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Questions tagged [idioms]

Use the idiom tag for questions which a dictionary cannot answer about set phrases with unusual meanings that can't be properly understood just from the separate words in them.

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'In a hurry', why is this used with the infinite article 'a'?

I was so confused with this. So I look up the word 'hurry' in the Oxford dictionary and I found that it is an uncountable noun. Is it possible to use 'a' before 'hurry'? Why is it possible? Do I ...
Janghyeon Kim's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
30 views

Should you say "mistake a deer as a horse" or "mistake a deer for a horse"?

That is to say, somebody saw a deer and thought it was a horse, as in the phrase "horse deer" in Japanese: 馬鹿, ばか to mean a fool or idiot: The complete usage is: It is "horse" vs &...
Stefanie Gauss's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
46 views

Is 'puts it on speaker' the most natural way to expess when...?

Jeff's phone rings. It's Billy. He doesn't pick the phone up, just answers, and puts it on speaker. Jeff: Hi, Billy. Is 'puts it on speaker' the most natural way to express this? And is it enough ...
Bobobobobo11's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
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The man of double deed

There is this beautiful poem I heard on "The Fall" (british tv show). There was a man of double deed, Who sowed his garden full of seed; When the seed began to grow, 'Twas like a garden ...
r2r23's user avatar
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0 answers
16 views

Is it okay not to use infinitive when referring to an idiom (or some other pharse)?

I saw a sentence in my textbook: I think the moral of the story is let the buyer beware. "Let the buyer beware" is an idiom, I wonder is it okay to insert it directly into the sentence ...
Nekomiya Kasane's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
89 views

What does it mean "to have your feet on backwards"?

I came across the following saying: The people who use this tool have their feet on backwards. That way they think they are walking forward, but are really walking backward. What is the meaning of &...
Vitalizzare's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
61 views

Does "on" mean "ready"?

Cecilia cut it into small, soft pieces. She piled the chicken onto the sandwiches and then put the sandwiches on the plates. Andrew Jr. called out, "Lunch is on!"
ben_mb's user avatar
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1 answer
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What's the difference between these two "Get to" vs "Arrive at" in terms of meaning?

What would be your reaction or answer to these declarative statements? I arrived at the hotel. I got to the hotel.
Kaveh Behnia 's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
152 views

"In a while" vs. "soon"

I am getting very confused because my girlfriend is using the idiom in a while really often and it sounds weird every time (we are both non-native speakers). She would say for example "I am going ...
lukas gamard's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
23 views

“no sooner A than B” is a fixed expression but can ‘when’ be interchangeable with ‘than’?

The following sentence is from Merriam-Webster I had no sooner walked through the door when the phone rang. As I know, 'no sooner' goes with 'than', though 'scarcely/hardly' goes with 'when' Is the ...
gomadeng's user avatar
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1 vote
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"to repose upon": is it correct?

I was wondering whether using "to repose upon" as in the below example from The Free Dictionary is correct (its definition: "2. To be based on, exist in, or take support from something.&...
bastian's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
54 views

What does "blood drains from stomach"mean?

what is the meaning of "blood drains from stomach"? Elisa is shocked, so I suppose it's the same like "stomach churns​/​lurches​/​tightens", but is it really so? And then ... next ...
Kristina Lukosevice's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
224 views

Is "raise a specter of doubt" an incorrect use of the idiom?

Warning, major spoilers for "Gone Girl" by David Fincher. First a little bit of background/reminder. This is a sentence I've got troubles with. Meticulously stage a crime scene, with just ...
Static Bounce's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
121 views

"Keep it together" VS "Pull oneself together" in AE

Based on dictionary definitions, the following two idioms mean more or less the same thing: "Keep it together:" to remain calm, composed, and self-possessed, especially despite or in the ...
A-friend's user avatar
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1 vote
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34 views

'Never caused hassle' - does it 'break' an idiom?

