Questions tagged [expressions]

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

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29 votes
7 answers
192k 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"?
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  • 681
18 votes
3 answers
22k 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 ...
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  • 667
13 votes
2 answers
6k 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, ...
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  • 1,633
7 votes
1 answer
396 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 ...
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  • 71
0 votes
2 answers
3k 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 ...
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  • 725
14 votes
11 answers
15k 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. ...
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41 votes
5 answers
219k 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 ...
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  • 1,112
5 votes
1 answer
8k 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"?
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  • 928
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?...
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  • 327
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 ...
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4 votes
3 answers
32k 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 ...
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2 votes
3 answers
72 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 ...
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1 vote
2 answers
579 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
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0 votes
1 answer
229 views

A person who has developed only in one or many aspects of their life

What do you call a person who has been developed in only one aspect of their life? For instance, someone who has just studied and did not achieve any needed experiences in society dealing with ...
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0 votes
2 answers
861 views

His degree was (hard/hardly) earned

His degree was hard earned. His degree was hardly earned. Which is right?
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  • 29
-1 votes
1 answer
131 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?
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23 votes
5 answers
397k 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 ...
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  • 5,465
12 votes
6 answers
147k 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. ...
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  • 171
24 votes
8 answers
20k 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 ...
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  • 1,110
13 votes
7 answers
210k 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 ...
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27 votes
3 answers
6k views

Meaning of "8 going on 48"

I don't understand what this expression means: Little adults are the children that parents describe as 'eight going on forty-eight'.
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  • 1,153
8 votes
6 answers
9k 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, ...
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  • 301
5 votes
2 answers
284 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...
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  • 431
4 votes
3 answers
1k 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? ...
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  • 5,465
4 votes
4 answers
12k 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 ...
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  • 13.7k
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?
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9 votes
4 answers
36k 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 ...
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  • 1,937
8 votes
2 answers
36k 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 ...
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5 votes
1 answer
4k 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 ...
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  • 285
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 ...
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  • 6,269
3 votes
1 answer
1k 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 ...
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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 ...
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  • 415
1 vote
2 answers
2k views

I don't understand what "that is" means in this passage

It's not a problem to rely on a powerful weapon. If you can find one, that is. I don't get that "that is". Could somebody please explain it?
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1 vote
4 answers
5k views

"Do you like the color red" vs "Do you like the red color"?

When your favorite color is red, do you say, I like the color red. or I like the red color. Is there any difference of meaning between the two ways of saying about your favorite color?
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8 votes
4 answers
28k 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 ...
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  • 1,153
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.
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4 votes
1 answer
451 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 ...
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  • 351
4 votes
2 answers
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 ...
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4 votes
1 answer
160 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 ...
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3 votes
2 answers
371 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 ...
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3 votes
2 answers
101 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 ...
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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"?
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2 votes
3 answers
5k 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".
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  • 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.
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  • 1,659
2 votes
1 answer
8k 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?
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  • 397
1 vote
2 answers
60 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 ...
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1 vote
1 answer
325 views

A proverb / an expression to imply: "Enough is as good as a feast" or "Too much spoil, too little doesn't satisfy"

Please imagine a situation that a person goes too far in doing something and in another task they son't put enough effort! Or a cook who's making a food and salts a it too much, and the other food ...
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  • 13.7k
1 vote
1 answer
19 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 ...
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  • 1,210
1 vote
1 answer
37 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 ...
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  • 193
1 vote
2 answers
74 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 ...
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  • 1,210