Questions tagged [phrase-request]

This tag is for questions seeking a phrase that fits a meaning. If you are looking for a word, or don't care, see the "word-request" tag too.

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16
votes
9answers
109k views

What's a preferred alternative to the phrase 'do the needful'?

In India, this is used zillions of times every day especially while referring someone some task or to do favor. Mr. Singh, I'm sending my cousin who is interested in learning guitar. As you have ...
10
votes
8answers
4k views

Is there an idiomatic way to say “go to the path of no way out”?

It seems that only "no way out" or "there's no way out" is common used, but I want to emphasize the action of entrapping/entangling oneself in the path of no way out. "Down to the rabbit hole" is ...
39
votes
12answers
67k views

Possible responses to “thank you”

Is "you are welcome" more polite than "no problem"? What is the general proper reply to a thank-you?
27
votes
2answers
244k views

“Thank you in advance” - how to replace?

When writing emails, I often ended it with "thank you in advance". Even more, I used to have it in my signature for a certain time (mea culpa). However, recently I've been told that it is not ...
17
votes
6answers
7k views

How to distinguish between American Indians and Indian Indians in native English (language) parlance?

How to distinguish between American Indians and Indian Indians in native English (language) parlance? Can I say Indian Indian to say Indian from Asia compared to the Native Americans?
9
votes
7answers
22k views

What can I say politely when something bad happens? [closed]

I am looking for a short phrase that I can say when something bad happens. For example, when my mouse breaks or my computer is hanging. I know the expression damn it but I need something more polite.
2
votes
2answers
6k views

How to avoid multiple “of-phrases” in one sentence?

I often find myself inclined to write something like the following: Let's think about this problem from the point of view of readability and self-obvious design. Two *of*s, which come one after ...
24
votes
11answers
18k views

What is this type of road called in English?

I’m looking for a word or a phrase for describing this kind of road which usually is constructed in the mountain areas, but not only: image a representative sample from Google images, query = ...
7
votes
1answer
957 views

Looking for a 1000 most frequent english words

Is there a free list of 1000 most frequent words used in everyday English? If there is a list with usage examples (as each of those words has multiple meanings for sure, not to cound phrasal verbs), ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

How do you say “which each” or “who each”?

I speak in Persian, sometimes as I translate a sentence from my native language to English, I doubt if its structure is correct. I want to say (for example) "I have some children who each have a ...
1
vote
4answers
500 views

What tense should I use?

I am trying to translate a sentence about having breakfast from Italian, but I don't know which tense I should use. Facevo colazione alle 9:00. The sentence is about something done in the past; it'...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

How do you say that some time had elapsed?

I want to express simply that some time had elapsed. Is the following correct? It was passed 10 minutes. Are there any alternatives?
5
votes
3answers
526 views

Expression to differentiate between listening problem and understanding problem?

If during conversation, I face problem in understanding what the other speaker is saying, I may come with following polite statements: "Sorry...?" "Sorry, could not get you..." "Pardon me....
3
votes
4answers
8k views

How can I ask a person in which order in his family among the siblings?

My colleague he have two brothers. I want to know, he is first/second/third son of his parents, ie., the order in the family among their siblings. I can simply ask Are you first son of your family?...
33
votes
14answers
9k views

Is there an English equivalent for the Italian saying “It's another pair of sleeves”?

In a meeting an Italian told a puzzled English audience: "It's another pair of sleeves". It's an Italian way of saying: "it's another thing", or "this new argument is something different or off topic"...
29
votes
8answers
108k views

How do native speakers say 'the light bulb has stopped working'

Lets say, I want to tell my roommate that one of the lightbulbs has stopped working, I usually say The light bulb is gone or broken down. I did some search related to these expression and it ...
2
votes
1answer
53k views

“How much time” versus “how long”

Scenario: You're calling the taxi to come pick you up. The taxi driver says he can come pick you up soon. You: How long will it take you to get here? Taxi driver: It'll take me about about 20 ...
38
votes
10answers
6k views

Does “unbuild” in “Unbuild your Legos before putting them back into the box” sound natural?

How could I change this sentence in order for it to sound more natural and easier to be understood by a toddler? I've been using 'unassailable' or 'take them apart' but both sound strange.
22
votes
9answers
8k views

What do you call or how do you describe this in English? overcooking the food? What do you call the black stuff?

In Persian, we say that (literal translation) the food has taken the bottom :D What do you say when you want to say that the food in the pot was overcooked and something like the picture above ...
22
votes
4answers
231k views

Can you reply “you too” to wishes such as “Good luck”?

Suppose someone is saying to you: I wish you Merry Christmas! or Good luck! Is it meaningful to reply "You too"? Or should you respond "Same to you"?
14
votes
3answers
3k views

Is “what the hell” considered offensive?

Is "what the hell" used as just an expression, or is it considered offensive? In what situations is it "okay" to use it? If it is offensive, is there a more "polite" alternative which expresses the ...
13
votes
6answers
23k views

How would a native say “just looking around”

You are walking around in a shopping mall or some sort of store, even though you might buy something, you don't have anything specific in mind and you are walking around the store, to have a look. If ...
8
votes
5answers
4k 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, ...
7
votes
1answer
480 views

What do you say when time-out is over

You put your naughty child on time out at (in?) the end of the room for example, and then when the time of punishment is up you want them back with you. How do you address them and tell them to come ...
28
votes
5answers
10k views

What do we call the gesture of hitting each other's fists gently?

