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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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7
votes
3answers
2k views

Why say "of x's" instead of "of x"?

I have often heard people say "x of his" or "x of mine". But since his and mine point out ownership, isn't using "of" here doubles that ownership? Wouldn't it be more appropriate to say "x of him" or "...
42
votes
10answers
10k views

"I hate red color" or "I hate red": why exactly is the first option ungrammatical

If a person wants to say that the most hated color for him is red (in general, no specific hues implied), could he say: I hate red color. I've found very little results for this sentence at ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Difference between "speed up something" and "speed something up"

Both seem to be in common usage, but is there a nuanced difference about when one is more appropriate than the other? Thanks.
3
votes
3answers
10k views

"Assume you are given ..." or "Assume that you are given ..."?

I have often read people using sentences like... Assume you are given a ball. in place of Assume that you are given a ball. While both sound correct while speaking, the first sentence does ...
24
votes
10answers
24k views

What defines a native English Speaker?

I think this particular phrase creates a lot of concern in English learners. From general conversation to posts here, we see native speaker a common usage when talking about a person who speaks ...
5
votes
2answers
8k views

Can "short of" be used with a specific amount (cash)?

In another question regarding a difference between short on and short of, the answer says the following: ... But this is not always the case. A person can be short on/of money, but lacking a ...
17
votes
2answers
173k views

Does *first of all* always go with *second of all*?

According to Ngram, first of all is twice as popular as firstly, but secondly is a hundred times more popular than second of all. When I present two points, do I have to be consistent in the choice ...
18
votes
3answers
21k 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
46k views

When can I remove the word "that" in a sentence?

I have this bad writing habit, I use the word 'that' so many times. I know it is grammatically valid, but using 'that' too often is not good. But I don't know in which sentences I can remove the word '...
9
votes
2answers
5k views

Interpretation of "My dream is becoming an English teacher."

My dream is becoming an English teacher. Do native speakers not think that the person who says that wants to become an English teacher? And, by any chance, do native speakers think that he/she went ...
4
votes
2answers
4k views

Meaning of the phrase "little too"?

Does the phrase 'little too' mean same as 'very', or is it mild form of very ? For instance, I am little too comfortable talking to you. Does it mean same as 'I am very comfortable talking to you' ?
13
votes
10answers
38k views

"Do the needful" -- Why is it used instead of asking a question?

Update: (Originally this was a comment, but I thought it was worth sharing here at the top.) In the original question, I asked if there was a polite, socially-acceptable way to ask an Indian co-...
9
votes
3answers
7k views

"The same name" vs "a same name": what's the difference?

Since I'm confused with these two phrases, I did a search in Google Books hoping to find some examples. But then I found this paragraph: Two private spaces or replicas cannot contain the same ...
18
votes
7answers
4k views

What is it called when at university there are two subjects being held at the same time?

For example, I need to enroll in two different courses at university, but there is a schedule in which both are held. Is it an 'overlapped schedule' or something similar? Is there a proper expression ...
9
votes
1answer
7k views

Use "got" or "have got"?

Could you please tell me if you got some time to read the report? In this sentence, I have to use got or have got ? what is the difference between these two w.r.t. the meaning of the sentence?
7
votes
4answers
15k views

"need + verb-ing" vs "need + [to be] + verb-ed"

1 That sofa needs cleaning again. 2 That sofa needs to be cleaned again. Which of the above senteces sounds more natural? And, is "to be" always needed in structures like 2, as, for example,...
5
votes
3answers
6k views

What are other ways to describe second-last?

Actually, I'm not even sure if the "second-last" is the correct term. Here is how I would use it: Go down the hallway, it's the second-last door on your right. which I want to describe the door ...
2
votes
2answers
20k views

In two days' time = within two days?

What is the difference between: The package will be delivered in two days' time. And The package will be delivered within two days. Are they the same or different?
11
votes
7answers
2k views

Which version is correct and normally used, "between you and me" or "between you and I"?

I was listening to the song Superman by Eminem. I've listened it before many times but from the time I've started learning English grammar I am getting confused while reading or listening English. ...
11
votes
2answers
7k views

"many a time" means "many times"?

I never saw anyone work as hard as he did, many a time I saw him on the weekends working to his highest standards to give the best research he could give. From the context, I understand many a time ...
9
votes
2answers
124k views

Is it ok to say "good morning" at anytime?

A friend of mine told me that you can say "good morning" to a person at any time, if you are seeing him/her for the first time on that day. Is this true?
5
votes
3answers
916 views

'Sorry' as a replacement for 'Excuse me'?

Is it ok to say 'sorry' where you otherwise would use 'excuse me'? Example: "Sorry, but could you show me the way to the next train station?"
9
votes
4answers
3k views

Be (all) the better for something

be (all) the better for something meaning: to improve as a result of something e.g. Their performance will be all the better for a little extra practice. I would word it just like this, "...
7
votes
1answer
17k views

Starting a sentence with "would that..."

