Questions tagged [phrase-usage]

This tag is for questions about how to use a particular phrase. If your question is a request for a phrase to use, you should use the "phrase-request" tag.

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Similar Idiomatic phrase to "go to example"?

Consider this hypothetheical expression, I use Mr Smith as my go to example, when it comes to how to parent your kids. "go to" sounds too corporate lingo to my ears. Can somebody recommend ...
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Is it correct to say "I dodged my arm away from his punch"?

Normally, we say "a man + dodge + the thing that is moving to him". For example, "he dodged the bullet", "he dodged the punch". Can we say "a man + dodge + a part of ...
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Is it correct to say "He is lying passing out on the floor"?

We can have some adjectives standing after "lie". For example, "he is lying awake on the bed" and "the dog is lying dead on the floor" Now, "to pass out" means &...
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Do people say "have you enough room for me?" in British English?

I heard some British people say "have you enough room for me?" It is like a wrong grammar usage, but is it an idiom in British English? Does that mean "do you have enough room for me?&...
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Does "I walked all the way to school" refer to a continuous movement without stops on the way to school?

Suppose my school is about 2 kilometers from my house. I was walking to school but I stopped to talk with many people several times on the way. That was not a continuous journey, but a broken journey. ...
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What is the opposite of "to bring down the temperature"?

to bring down: To reduce the amount or level of something: I opened the window to bring down the temperature in my room. Can you bring the volume of the stereo down a bit? I know that "to ...
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right now vs at the moment

Somebody is using the computer right now. If I change this sentence to a passive one, can I say "The computer is being used right now."? The answer in the textbook is "The computer is ...
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1 answer
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Word + yet + word

Is it correct to say It's compact, yet concise to let us know about the important notes. Also, could enough be used after "concise"? It's compact, yet concise enough to let us know about ...
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'tee off on someone' or 'tee off someone'

This is from the podcast Stuff You Should Know. Josh: Okay. So and they, that happened basically in real life. It was such a close resemblance to that I remember a reporter asking Bill Clinton like “...
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1 answer
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do [the/some] online banking vs. do [the/some] grocery shopping

In the following phrases, is it optional to include the bracketed part? do [the/some] online banking do [the/some] grocery shopping
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2 votes
1 answer
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Table equivalent of the word booth?

I was watching one TV show, and in one episode, the protoganist were having food at an establishment. They used the word booth to describe where they were sitting, instead of chair. I would like to ...
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1 answer
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Asking about recent action - Present Perfect or Past Simple - how a native speaker would do it nowadays?

You wife (partner/friend) went to the shop to buy some food. She knew that among other things she had to buy some bread. She has already returned home. You aren't talking to her about the shop or ...
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1 answer
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What does 'be overhead by' mean? [closed]

https://www.lexico.com/definition/barren ‘In Act Two the barren Lady Kix, lamenting her childless and unfruitful state, is overhead by Touchwood Senior.’ I couldn't find any 'overhead' meaning that ...
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1 answer
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What does mean "to crack upon" in English?

Is this phrase correct? "This political movement was actively cracked upon by the secret services"
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Expressing hard work with idioms

Consider the situation where I am handling a project, and now my manager assigns me one more. So I want to express to him that it will be hard work. I am in software, so taking on two projects will ...
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1 answer
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"pass the virus to somebody" vs "pass the virus on to somebody"

Can we use the phrases "pass a virus to someone" and "pass a virus on to someone" interchangeably? I am guessing the second example I gave below fine but how about the first one? I ...
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Does "I got the bag off the table" mean I took it off the table with some level of difficulty?

Some dictionaries say "to get" means "to move sometimes with difficulty. For example, "I got on the bus", "I got the sofa through the door" What I think is that ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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“Which pencil of mine”

Is this sentence correct? Which pencil of mine did you take? or is it grammatically wrong and I should say, “Which of my pencils did you take” which I am sure is grammatically correct? “Which pencil ...
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2 answers
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Is "to watch for something" the counterpart of "to listen for something"?

Say, I am applying for a job and the recruiter might call me at anytime and so I have to carry my phone with me all the time and to "ready to receive" the call from the recruiter. I say &...
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Alternative phrase to “out of the corner of eye”

I am looking for a phrase similar to a “out of corner of my eye”. I came across this phrase in a Hollywood movie, and was wondering if I can use an alternative phrase to this? Here is the context, I ...
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1 answer
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Does 'as hell' sound like the speaker is raged?

In an online game, before a new round of game began, I said 'I am noob as hell', and the player, a total stranger, next to me said 'chill out, bro'. In the Free Dictionary, 'as hell' is not labeled as ...
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Are "I am touched by the film" and "I am moved by the film" interchangeable?

According to my study, "I am moved by the film" sounds like I am sad and cry when I feel sorry for the the characters in the film "I am touched by the film" is similar but a bit ...
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1 answer
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Does "mind your own business" refer to a physical action not a verbal expression that intervenes one's life?

Normally, when someone says something or expresses something in words which intervenes our life. For example, A saw B eating fast food. A, then, said to B "Fast food is not good fro your health&...
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2 answers
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What is the opposite expression of "She is my boss" or what is the general term for someone who is a subordinate?

"My boss" is a general term for the person who is in charge of me. I am looking for a general term for the person who I am in charge of. For example, "he is my subordinate/employee"...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Is the term "beltway pansy" used in modern English?