Is the sentence 'She never caused hassle' correct? If so, does it sound unnatural? 'She never caused any hassle' seems like a much more common choice and I do not know if the rarity of the former (in ...
Turin's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
51 views

Please contact our office and we will arrange for a sales representative to call on you. (call on = visit)

Please contact our office and we will arrange for a sales representative to call on you. He will be glad to explain our terms, discount policies, and sales procedures. call on sb : visit Wonder why '...
gomadeng's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
39 views

brink of error vs brink of mistake

How to fill the gap "Musician should teeter on the brink of ___ while playing." error mistake failure Is any of these alternatives more "idiomatic" for the expression? The ...
Przemyslaw Remin's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
15 views

Idiom to indicate accepting culpability for an action

Is there any idiom which resembles similar meaning to as you make your bed so you must lie in it (one must accept the bad results of his action)
MEGA's user avatar
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0 answers
33 views

Do Idioms such as "all the more" function as adjectives or adverbs?

All the more reason to value these beautiful little creatures and their habitat, right? (From TOEFL) In the sentence above, I think "all the more" is functioning as an adjective. In Merriam-...
HypnoticBuggyWraithVirileBevy's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
36 views

Is "at the edge of" natural in the context?

The cemetery is located at the edge of the city. Is "at the edge of" natural in this context? Or are there other options that would be more natural?
user118626's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
379 views

Wearing the proverbial “pants”?

But appearances of gender equality can be deceiving. In my most recent study, I asked 114 young adults about their heterosexual relationship experiences. Unsurprisingly, power was skewed in favor of ...
High GPA's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
230 views

Meaning of Go Home

I know literal meaning of 'go home'. In the following talk it's vague to me. “Let me guarantee you this, based on everything that I know and understand, and the help that [Biden] has already gotten ...
SHIN JaeGuk's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
2k views

Come to think of it vs Now that I think about it

Are 'now that I think about it' and 'come to think of it' used in the same way. According to a dictionary: 1) Come to think of it is used for adding something that you have just remembered about a ...
Ashraf's user avatar
  • 545
1 vote
0 answers
37 views

Metaphorical reference to someone bad to doing good and being praised more than a good person

I'd like to point out the following phenomenon that frequently occurs in the daily life. Take a mischief, culprit, someone unreliable and well-known to be a lousy piece of manure. Basically a bad ...
Konrad Viltersten's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
225 views

Is it idiomatic to say "the goal is to serve as"?

A post says The goal of this post is to serve as a nice introduction to ... which appears to use a pattern "the goal is to serve as". With the meaning of "an aim or purpose", Cambridge Dictionary ...
WXJ96163's user avatar
  • 3,067
1 vote
0 answers
2k views

Grate on someone's ears / nerves

What does the sentence below mean? His voice grates on my ears. His voice grates on my nerves. Please have a look on Longman's definition below: To grate on (to annoy someone):  - Mr ...
A-friend's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
10k views

"all the way (through)" and "to the end"

I haven't watched the movie all the way through. I haven't watched the movie all the way. I haven't watched the movie all the way to the end. I haven't watched the movie to the end. Do ...
Pleep Ploop's user avatar
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0 votes
0 answers
49 views

Could someone clarify the distinctions between 'beside,' 'besides,' 'aside from,' and 'apart from'?

I often find myself confused when choosing the right word in various contexts. Are these words interchangeable, or do they have specific situations where they should be used?
Licey Soremap's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
75 views

can someone please explain me the meaning of "It's not cut" in this context

I've playing a game called gta san andreas and there's a phrase that i'm no understanding at all the context is: the character called CJ and the other called big smoke have to go to cj's mom funeral ...
user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
31 views

After he became manager, people were suddenly falling over themselves to help him

After he became manager, people were suddenly falling over themselves to help him. What's the literal meaning of 'fall over oneself'?
gomadeng's user avatar
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0 votes
0 answers
76 views

"not A and B" vs "not A or B"

John is not good at both sports and studying. John is not good at either sports or studying. Would there be any difference between the two?
kuwabara's user avatar
  • 1,488
0 votes
0 answers
40 views

Not less than enough and not more Expression or Idiom

I'm looking for an expression or idiom in English that expresses this context: Anything that you overdo or it exceeds its limit is annoying and unacceptable. And also the same thing goes for anything ...
Mohd Sala's user avatar
  • 433
0 votes
0 answers
25 views

The meaning of "Your self worth down"?

