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Questions tagged [expressions]

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

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31 votes
7 answers
198k views

Difference between "in time" and "on time"

I have an appointment at 8 and I arrive there at 7:55, is it "on time" or "in time"? What about "the nick of time"?
Hanieh's user avatar
  • 711
19 votes
3 answers
25k views

How is “any more than” used to compare two different situations?

In the following quote by Billy Sunday Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you an automobile. Can anyone please explain/elaborate the usage and ...
Vikram's user avatar
  • 707
13 votes
2 answers
7k views

Some of you will have met me before vs Some of you met me before

I really do not get how "will" and past infinitive is used here. This comes from an example in a textbook, explaining usage of will in assumptions: Some of you will have met me before. I wonder, ...
John V's user avatar
  • 1,655
7 votes
1 answer
426 views

Why are lakes called "Lake Soandso" but seas are called "Soandso Sea"?

I am an English teacher for Brazilians. I was explaining the Great Lakes, and after that I mentioned the sea in Europe and noticed that the names were in a reversed order: Which of the great lakes ...
Ronaldo's user avatar
  • 71
0 votes
2 answers
4k views

How often is the expression "get on well" used? Is there any difference with "get along"?

I have been talking with a person from US and when I said something like this: They do not get on well with others She didn´t understand me at first, but later she said that was a funny sentence ...
ChesuCR's user avatar
  • 775
15 votes
11 answers
20k views

An appropriate term for an overly by-the-rules person

In Swedish, we've got a term that loosely translates as paragraph jockey. It refers to a person, often a clerk or a referee, who is following all the rules, prescriptions and agreements ad absurdum. ...
Konrad Viltersten's user avatar
41 votes
5 answers
223k views

What does "Nailed it" mean?

I came across a few combinations of 'nailed it' or 'nailed down' in various contexts. According to the blog-posts, it seems to be widespread on the internet. However, I have never heard these ...
Bálint Pap's user avatar
  • 1,102
25 votes
5 answers
464k views

"Hope this help" or "Hope this helps"?

I often see people write "hope this helps" at the end of a communication, especially when they are trying to answer other people's queries about computer problems. Recently, my English ...
kitty's user avatar
  • 5,595
5 votes
1 answer
9k views

What are "class rolls"?

I found this expression while preparing for the IELTS test: "Teachers will take the class rolls." What are these "class rolls"?
Ilan's user avatar
  • 940
4 votes
3 answers
47k views

Does saying "have good holidays" sound weird?

When you wish someone to have a good weekend, you say, "Have a good weekend!". But what about wishing someone to have good holidays? Does "have good holidays" sound weird? I'm just asking because I ...
Pavel Orekhov's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
3k views

When I need quarters

Are the following expressions grammatically correct? If not, how should I correct each? Giving 10 dollars to the store clerk: Can I get some change in quarters? Can I get some quarters in exchange?...
Paul's user avatar
  • 337
2 votes
3 answers
3k views

Why do native speaker tend to use passive voice?

I found native people prefer to use passive voice in a sentence. For example: Tonight's moon can be seen from anywhere worldwide. We have reason to believe that progress can be made. Be honest, it's ...
christina lee's user avatar
2 votes
3 answers
78 views

Is this a clear expression, "on a rainy day, Bob is grumpy with a 60 % chance, happy with 40 %"?

This question comes from this post, where I am trying to express the following meaning clearly and concisely. this is clear but not concise on a rainy day, Bob is grumpy with a 60 % chance, Bob is ...
user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
666 views

The possessive 's in time expressions

Which is the correct answer? I'll be there in a _____ time. A) day or two B) day or two's C) day's or two's
user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
1k views

His degree was (hard/hardly) earned

His degree was hard earned. His degree was hardly earned. Which is right?
lee lee's user avatar
  • 29
-1 votes
1 answer
248 views

Can you duck through a door that has to be pulled open?

She ducked through the nearest door. Would you say it's only possible to duck through a door that has to be pushed or could I also use "duck through" if the door had to be pulled open?
Student1324's user avatar
25 votes
8 answers
22k views

English equivalent of "garam" (warming) food?

I want to know how we say in English when we want to say that almonds or other dry fruits are "hot" for our body. I am an Indian, and in India, we use the word garam which literally means hot in ...
Gurpreet's user avatar
  • 1,120
13 votes
7 answers
220k views

Have a nice travel?