We all know shaking hands or a handshake. There, we 'shake hands'. There's one more gesture I do. I gently punch other's fist. Something like this - What do we call this gesture as a noun? ...
16
votes
4answers
3k views

“Physician's writing” - “to scribble like a chicken with claw”

Is there any phrase for describing when someone writes extremally illegibly? In Poland it's called "physician's script", or there's an idiom "pisać jak kura pazurem", which literally means "to ...
6
votes
2answers
586 views

Does English have an expression for “Straw Enthusiasm”?

In Polish there's an expression Słomiany zapał which is a play on words, Straw enthusiasm and Straw going ablaze. The idea is that straw burns with a very bright flame but the fire dies out very ...
4
votes
2answers
168 views

Usage of “attach” for human

I know this term is used for tags, labels, emotional connections, etc., but I am not sure I can use it for a sarcastic purpose to express my negative idea about a person who follows me everywhere and ...
4
votes
1answer
152 views

Using “an out of line train” to describe a train which is going out of rails

I want to describe a train which is going out of rails. In Farsi/Persian language we say an "out of line train" but I am not sure about English. I found something about out of rails not out of line or ...
3
votes
3answers
3k views

“Don't take my water, it is …” after touching the bottle with my mouth when I'm ill

When I drink water, there are two ways to drink. Either I can touch my mouth to the bottle or keep the bottle away from my mouth. Suppose my friend comes and asks me for water. As I am suffering ...
2
votes
4answers
3k views

A verb to describe a “Power Cut”

In each of the following sentences, what are the natural English verbs/phrases you would use? You are using your computer and then a power cut "happens?". You were beside your computer doing nothing, ...
2
votes
3answers
482 views

How can you describe (in AmE) an aggressive guy who tends to fight with people most of the time?

What do you call someone who is an aggressive guy who is always making some kind of trouble which usually leads to a fight? Such a guy tends to turn a small issue into a fight. I found two terms and I ...
1
vote
1answer
7k views

in the town or in town

I would like to ask if it is acceptable to call an event "English in the town" putting the emphasis on the contrast that is is not held in the classroom. It is the name of the event, i.e. it should ...
1
vote
1answer
67 views

Into and out of 'time out' for kids

Interested in the language of this disciplinary technique, I read on the Internet that children can be in time out but I was also looking for how to tell a child that they are in time out and when ...
0
votes
1answer
69 views

What dirtied your clothes?

If I wanted to ask about the thing or things that made my son's clothes dirty, what would I say? I know dirty works as a verb, but when I said: What dirtied your clothes? It didn't strike me as a ...
15
votes
3answers
54k views

Personal circumstances?

A friend of mine asked me once what he could say if he was asked about a colleague or a friend not being able to attend a meeting or a party because of, for example, confidential health or family ...
9
votes
6answers
3k views

A phrase for “ashamed”

Is there a figurative phrase for "ashamed" to mean to bend your head downward or look down, as you can't look at others? In Persian we say سر افکنده which almost means Head Down, or Head fallen
9
votes
7answers
3k views

How to inform other people of your real name?

I usually use a nickname (e.g. John, and other people know me as John). Lets say I want to inform another person about my real name (the name that is on my ID card), how do I say it? My full name ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Can we use “shot” for “serum”?

I was in the hospital the other day. A doctor prescribed me serum. How could I say this? Can I use "shot"? Like "I got a shot yesterday"? And what can a nurse say when they do this to you? "I (the ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

You are in a toilet and someone knocks on the door. What do you say to him so that he won't enter?

You are in a toilet and someone knocks on the door. What do you say to him so that he won't enter? Is there a formal and an informal phrase?
4
votes
2answers
872 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Phrase for “a person who cares much more about other people's business than their own”

In the Persian/Farsi language we call a person like this a bowl which is hotter than the soup: A person who cares ridiculously about others' business more than his/her own business. I only know the ...
3
votes
2answers
570 views

Is there a specific word/phrase for a student living in the city of his uni/college during the week?

First of all, I am not sure if people actually do this in the UK, but in my country students who study at university often rent a room in the city and live there during the week. They go home on ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

How to talk about putting water in the freezer to become ice?

I have to tell the child that I have put the water in the freezer and after some time it will convert into ice. I say: I have put water in the freezer for ice to set. Does "for ice to set" make ...
3
votes
1answer
131 views

The act of calling student names to make list of absent students

Is there a word for the act of calling each student name in a classroom to know which students are present, and which ones are absent? I used google translate and tried to translate it from other ...
3
votes
3answers
3k views

How to translate “dropped my heart”?

There's a phrase in Thai, ตกใจหมดเลย [tòk-tɕɑi-mòt-lɤːi], which means "to be frightened", as if someone suddenly broke a glass on a floor behind your back. Literally, it can be translated "dropped-...
2
votes
2answers
47k views

How to say “the answer to your question is:” shortly

Somebody wrote me an email which also contained a question. I replied to his email, and now I want to answer the question. What phrase can I use to prefix my answer? I thought of: "The answer to ...
2
votes
1answer
2k 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?
2
votes
1answer
103 views

Using repetitive “and” or “or” to relate sentences

It seems I have problem in using "and". I don't know its proper usage and sometimes my sentences get too long with many "and" between. (however here I used it deliberately) for example I want to say: ...
1
vote
3answers
3k views

A more positive term than “obsessed”

Below are four different situations describing people's obsessions A friend who loves everything and anything to do with cats. She has five cats at home, and there's more cat food in the house than "...