Would you please tell me what does "your self worth down" mean? Here's part of the context you know what we have created a void inside our mind, the dog big space, which we constantly try ...
user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
42 views

Use of the verb "edge"

How clear are these sentences? Fighters are often edged to injuries. She is prone to edge herself to threat. She has started to edge herself to feel the wind. In slang, the verb to edge has the ...
malakurta's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
18 views

Construction: "Is also to do."

This is a construction that lingered in the back of my mind for my entire life. But for me "is to do" does not mean "has to do" as in: "Surely this is also to do with ...
user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
31 views

When someone is falling out of favor with someone else (Informal equivalent)

I am intrigued to know how would you normally imply the following notion in everyday speech? When you do something which makes people stop liking you or admiring you you might fall out of favor with ...
A-friend's user avatar
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0 votes
0 answers
2k views

Thank you for + ing or thank you for having + past participle

I'm wondering if there is a difference between the following forms: Thank you for downloading the file (for + ing) Thank you for having downloaded the file (for + having + past participle) Both ...
floatingpurr's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
21 views

Is 'Is that so?' perfect here?

A: Really? You like the Lakers? Actually I happen to have two tickets for tonight's game. B: Is that so? A: Yeah, would you like to go with me? Hi. Would "is that so?" be perfect here? In ...
Bobobobobo11's user avatar
  • 1,271
0 votes
0 answers
28 views

make studies of/on biology

I know there is an idiom "make study of". But I think it's incorrect to say He made studies of biology. because "biology" is not an exact thing you examine. Then, how can I ...
Nigutumok's user avatar
  • 556
0 votes
0 answers
78 views

English phrase/idiom that means "attending an event just for the sake of being seen"

I was just wondering what the idiom was for "attending an event just for the sake of being seen there" (along the lines of what a lot of famous people do just for the sake of publicity) . I ...
cordelia's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
597 views

Has a ring to it

I was watching a video where a guys says something that rhymes, and the other guys says: "I like it. It's got a nice ring to it." Do we say it when something rhymes? When I looked up 'has a ...
Ashraf's user avatar
  • 545
0 votes
0 answers
39 views

"Get on one's nerves" VS "Get to someone"

Could anyone let me know how the following examples differ in meaning? She’s always moaning. It really gets on my nerves. She’s always moaning. It really gets to me. Get on someone's nerves: If ...
A-friend's user avatar
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0 votes
0 answers
41 views

Where you are in the top 1%

This is a skill where you are in the top 1%. This is an area in which you are in the top 1%. This is an ability or skill where you are in the top 1%. None of them sound idiomatic, is there a better ...
Sayaman's user avatar
  • 13.5k
0 votes
0 answers
71 views

starting a sentence with i mean for no reason

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/i-mean "Do people think what the country did was wrong?" "I mean, they were the worst of the worst, because they completely made up ...
Sayaman's user avatar
  • 13.5k
0 votes
0 answers
51 views

Idiom and grammar

The day was like any other day but the different thing it was me. Do you know any idiom for this sentence? And is this sentence right? How can I make it better?
Tara Min's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
84 views

Change the language of a website to/into English

Let's say I am looking at a website with a friend. The website is shown in a language other than English. Can I say these two sentences interchangeably to my friend if I want him to select "...
Fire and Ice's user avatar
  • 1,304
0 votes
0 answers
23 views

Rolled over with lots of work?

I got an email from someone and he said he replied to the email because... I got rolled over with lots of work. I searched for it on Google and dictionaries but could not find a suitable definition ...
Gwangmu Lee's user avatar
  • 1,133
0 votes
0 answers
1k views

"Make a pass at someone" Vs "Hit on someone"

I would appreciate it if someone could let me know what is the usual AE idiom which is used when someone is going to sweet talk to a female in order to persuade her to making friends and starting a (...
A-friend's user avatar
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0 votes
0 answers
16 views

illegal under X or illegal in X?

These subsidies are illegal under the WTO. These subsidies are illegal in the WTO. The first sounds better, but I am not sure if it's correct since the WTO is an organization and now a law. Is there ...
Sayaman's user avatar
  • 13.5k
0 votes
0 answers
25 views

not the least of sth (is this a widely used expression or idiom? not the least of sth?

This is true for several reasons , not the least of which is the fact that Massachusetts had the highest ratio of bodily injury claims to the number of accidents in the United States. 'not the least ...
gomadeng's user avatar
  • 4,332