I am looking for some kind way of replying to an email when the other person is saying that he will be traveling and asks for more time to complete something. It appears that "Have a nice day" could ...
user avatar
12 votes
6 answers
169k views

'recently' with present perfect and past

When do we use recently with past tenses? I've come across some sentences in which I don't understand the use of recently. I recently wrote to my grandmother. They were working in Canada recently. ...
Svetlana's user avatar
  • 171
9 votes
4 answers
41k views

Difference and usage between "I dare say" and "dare I say it"

I dare say is defined on Dictionary.com as: to venture to say (something); assume (something) as probable. I've also heard of the expression dare I say it as well; however, I was unable to find a ...
Theo's user avatar
  • 1,997
9 votes
3 answers
43k views

"What time is it" versus "what is the time"

Does it matter if I use "what time is it?" versus "what is the time?". In what cases should I use what time is it? For example would I say: Hey steve! what is the time? or Hey steve! what time ...
Trevor Clarke's user avatar
8 votes
4 answers
31k views

When do you use this expression 'I am not a fan of '

I understand the meaning when it is said like 'I am not a fan of Indian food or horror movies' Here, you are a fan of things like movies, food etc. but I do not understand why it is correct to ...
colona's user avatar
  • 1,205
8 votes
6 answers
10k views

What do you call it when someone searches through your stuff?

This is one of the things that I don't really know the proper name for, because I've never heard anyone say it, but I know how to explain it. Let's say a toddler is searching through your backpack, ...
Kyle's user avatar
  • 301
5 votes
1 answer
2k views

The meaning of "still-beating"

I could hear a still-beating pulse of his heart. Could it mean two things? It is still beating. (still now) It is beating quietly.
user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
6k views

Is it idiomatic to put "nonetheless" at the end of a sentence?

this comes from "NoSQL & SQL Data Modeling" by Ted Hills. The rectangle represents a logical record type. This is not a type in the sense of a generalization/specialization hierarchy. It is a ...
Jay's user avatar
  • 285
5 votes
1 answer
337 views

Expressing potayto-potahto, tomayto-tomahto correctly in writing

There's a saying expressing that the presented concepts are distinct without a difference. It's based on the pronunciation of potato and tomato. How would one go about writing that differnece in an ...
Konrad Viltersten's user avatar
5 votes
6 answers
2k views

Contextual expression and Get/Got It [duplicate]

First context If I taught something to my students and wanted to check whether they understood me or not, what should I say ? second context If I were to ask them whether they are following me or ...
yubraj's user avatar
  • 2,838
5 votes
2 answers
333 views

Why does "will" go before a noun in this sentence?

Why does "will" go before the word "Twitter" while there's no question? Under no circumstances will Twitter be liable in any way for any Content...
aspermag's user avatar
  • 431
4 votes
1 answer
481 views

what is the meaning of "minute debris"?

What does "minute debris" mean in the context of an avalanche? I can't find it anywhere. The fragments of ice hit the ground around them. The ground beneath his feet trembled and shifted with the ...
Giovanna's user avatar
  • 351
4 votes
1 answer
2k views

What does "fetch" and "stop trying to make 'fetch' happen" mean?

cambridge gives 3 meanings of fetch meaning 1: to go to another place to get something or someone and bring it, him, or her back meaning 2: to be sold for a particular amount of money ...
user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
393 views

What Victorian profanities might Charlotte Brontë be referring to here? (in Jane Eyre) [closed]

Eliza and Georgiana, evidently acting according to orders, spoke to me as little as possible: John thrust his tongue in his cheek whenever he saw me, and once attempted chastisement; but as I ...
Listenever's user avatar
  • 24.2k
4 votes
4 answers
14k views

"Literally" Vs "In the true sense of the word"

The Cambridge and other dictionaries say that "literally" can be used as an emphasis on something. But there is another term: "in the true sense of the word", which to mea has a quite similar meaning ...
A-friend's user avatar
  • 14.3k
4 votes
1 answer
2k views

How do you say two or several things are about equivalent to each other in English?

How do you say two or several things are about equivalent to each other in English? For example, if I post a question here and receive two answers which seem equally good to me, and I don't know ...
user239460's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
3k views

Is "Holy" used with anything?