I was watching this video, and one of the characters stated that they "weren't one of those beltway pansies". Previously, he'd said that he didn't go to an Ivy League school. Is this a ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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bringing on the necessary support

What does "bring on" mean in the following? Food alone costs $2,000 per day, per person, in space. Getting provisions to and from the space station for a commercial crew is another $88,000 ...
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0 votes
3 answers
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What is the difference between "to pee" and "to take a pee"?

What is the difference between to pee and to take a pee? Is I am peeing correct or should we say I am taking a pee? Please elaborate on the correct usage.
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1 answer
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(Out) into the streets

Example sentence: He put on his jacket, opened the door, and walked (out) into the streets. According to Google Ngrams, "walked out into the streets" is more common than "walked into ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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all day / all the year round

In Sugarcandy Mountain it was Sunday seven days a week, clover was in season all the year round, and lump sugar and linseed cake grew on the hedges. Even the ducks and hens toiled to and fro all day ...
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more than a dozen pages in

What does the boldfaced phrase mean? Specifically, what is the definition of "in" there? A dispatcher began looking through pages on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children ...
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1 answer
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What you expect/might expect

could you please tell me the differences between the words written in bold? Are they both natural and does it convey the same meaning as I want the sentences to give? The mobile is nice. Everything ...
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1 answer
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What is the difference between "She is good at English words" and "She is good with English words"?

According to my study, "good at something" means "can do something well" and "good at something" means "can use something well". So, "She is good at ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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Do we say "push at/on something" to mean "to take hold of something and push it several times"?

According to the dictionary, pull at/on something: to take hold of something and pull it several times Mary was pulling nervously at her hair. For example, a fisherman pulled at/on his fishing rod. ...
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1 answer
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Can we say "Peppa is teasing George" when Peppa is doing some cheeky actions to Geroge for fun, but not making jokes about George?

I have watched this cartoon I think that is a British cartoon for children. In this cartoon, George is a little brother and Peppa is a bigger one. Now, George was playing with a ball when Peppa came ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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Is there something wrong with the following sentence and if there is, how should it be fixed [closed]

until today I still remember this incidence Or should it be up to this day ? Are both Okay is is one preferred?
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1 answer
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Is it awkward to say "get out of harm's way" when you ask your child to get out of the hot kitchen?

Your child is around the hot kitchen where you are cooking. Is it awkward to say "get out of harm's way"? "out of harm's way" is an idiom. I know that it is often used in battles ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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appropriateness of 'the latter' in this sentence

This is from a webpage. The performance of bilateral intracluster blocks on cadavers resulted in 25% of specimens having subperineural ink on histologic examination, with 90% of the latter being ...
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-2 votes
1 answer
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I went to bed with a headache vs I slept with a headache

Is it idiomatic to say "I slept with a headache" as opposed to "I went to sleep with a headache"? I'm not sure why but "sleeping with a headache" doesn't sound right to ...
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0 answers
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Use "order sth. done" or "order sth. to be done"?

I've seen the problem mentioned in "Order something to be done" or "order something done"? , but this can't help me with my doubt. Plus, this two phrases is really confusing for ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
32 views

Is it possible to use "as to' instead of "in terms of" in a sentence? [closed]

For example, is it possible to use following sentences in place of each other? If it is not, why? 1- How do they do as to practice? 2- How do they do in terms of practice? Assume that it is a ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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Can make/cause a scene be used in this way? [closed]

Say a waiter talks to some costumers, something happens, then he crouches down and laughs. Can we say that he made/caused a scene? Even though he didn't shout or display anger?
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-1 votes
2 answers
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“My each/every attempt”

After the possessive pronouns, can we use “each” or “every”? For example, are all four of the sentences below grammatically correct? My each attempt was useless. My every attempt was useless. Take ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
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Does "he yelled at me for help" mean he is in trouble or he is angry?

​yell: to shout loudly, for example because you are angry, excited, frightened or in pain yell (at somebody/something) He yelled at the other driver. yell at somebody to do something She yelled at the ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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Do we say "someone rang the doorbell" for the machine that monitors people entering a building?

I live in an apartment of a building and when my friend visits me, they can not get into the building unless they press my apartment number on a system placed in the front of the building. There is ...
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Is it correct to say "She is a bad role model for her children"?

A woman eats a lot of junk food and her children copy her eating junk food too. What is the opposite of "role model"? Can we say "She is a bad role model for her children"? I found ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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Difference between keep away and keep away from

1. He keeps away smoking. 2. He keeps away from smoking. This is a question given in option to choose only one sentence as correct sentence. It seems that both sentences are correct but in different ...
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What does "communication enthusiast" mean?

As I screen profiles of candidates, I have come across the term "communication enthusiast" used by candidates to describe them. Something like this: "A communication enthusiast who is ...
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1 vote
3 answers
39 views

Can "pretty much" mean solid "yes"?

Can you use "pretty much" to say "yes"? I asked: "Are you saying that these people are not miners and there are no mines in this region?" I got the answer: "Pretty ...
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0 votes
2 answers
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The use of "I am to, you are to, we are to"

Though this is not something I come across on a daily basis, whenever I read something poetic, my non-native-speaker-mind cannot handle its meaning to it, can't internalize. Examples: My object in ...
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What is the difference between "the one thing" and "only thing"?

Do "the one thing" and "only thing" mean the same? Consider the following: Basketball is the one thing that X is can do and Y cannot. Basketball is the only thing that X is can do ...
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