an indefinite, large number of something?
Lifeispicnic's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
32 views

"Getting shot out" for an object?

I vaguely heard somebody describing broken objects as getting shot out. I briefly looked up dictionaries, and the only "close enough" definition was (well) from Urban Dictionary. I already ...
Gwangmu Lee's user avatar
  • 1,091
1 vote
1 answer
46 views

Meaning of the phrase "strike a bonanza"

Just as a tribe might occasionally strike a bonanza in the game of primitive warfare, sometimes a state might do the same, given the opportunities offered an Alexander the Great or a Hernan Cortes. ...
Dmitry's user avatar
  • 11
0 votes
1 answer
74 views

What does the expression "got smoked" mean? [closed]

The WEBP library got smoked. The exploit allows for arbitrary code execution. Update your browsers immediately!! —Twitter Could anybody explain what does mean the expression "got smoked" in ...
Jorge Luiz's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
37 views

Is "words in <suffix>" correct?

As I was writing an answer in another SE language forum, I used "words in -act" for words ending in -act like impact or contact. Words in -act are always pronounced /akt/ I said this both ...
Teleporting Goat's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
65 views

Is the expression "either overshoot or fall short" excellent English?

A. Medical treatments either overshoot or fall short. B. Medical treatments either overshoot or fall short of the mark. I would like to know if the figurative expression "either overshoot or ...
user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
184 views

Is "reach for help" a valid expression?

I have been using "reach for help" as an alternative to "seek help" or "ask for help" in a university paper I am writing. Someone pointed out that "reach for help&...
raquelhortab's user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
43 views

Can "second only to something" express the two are similar?

There was this question in an IELTS reading passage (answer by true/false/not given): The research found that scientists can make chimpanzees possess the same complex culture as human beings. The ...
Dead Scissors's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
104 views

Is "reacts and acts upon" correct?

I am trying to use the expression: A reacts to and acts upon B. The intended meaning is that B influences A ("A reacts to B"), and that A influences B ("A acts upon B"). However, ...
caleb's user avatar
  • 204
1 vote
2 answers
35 views

Using "I'm wishing to.."

In my native language, we often use the expression "I'm wishing to [action]". As in, "I can't wait to X" , "I'm eager to X" . I'm finding that, in English, it's not used ...
user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
39 views

Which does the phrase "consider doing something" imply, suggestion or suppression?

When someone says "Consider doing something", which is implied, suggestion or suppression? For example, "Consider eating more vegetables" sounds like a suggestion for me. But how ...
ynn's user avatar
  • 103
1 vote
4 answers
470 views

Take a taxi or catch a taxi?

Catch a taxi Take a taxi Catch a bus Take a bus What is the difference between these phrases in meaning? Are they all correct?
Elaheh's user avatar
  • 11
1 vote
1 answer
62 views

Article "a" in "as good a job as"

As a learner, "as ... as" is always a little confusing. Say somebody said the following. You should do at least as good a job as them. Now I can understand how there is a noun between two ...
Gwangmu Lee's user avatar
  • 1,091
0 votes
2 answers
78 views

How to express 'speak either Chinese or English in a conversation but both idiomatically'?

During a Twitter conversation, I was misunderstood as recommending others speak Chinglish. What I want to express is something like this: You can speak either 英语 or Chinese idiomatically during our ...
Lerner Zhang's user avatar
  • 3,173
0 votes
0 answers
27 views

What does “thing” mean vs what is the meaning of “thing”?

In our ESL class a student asked teacher “what’s the meaning of “cough”? The teacher replied “You might ask: What does cough mean instead of asking what is the meaning of cough?” I asked why is the ...
Mauricio Pacheco's user avatar
1 vote
3 answers
47 views

Using its been a slice idiom

It's been a slice. I don't see this idiom in any of the dictionaries online. Why could be that? Separately, suppose I had an enjoyable time with my friends and then later that day somebody asks me how ...
nicku's user avatar
  • 775
1 vote
1 answer
32 views

Leave him alone

Leave him alone. I'm wondering if this expression can be used physically (to move away, depart), as well as mentally (don't interfere his choices).
ForOU's user avatar
  • 1,497
5 votes
3 answers
3k views

Why can we use the article "a" with 'a long history' when 'history' is uncountable?

There was a closely related previous question here but wasn't answered properly. Maybe the reason can be as simple as "because people use that way", but is there another clearer answer for ...
Gwangmu Lee's user avatar
  • 1,091
-1 votes
1 answer
286 views

"They've grown so much" vs "They've 'been' grown so much"?

In this sentences the difference is the been. I've been seen this two ways to write this same thing. In the translater, the two ways is right. Why? "They've grown so much" vs "They've '...
Erick Luz's user avatar
  • 123
0 votes
2 answers
280 views

Does "BITEME" have any non-vulgar usage cases? (seen with other food-related words on printed wallpaper at a restaurant)

I need to explain the presence of "BITEME." mixed in with other short phases about food and the eating of it on printed wallpaper in a restaurant in a non-English speaking country. It looks ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 147
0 votes
1 answer
30 views

Can you paraphrase "How long do we give it" in the excerpt below?

I'm still developing my English so it's great if you answer my question in a very short and direct way; the shorter it is, the better. I don't get the meaning of "HOW LONG DO WE GIVE IT" in ...
nat 123's user avatar
  • 65
2 votes
2 answers
200 views

Can I say, "Any help needed?" to offer my help?