In one of my favorite episodes of the TV show Community, "Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design", one of the characters says the following line: Would that this desk were a time desk. In the ...
6
votes
2answers
6k views

due to versus as a result of

According to the answer key of a SAT preparation book I'm studying, there is an error in the sentence By the time the bank guard closed the doors, a riot had erupted due to the long lines and ...
1
vote
1answer
3k views

Construction of "it's too hard a task"

Why do we say "it's too hard a task" and not "it's a too hard task"? Is there a rule for that?
1
vote
1answer
32k views

Last two days/ In the last two days / For the last two days [duplicate]

can anybody explain me the difference in usage of these three? For example, is it correct to ask: How many cars did you buy last two days or How many cars did you buy in the last two days? is there ...
11
votes
2answers
129k views

Which term is correct? "I have no" or "I don't have any"

Would you please tell me which of the following terms is correct? If both are correct, are they equal? I have no [...] I don't have any [...]
21
votes
5answers
107k views

What does "How come" mean?

Is How come a phrase? What does it mean? Is it formal or informal? British or American? Can I use it in anywhere?
30
votes
4answers
3k views

Who decides whether something is standard English or not?

During a chat with a native English-speaking friend, he used the phrase "get on with it". I asked him about it, and he said it is a slang phrase. I looked it up online, and this phrase shows up on ...
37
votes
4answers
37k views

What does 'the very next day' mean?

In the song, Last Christmas, I heard the phrase "But the very next day." I'm not sure what it was supposed to mean, but from context I guess it's the day after Christmas Is it grammatically correct ...
29
votes
7answers
175k views

What do they mean with "Hi, how are you doing"?

When I was in New York the workers at the counter (in a shop) always said Hi, how are you doing? I was, and still am very confused if they just mean "hello", or actually want to know how I feel. ...
10
votes
4answers
81k views

Totes my goats! What the heck does this mean?

There has been that annoying Sprint commercial (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRibRj770J8) on the TV lately where Malcolm McDowell screams out "Totes my goats!". So I've googled that but was not ...
4
votes
2answers
47k views

"Happen to know" meaning

"Do you happen to know is if she has a boyfriend?" What does the above sentence means . I heard those line in the movie 'the social network' and I would like to know when do we use this phrase "...
3
votes
1answer
30k views

Ever since + present perfect?

Is present perfect possible in "ever since [present perfect]"? I guess my question wasn't clear. It's been a long time since I've read an interesting book. Isn't this usually It's been a long ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

What causes X or What does cause X?

What causes coral bleaching ? What does cause coral bleaching ? What is the difference ?? which is grammatically correct ? Thank you in advance.
11
votes
3answers
5k views

What does "live local" mean?

I found it in a list of pet peeves of somebody in the internet through searching that what pet peeves mean. Now, I know what pet peeve is but there is another problem with "Live local!" which I want ...
4
votes
2answers
68k views

Is there difference between "by then" and "until then"?

Is there difference between "by then" and "until then" in the following sentence? "I'll call you around 9 o'clock. By then (or "until then"), sweet dreams!"
3
votes
2answers
6k views

What is the meaning of "Well, what do you know" here in "The Dark Knight Rises"?

In The Dark Knight Rises, when Batman shows up on the day of heist in the StockExchange, the anchor in a news channel is speaking the story with a alot of excitement and informs that what appears to ...
1
vote
2answers
49k views

go to university or go to the university

I'm a bit confused. I know that "go to university" is a collocation which means going to attend university. What if I want to say that I'm heading to, walking to, the university. Can I say "I'm going ...
7
votes
2answers
11k views

'User Manual' or 'User's Manual'?

I see the usage of both 'User Manual' and 'User's Manual' in daily life. I am wondering if both of them are grammatical and idiomatic? If 'User Manual' is grammatical, is 'user' used as an adjective ...
5
votes
3answers
49k views

"reflect" vs "reflection on" or "reflection of"

The bride's elegant dress reflected her good taste. The bride's elegant dress is a reflection on her good taste. The bride's elegant dress is a reflection of her good taste. Would you tell me if they ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Are 'by the time' and 'when' interchangeable?

Let's say I am missing my novel and I think that my friend might have taken it after I left the place. 1: By the time I left my apartment, my friend was still there, so he might have taken it. 2:When ...
3
votes
1answer
17k views

"Kristina 'has passed'/'passed' her exam! She 'has got'/'got' 90%"

Kristina has passed her exam! Kristina passed her exam! Does English use the present perfect (1) or the past tense (2) to announce news? Apart the way to express the vote—90%, 90, I don't know—which ...
2
votes
2answers
9k views

Thanks vs Thank you vs Thank you so much? [closed]

What is the correct way to say "thanks" to anyone in any situation? Does it make any difference depending on context or situation?
0
votes
2answers
4k views

1 hour ago though it is already about 110 minutes

I tried a small experiment. I posted a post on Facebook at exactly: 21:01 and waited to see how many hours ago it will say. When it was 22:50 it still said that my post was posted 1 hour ago. Though ...
8
votes
2answers
145k views

inform about vs inform of

What is the difference between "inform of" and "inform about"? Can you give some example sentences which clearly shows the difference.
3
votes
4answers
6k views

Meaning "pants-dropping"

What does pants-dropping mean? Examples: A pants-droppingly good film. Webpage about The Hobbit About the orphan kid who goes on to become pantsdroppingly wealthy. Outlaw: Google Books ...
3
votes
1answer
7k views

Short on/of - really interchangeable?

I wonder whether these are really interchangeable as some dictionaries suggest. Being a not native speaker, I cannot tell when it is right. They are short on confidence. They are short of money. But ...
3
votes
3answers
18k views

leave the house or leave home?

Which one is natural when you refer to the place where you live, not just a constructed dwelling ? A: Hey honey, I will give you a call when I leave the house. B: Hey honey, I will give you a ...