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Questions tagged [idiomatic-language]

is for questions about whether or not a particular phrase or sentence is a usual or common way that fluent English speakers might express something.

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Is it natural to use the word column like this? [duplicate]

Let's say there are students sitting in a classroom like this: A. B. C A. B. C A. B. C A B. C A. B. C A. B. C The As are the first column, the Bs the second and the Cs the third. If ...
W55's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
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"A pebble of disappointment plummets the length of him" [closed]

(From A Terrible Kindness by Jo Browning Wroe, Part II Cambridge Choir, chapter 14) 'Where are we going?' 'Song room,' says Martin 'Not the chapel?' 'Choristers go there for evening practice and then ...
philphil's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
45 views

idiomatic speech and sense of rhythm [closed]

I have a question concerning the passage below: it describes the narrator reading her friend’s news feed on Facebook. Could you please tell me if ‘hugging two beauties (...) around the waist, ...’ is ...
mockingjay's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
128 views

The meaning of "yourself" in "Getting ahead of yourself."

Earlier, I needed to make a sentence like this: For dating, it's important not to get ahead of yourself. This made me question what "yourself" here is indicating. This expression means, &...
Gwangmu Lee's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
879 views

When talking about a broken device, would there be any difference between: "I will get it working." and "I will get it to work."

Someone is trying to use a device and realizes that it is not working. So he says: I will try and get it working. ITV-dental crisis (see:4:00-4:12) The structure "get it working" reminded of ...
Yunus's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
36 views

". . . drawn tight into the folds of their community."

(From A Terrible Kindness by Jo Browning Wroe, Part I, Aberfan, chapter 11) The pavement fill with black-clad figures oozing from doorways. Keep your head down and your heart hard. That's your ...
philphil's user avatar
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1 answer
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Are they going to put/hold off the wedding till May?

I am trying to translate a dialogue into English. Which is idiomatic: 1. — Are they going to put off the wedding till May? — Yes, they couldn't get it organized any earlier. 2. — Are they going to ...
sanya6's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
188 views

The expression "that's no way to do something"

I recently heard this expression from a podcast episode, where a guest said "that's no way to treat a woman". from the context of that conversation, I infer that this likely means "that'...
oeter's user avatar
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3 votes
3 answers
620 views

Is saying "decrease by two-fifths" grammatical?

Suppose there were 100 men in the room, and then 40 left. Is the following sentence natural? The number of men in the room decreased by two-fifths.
An IELTS Learner's user avatar
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1 answer
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What would you say to cover anything for the missing part? | "You're not too fat, you're not too short, you're not too .......... you think you are."

Imagine someone is very critical of themselves, and he/she thinks, "I am too fat, I am too short, I am too this and too that etc.", whereas they are not. And you want to boost their ...
Yunus's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
28 views

"Who" and "When" next to each other. ---- "I was waiting at the airport when who should come along but Mr Pettigrew!

"I was waiting at the airport when who should come along but Mr Pettigrew!" cambridge dictionary-come along The part of the sentence ".....when who....." has caught my eye. This is ...
Yunus's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
15 views

"You can dance however you like." --- Is the sentence as idiomatic as "You can dance any way you like."

"You can dance any way you like." "You can dance however you like." The both mean the same to me, at least in terms of grammer. Are they both idiomatic, too?
Yunus's user avatar
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18 votes
2 answers
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the joke in muppet sketch: the comedian's a bear

Last week I was reading this post about a famous Muppet's sketch with Fozzie and Kermit (featuring in episode 110), so I watched it (the video can be easily found on several streaming service, and, ...
sigmud's user avatar
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2 answers
41 views

Would "Glue them to each other." be as idiomatic as "Glue them together."?

I have heard a native english speaker, who was showing how to make things from paper, said this: "Glue them together". (There were two pieces of paper, and she put some glue on one of them, ...
Yunus's user avatar
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3 votes
3 answers
64 views

What does "all that is" mean in this sentence: --- "Every day they all huddle together, all that is, except for Bernard."

This is a story about a fish called Bernard who lives in the river with his brothers and sisters. The speaker says: "...Every day they all huddle together, all that is, except for Bernard." ...
Yunus's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
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Is 'time-impaired' in this context idiomatic?

I am reading Limited Liability Companies for Dummies by Jennifer Reuting, and the use of 'impaired' sounds strange to me in this context: I know, I know — you’re busy! You operate on a need-to-know ...
Lerner Zhang's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
39 views

Is this sentence idiomatic: "It works best the earliest it is given."