I saw a lady on street who seemed lost. She was searching for somewhere by Google Map. I wanted to help her. At that time, could I just say, "Any help needed?", which is grammatically not ...
user479727's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
60 views

The expression "Eat in or take out" [closed]

whats the meaning of this expression? (Eat in or take out)
yasin 's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
8 views

Formal term for pushing down the hourly rate by letting applicants undercut each other

Sometimes (a.k.a. pretty much every time for some), when a company looks for a contractor, the recruiter will inquire about the expected hourly rate. While there may be a few valid reasons to do so (...
Konrad Viltersten's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
34 views

Is "Bring a surprise" always related to food?

I was watching this TV series, "Unstable" on Netflix. In the 2nd episode, the CEO says to CFO, "Bring me a surprise. Make it a croissant!" So, when I heard the first sentence, I ...
user474372's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
760 views

Expressions with "and boy was I....." Idiomatic expression?

I'm having a hard time understanding this (idiomatic expression? maybe?) What does it mean, and why is it constructed like that? Why does the verb come first? Why is it Boy WAS I.. and not Boy I WAS......
studentxxy's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
38 views

What does mean the expression "he might dig his heels in"?

It’s not uncommon for the person or people who built a plan to resist change, because it takes work to change a plan. For example, there may have been a lot of effort put into breaking the work down ...
Jorge Luiz's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
48 views

turning on the tap water and adjusting the flow

When you turn on the tap water, you also adjust the flow of the water. The flow can be high or low or average according to how much you turn the faucet. Now let's say I'm giving instructions to ...
azz's user avatar
  • 2,689
2 votes
1 answer
58 views

The opposite of "far ago"?

While I was having a conversation, I used "far later" to mean "far in the future" but I didn't feel like this is a common expression. Is there the direct opposite of "far ago&...
Gwangmu Lee's user avatar
  • 1,091
1 vote
1 answer
30 views

Is there an expression that I can use instead of "he knows all the way"?

I don't know if this sentence is right: He knows all the way from being a shy adolescent to a professional whose daily life is to help people understand technology as a simple thing. I want to say ...
Bianca Presotto's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
15 views

Is it correct to say "for every X" instead of "every X"?

Suppose I want to say something like this The graph is updated every code commit. Now because I feel like "every code commit" may sound incomplete or vague, I'd like to add "for" ...
Gwangmu Lee's user avatar
  • 1,091
0 votes
2 answers
45 views

Banned/censored books go to the "pulp mill"?

Would it be accurate to say that an author's censored books were "sent straight from the press to the pulp mill", i.e. shredded by the government? I got this translation from a translation ...
meghatas's user avatar
  • 169
10 votes
5 answers
3k views

What does "rounding a corner" mean?

What does "rounding a corner" mean in the following paragraph? Does it simply mean the action of turning? If so, I still don't get it. "The idiom, 'cutting corners' was first seen in ...
Maurice's user avatar
  • 1,175
0 votes
0 answers
15 views

What does "modernity and technology" mean?

What does "modernity and technology" mean? I've encountered this example: The seating capacity varies and so do furniture and services while keeping modernity and technology at state-of-the-...
Ksenia's user avatar
  • 215
1 vote
2 answers
26 views

Can "give X more room" be used about abstract things?

If I want to say that we need to listen to and consider certain ideas/views/approaches etc. to a greater extent than we're currently doing, can I use "give X more room" for this, or can that ...
Gerda's user avatar
  • 187
0 votes
3 answers
87 views

Which is best: to light up 'with,' 'from,' or 'off'?

I am trying to write a sentence that conveys the idea of lighting something up (a cigar, cigarette) using the flame of a candle. What is the correct form? to light up with a candle to light up from a ...
nuspeaker's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
101 views

"Chip in (-,on,to) the conversation"

Say I'd like to describe a situation where I naturally (not abruptly) join a conversation. I think the closest expression is "chipping in", but which preposition should I use? (Or do I need ...
Gwangmu Lee's user avatar
  • 1,091
1 vote
1 answer
43 views

How do you say that a teacher/researcher at the university "belongs" to a certian subject?

If I want to say which subject a teacher at the university "belongs" to, how do I say this in idiomatic English? Can I use "belong to", or is there a more idiomatic way of saying ...
Mooshi's user avatar
  • 109
1 vote
1 answer
20 views

Other words for "help"

I want to express the meaning of: Something comes as a help (or support) to another thing. Could we say...? Comes to back up the other thing
marc nicole's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
31 views

Can I omit articles after 'in the middle of'?

This kind of issues is what I'm constantly coming across. Say I'd like to say something like this. In the middle of the video, a ghost pops up from nowhere. What I'm confused is whether I should add ...
Gwangmu Lee's user avatar
  • 1,091
0 votes
0 answers
13 views

"being a doctor would be a great occupation in many countries" - is the sentence correct?

Here is the context: I have a friend who wants to relocate to another country. He is a doctor and he is worried about his career. So I said: "doctor" would be a great occupation in many ...
AGamePlayer's user avatar
  • 2,115
1 vote
1 answer
45 views

"I forgot if we have ever talked about this"

I forgot if we have ever talked about this. Simply, I'm trying to tell a friend that I don't remember if we have discussed a topic, and this is what sounds best to my ear. But Google doesn't yield a ...
desmo's user avatar
  • 153
0 votes
1 answer
27 views

Using 'either' in place of 'regardless of'

I know I can say 'Either way,' instead of 'Regardless,', but can I use 'Either ...' in place of 'Regardless of ...' to describe what is unconditional? For example, is this idiomatic compared to the ...
Gwangmu Lee's user avatar
  • 1,091
0 votes
1 answer
15 views

Is the word [that] here correct in part of the whole sentence "those of 【that】 were not organic were found to be 52%“

The original sentence in an essay example is "According to a study conducted on corns and berries grown organically, the antioxidant levels were found to be at 58%, while those of [that] were not ...
Dada's user avatar
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