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Questions tagged [phrases]

A phrase is a group of words that make a unit of syntax with a single grammatical function.

5
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1answer
8k views

“I was away last week” versus “I was out of town last week”

Someone asked me whether I was at home or not last week. When I say as a response, "I was away last week", or "I was out of town last week". is there any difference in the meanings? I just want to ...
3
votes
1answer
100 views

Is “square foot of area” correct?

In German it is quite common to say „Bitte gib mir einen Tag Zeit.“ Literally this is “* Please give me one day of time.”, but this is not correct in English! While “Please give me ...
4
votes
1answer
92 views

Does “heaven hand” sound natural?

In Diablo 3 (PC game) there is a weapon class called "heaven hand" (other weapon class names are more ordinary like "wand", "long sword" etc). I understand, being fictitious as it is, the name can be ...
1
vote
1answer
582 views

What does “getting or giving red-penciled to someone” mean?

I read it in the text below: Cannot is the correct form in almost all cases. The only (very rare) exception is in sentences like "You can do it, or you can not do it"—in other words, where the two ...
0
votes
2answers
15k views

Is it leisure time or just leisure?

The noun leisure as defined in the Canadian Oxford dictionary is: Free time; time at one's own disposal. Enjoyment of free time. [usu. foll. by for, or to + infin.] opportunity afforded ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

Meaning of “have never been the worse for that”

Can someone explain what is meant by "have never been worse for that" in the following paragraph. Golan's book is good but its title is misleading. A whole chapter is devoted to the Moore-Penrose ...
3
votes
2answers
326 views

I'd like to know the difference of these two phrases. “have no choice but to” and “cannot be helped”

I'm not sure whether I can use these phrases interchangeably or not. One example is: Gas prices are getting higher and higher, but I have to fill up my car anyway, because I have to drive to work. ...
4
votes
2answers
11k views

Is it “on chat” or “in chat” or “over chat”

Normally, I always use on chat when referring to something another user said/commented about in the past. But recently, two or three other users have sometimes corrected me saying that it should ...
1
vote
2answers
917 views

How should I understand “Write to him care of his lawyer.”?

The OALD has the following example: Write to him care of his lawyer. The explanation given for care of somebody (or in care of somebody) is that it is used when writing to somebody at another ...
3
votes
2answers
540 views

Restructuring the phrase to remove repetition

Would my knowledge about the event make such events from occuring ever in future? Consider the phrase above. the event is in reference to a general event which occurs weekly/fortnightly. Can I use ...
0
votes
1answer
112 views

Does the noun “stable” have meanings other than “place for animals”?

I came across a Japanese person noting that an English term for the Japanese word "heya" (部屋), the training area of Sumo wrestlers, is "sumo stable", and that "stable" is usually a word used for ...
6
votes
2answers
81 views

Deprecation or replacing

I co-manage a PtokaX based DC++ hub in my college.(Only relevant if you know what DC++ and hubs are) We had a script which registered a bot named Infobot to the hub. Since, those scripts were getting ...
10
votes
1answer
5k views

Is it correct to say 'It takes 2 hours, 4 hours top'?

I'd have expected it should rather be 2 hours, 4 hours max. So can top in this context be used like a synonym for max? Is this a common phrase?
6
votes
3answers
11k views

“Would you mind if I [do something]?” versus “Would you mind me [doing something]?”

Is there any difference between the following sentences? Would you mind if I smoke a cigarette outside? Would you mind me smoking a cigarette outside? Would you mind if I prepare a tea cup ...
11
votes
2answers
316 views

Is there a saying like “something still bites me”?

It's a recurring issue for me that I can't completely remember a saying. In this case I think I've heard someone using something like: I've interrogated him and he seems to have an alibi. Something ...
6
votes
2answers
782 views

I'd like to know appropriate sentences for talking about the weather

When asking about the weather for this coming weekend, which of the following sentences is most appropriate when asking your friend what the weather will be on the weekend? What is the weather for ...
7
votes
2answers
3k views

Is it common to say “I have a complaint about my order.”?

I have a complaint about my order. Is this sentence used in any situation when you have some trouble with the product you bought? To me, it sounds very straight, but I'd like to know if it is OK to ...
8
votes
2answers
78k views

What does “same same but different” mean?

A friend of mine asked what "same same but different" meant. The context was in an essay called Same-same, but different on the Japan Times website: One Indochinese term we all learned was the ...
25
votes
5answers
4k views

Is it proper to use “broke” in “Broke his feelings”?

My colleague broke his feelings. (English Syntax and Argumentation, Bas Aarts) Aarts says this sentence is abnormal, because of the selectional restrictions: ‘feelings’ is abstract and not proper ...
3
votes
2answers
567 views

What’s the antecedent for this which?

A breeze ruffled the neat hedges of Privet Drive, which lay silent and tidy under the inky sky, (1) the very last place you would expect astonishing things to happen. (Harry Potter and the ...
2
votes
2answers
112 views

Is the participial phrase the modifier for “he” in this sentence?

It would be enough to turn any boy's head. Famous before he can walk and talk! Famous for something he won't even remember! Can't you see how much better off he'll be, growing up away from all that ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

What are the meaning of “There you got”, “Here you are”, “There you are” and “There you go”? [closed]

I would like to know where and when we use these phrases. There you got Here you are There you are There you go Can anybody explain?
19
votes
4answers
70k 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?
3
votes
1answer
2k views

What does it mean “like a slug”?

The Dursleys often spoke about Harry like this, as though he wasn't there - or rather, as though he was something very nasty that couldn't understand them, like a slug. (Harry Potter and the ...
6
votes
3answers
8k views

“God only knows” vs. “Only God knows”

One can say only God knows in reference to some mystery only an omniscient being would know, or for those who prefer their oaths minced, heaven knows or goodness knows or lord knows. The inverted ...
2
votes
1answer
91 views

Do both of these modify the previous noun phrases?

"Yes," said Professor McGonagall. "And I don't suppose you're going to tell me why you're here, of all places?" "I've come to bring Harry to his aunt and uncle. They're the only family he has ...
8
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3answers
1k views

“Watch the step” without stairs

When travelling on trains in the USA, I have noticed a sign saying "watch the step" close to the exit. I thought it was referring to stairs, but nowhere close to the exit I have seen stairs. I also ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Is “First bite” genuine English, or wasei-eigo?

At a wedding a friend of mine attended in Japan, she saw the bride and groom feed each other a slice of cake. He was told by the MC that it was "first bite" (ファーストバイト), a commitment the bride and ...
6
votes
3answers
552 views

What is “cultural capital” and what role does it play in learning the language?

My English teacher once jovially remarked that if I were to ever fully understand literature texts by native English writers, I would have to have cultural capital. He went on to add that I wouldn't ...
7
votes
2answers
174 views

How would a native speaker understand buying 2 socks?

How would a native speaker understand this sentence: I have bought 2 socks. A pair of socks is quite obvious, 2 pairs of socks also, but what with 2 socks? 2 socks are a pair, but since you can't ...