A doctor tells about adrenaline pens on TV. He says: "It works best the earliest it is given." ITV-Adrenaline pens (see:8:26-8:30) As far as I understand, he means "The earlier it is ...
Yunus's user avatar
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-1 votes
3 answers
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What does this sentence mean: "It is not like those women would have looked at you twice before Christmas."

This is from famous British TV drama, the Eastenders, a man is saying to a woman: It is not like those women would have looked at you twice before Christmas. TV drama - Eastenders see: (0:44-0:48) I ...
Yunus's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
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Why is the question tag for this sentence in Cambridge Dictionary shown like this? --- He gave up his job, did he?

The following sentences are from Cambridge Dictionary along with the explanation: In questions in informal conversation, we can leave out a subject pronoun, or a subject pronoun and an accompanying ...
Yunus's user avatar
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-3 votes
2 answers
100 views

The woman pulled back the curtain to disclose the hidden parrot

I am studying a group of synonyms, and have an impression, that ChatGPT gives me the wrong answers. For example, I suspect that this sentence does not sound idiomatic: The woman pulled back the ...
sanya6's user avatar
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1 answer
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Any difference in meaning between: "I don't get weighed." AND "I don't weigh myself."?

1- "I don't weigh myself." 2- "I don't get weighed." I heard the first one being used. And I just googled the second one, because it is grammatically closer to my mother tongue (...
Yunus's user avatar
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0 votes
2 answers
51 views

How do you shorten this unnatural sentence: "The problem is not caused by me 100%, but it is also caused by you to some extent."

Two people are arguing about a problem, why it is caused, etc. And finally one of them wants to mean: "This problem is not caused by me 100%, but it is also caused by you to some extent." (...
Yunus's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
74 views

Does "for the past days" need to be "for the past *few* days"?

Does it sound natural to a native speaker to say "for the past days" without using the word "few"?: For the past days [note here the omission of "few" in "past few ...
flen's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
1k views

Are "All right, so ....." and "So, yeah, ....." interchangeable when we start to talk about a subject?

"So yeah,...." "All right, so..." I sometimes hear these two expressions being used when people start talking about something to other people. For example, I hear that some ...
Yunus's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
85 views

Cancer patient says "I haven't got to be bored." --- Does it mean "I mustn't be bored"?

This sentence is from a program about how various cancer patients have been feeling since their diagnosis: "I haven't got to be bored." Cancer patients (see:43:40-43:44) I think she means ...
Yunus's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
32 views

Any difference between "He was taken down there." AND "He was taken there."? [duplicate]

"Anyway, he got drunk and he was taken down there." ITV-This morning (see:5:08-5:15) "take someone to a place" is the usual structure in every day life. For instance "He took ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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Why does this sentence have "And so it was" at the beginning? | "And so it was that the beggar died."

"And so it was that the beggar died and was carried by the angels unto Abraham's bosom." Lazarus phenomenon (see:6:28-6:32) Why does the sentence start with "And so it was that .......&...
Yunus's user avatar
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0 votes
0 answers
114 views

Is "Parallelly" a good choice over 'In Parallel'?

Most online dictionary (M/W, Collins etc.) list this word: Parallelly as: (adverb) in a parallel manner Should we not use In Parallel instead? I did not find any book which uses "Parallelly&...
Rakib's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
100 views

How idiomatic is "or?" instead of "isn't it?" at the end of a question?

I made the observation that some English speakers end questions with "or " where I would expect "isn't it", "don't they" etc. So instead of This won't work, will it? You ...
musiKk's user avatar
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4 votes
3 answers
2k views

"It is snow everywhere." OR "It is snowy everywhere."

An expert is talking about microplastics on BBC, and she tells about how we are surrounded by plastic. She says: "...and you know, it is plastic, it is plastic everywhere." BBC-microplastic. ...
Yunus's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
103 views

I can't understand why a native speaker says it this way, when telling about a church collapse? ----- "Came right down onto the church."

A church roof collapsed in USA. A person who actually saw it fall in tells about how it happened. He says: "Came right down onto the church." BBC- (See 00:28-00:32) I can't really understand ...
Yunus's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
29 views

Verbs with the same past forms: "recognize the tense" vs. "ignore the tense"?

I have a very tricky question about how to perceive verbs because it'll help me understand what native speakers perceive in English (and adopt it for my better English). It's the question about the ...
Gwangmu Lee's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
19 views

Is "action withheld" correct?