I have heard several expressions e.g. "Holy Shit", "Holy Jesus", "Holy Mother of God" even "Holy Zeus" et al for cursing purposes in different English movies. Some of the phrases are relevant, but ...
Mistu4u's user avatar
  • 6,415
4 votes
3 answers
2k views

Another way to say "We are not relations."

In the movie Forrest Gump, Lieutenant Dan was asking Gump and Bubba whether they are twin brothers, but Gump said: "No....we are not relations, Sir." Is it also correct to say if I say this? ...
kitty's user avatar
  • 5,595
3 votes
3 answers
9k views

Meaning of "Then again"

"Then again, it didn't matter, did it?" What's the meaning of "then again" here? Is it the same as "thinking better"?
Denise Rocha's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
112 views

Is miscarriage or stillborn a better choice stylistically of an idea?

I used an expression for describing a really bad idea that already from start was bound to fail: ...that was a miscarriage for an idea... In an answer, a person pointed out that he'd prefer ...
Konrad Viltersten's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
5k views

Be afraid of or be afraid to?

Would a pupil say: "I'm afraid of getting bad marks." or "I'm afraid to get bad marks."? What is the nuance introduced by OF and TO?
zenith3's user avatar
  • 947
3 votes
3 answers
454 views

Which way can 'fit' go?

Can I use the word fit like this: 'Pick an envelope that fits everything' as in Pick an envelope that is suitable in size and shape for all the papers you have to put in there 'The tires won't fit my ...
Chris 's user avatar
  • 711
2 votes
1 answer
3k views

uses of with, at, of

I would like to now if I am using the prepositions correctly: "She was not pleased with her job and was tired of doing the same thing every day, but everybody was surprised at her attitude" I ...
user63598's user avatar
  • 425
2 votes
1 answer
540 views

Idiom: use of "all things X"

While understanding the general meaning of "all things X" ("All Things Electronic", for instance), I'm having some issue putting it into a sentence. Would you rather use (I can't ...
DrGorilla.eth's user avatar
2 votes
3 answers
6k views

What to call it when someone always looks for greener pastures?

Someone who always looks for the "better" and more ideal places (to live), jobs, things to buy that fit his taste/mood etc. He is always looking for better because he always feels it's "not enough".
user76935's user avatar
  • 249
2 votes
1 answer
1k views

Is that any expression in English for "not too sweet tea"?

Is that any expression in English for not too sweet tea? Here, we normally say it is as sweet as guava, which means the taste of tea is just half sweet, because the amount of sugar is reduced.
Student's user avatar
  • 1,659
2 votes
1 answer
17k views

Meaning of expression " blanket rationale "

I strongly agree with this point, and don't buy the blanket rationale that speed trumps everything in a startup. I couldn't find its meaning anywhere, what does blanket rationale mean?
Alejandro Veltri's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
10k views

Is "How long will you be" correct?

When you're seeking to know in how long from now someone will complete an activity, can you say "How long will you be?" And what's your recommended phrase if this is incorrect?
user34244's user avatar
  • 407
1 vote
2 answers
90 views

"all of the balls" or "all the balls" in the box?

I answered a question just now Given a set S = {x, y, z}, then all the possible subsets of S are {}, {x}, {y}, {z}, {x, y}, {x, z}, {y, z}, {x, y, z} where, {} denotes the empty set. I ...
JJJohn's user avatar
  • 1,253
1 vote
2 answers
71 views

Are "right now" and "currently" exchangeably here?

Chapter 2 of the book "C++ Primer Plus, 6th Edition by Stephen Prata (2012)" says Right now the main point to remember is that C++ syntax requires you to begin the definition of the main() function ...
user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
21 views

Is it grammatical and idiomatic to simplify this expression "the amount of that function that increases in this interval" this way?

The lecturer is saying we can then say that the gradient of this line is equal to the amount of that function that increases in this interval divided by the length of the interval where the ...
JJJohn's user avatar
  • 1,253
1 vote
1 answer
40 views

What is the meaning of "recovering the pasts of my stay"? [closed]

Armand reads a letter written by Vincent: Dear Theo and Jo, it is really very beautiful here. I feel I see the North all the better for my trip to the South. I have settled down to some canvasses ...
Zelina G's user avatar
  • 193
1 vote
1 answer
1k views

"In tandem" - Can it be used with more than 2 things?

I have a doubt on the expression "in tandem". Can more than two things "move in tandem"? Or is it always limited to two things as one would expect from the tandem bike origin of ...
user avatar