In a formal environment, is it correct to say, for example, "action withheld due to insufficient information" to mean that you decided not to take action for that reason? Information and ...
William's user avatar
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10 votes
4 answers
3k views

Seeking an English Equivalent for the Concept of "Evil Eye"

I'm trying to understand how to express a concept from my culture in English. In my language, we have a term, which roughly translates to casting the evil eye. This term is often used in situations ...
Iman Mohammadi's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
57 views

"We're staying with friends." | Does this sentence mean "We are in the friends' house." or "The friends are in our house."

"We're staying with friends." When I read the sentence, I thought The friends have come to our house, so we are with them in our house. However, as the story goes, I understood that it was ...
Yunus's user avatar
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9 votes
6 answers
6k views

Why did the BBC use "would have done" instead of Simple Past to describe this recent event?

The following sentence is about a problem that took place last week when an aircraft's door panel blew out while it was in the air. The aircraft was delivered to Alaska Airlines on 31 October 2023, ...
Yunus's user avatar
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-1 votes
1 answer
52 views

Can 'sway' be used as a synonym to 'swing'?

All dictionaries describe 'sway' as to 'move gently, regularly, from side to side' (I omit other meanings of the word). My, imperfect, impression is that it describes a movement anchored at the bottom:...
Turin's user avatar
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-1 votes
1 answer
55 views

Why do "medicine" and "law" take "to practice" as a governing verb but "sports" do not?

In English, there's a joke: "Why do lawyers and doctors 'practice' medicine and law? Do you feel safe knowing that your life or fate is in the hands of some who's only practicing"? It's a ...
Fomalhaut's user avatar
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0 votes
2 answers
73 views

I am a black belt at or black belt in?

I am a Black Belt at Origami. One false move and I can fold you into twelve.!” Petrá joked. (source) I am pretty sure you can't say at unless it's a location. What do you think? I am a black belt at ...
Sayaman's user avatar
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11 votes
3 answers
2k views

Can "TA" (Teaching Assistant) Be Used as a Verb?

In informal contexts, is it grammatically correct to use "TA" as a verb? For example, can I say, "I have TAed 4 courses this semester, " meaning that I have worked as a teaching ...
Iman Mohammadi's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
138 views

Understanding the Phrase "What It Do": Its Meaning and Usage

I've encountered the phrase "what it do" in various contexts, and I'm trying to understand its meaning and how it's used in conversation. Could someone explain the significance of this ...
Iman Mohammadi's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
89 views

The train had left the station when I arrived (there)

(1) The train had left the station when I arrived. (2) The train had left the station when I arrived there. Question: Which sentence sounds natural to native English speakers' ears? I don't know ...
Kaguyahime's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
52 views

Can I send a “cold warm wishes”?

Last day I took a picture on a high mountain. I want to post on internet for the Christmas wishes, but I’m very confused for the caption I want use to express. Can I send “A cold warm wishes”?
Usein Patel's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
566 views

"We were looking through all these pictures of little dogs." - Why is she saying "...all these...", despite not pointing to any pictures?

A native English speaker says this sentence, when she mentions about how she got a dog for the first time: I wasn't sure, but we were looking through all these pictures of little dogs. Lady Barber (...
Yunus's user avatar
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1 vote
3 answers
50 views

bartering items by exchanging this with this?

He's now bartering items by exchanging this with this I was told that you should use "for" instead of "with", but then someone told me it's ok to use "with" if you want ...
Sayaman's user avatar
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6 votes
2 answers
757 views

I must go now. vs. I must be off now

I must go now. I must be off now. Is there any nuance between the two sentences?
gomadeng's user avatar
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0 votes
0 answers
32 views

Can "all" in "all alone" be used in the same way for other adjectives, too? For example, can we say "He was all sad."?

"You were all alone." I understand that the structure "all+adjective" means "so, very, completely, etc". So I wondered if we can use "all" in the same way with ...
Yunus's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
32 views

"It is where something happens." VS "It is there that something happens."

This is from a video about how planets and stars are born and how life might have started. .....and it's these dense clouds that are of interest to ALMA, because it's there that planets and stars ...
Yunus's user avatar
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0 votes
2 answers
112 views

What does ".....in the year to June 2023" mean? Is it starting from January of 2023 or is it starting from June of 2022?

A record 510,000 people came to Australia in the year to June 2023. BBC-Australia to halve migration I know the difference between fiscal year and calendar year, but this one does not seem to be about ...
Yunus's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
637 views

"How far back was the deer? - Does "how far back ...." make sense when the driver actually run into a deer in front of the car?

This is from a native speaker's telling about some of the things done by the officers after his car run into a deer which suddenly ran out onto the road. The man could not stop or swerve and had to ...
Yunus's user avatar
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