Questions tagged [sentence-meaning]

Use this tag for questions about meanings of whole sentences rather than phrases.

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Meaning of "respecting" in "no law respecting an establishment of religion"

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably ...
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41 votes
5 answers
9k views

Who is frowning in the sentence "Daisy looked at Tom frowning"?

I read this sentence from The Great Gatsby: “Plenty of gas,” said Tom boisterously. He looked at the gauge. “And if it runs out I can stop at a drug-store. You can buy anything at a drug-store ...
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  • 1,007
41 votes
6 answers
7k views

What's the meaning of "Ordinary shampoos need not apply!" on a shampoo bottle?

I can't seem to understand this weird sentence I saw as the first sentence on this shampoo bottle Ordinary shampoos need not apply! [...] There seems to be missing a part of the sentence, right? I ...
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40 votes
1 answer
5k views

What would natives take for "Today is so yesterday"?

I saw this sentence "Today is so yesterday" on a T-shirt one of my American friends wore. My first impression is that the sentence means what's happening today is just repeating what's happening in ...
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38 votes
2 answers
6k views

What's the meaning of phrases that include "ship", "shipping", when there is a conversation about the heroes of TV series?

I saw such phrase "Fans have been shipping these two for years, and it’s easy to see why. They’re attractive, single, and they’ve got a lot in common..." in this article. What does "shipping" mean in ...
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37 votes
11 answers
15k views

Possible meanings of "IN CASE OF FIRE, DO NOT USE ELEVATOR."

Background Below are cited from pp. 14-15 of Introduction to Mathematical Thinking by Keith Devlin: You often see the following notice posted in elevators: IN CASE OF FIRE, DO NOT USE ELEVATOR. ...
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37 votes
5 answers
5k views

How to understand "throwing science at the wall here to see what sticks"?

It's said by Cave Johnson -- an character in Portal2. Full voice line is: "Just a heads up: We're gonna have a superconductor turned up full blast and pointed at you for the duration of this next ...
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  • 2,191
31 votes
5 answers
10k views

What does "Scary-lookin' fing, inee" mean?

... Harry had never met a vampire, but he had seen pictures of them in his Defence Against the Dark Arts classes, and Black, with his waxy white skin, looked just like one. 'Scary-lookin' fing, ...
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  • 12.5k
30 votes
3 answers
7k views

I don't get this joke "Massive Attack On Pentagon Page 14 News", can anybody explain me its meaning?

I was reading an article about the first issue published by the satiric magazine 'The Onion' after the 9/11 attacks. One of the headlines of that issue was Massive Attack On Pentagon Page 14 News ...
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25 votes
6 answers
13k views

"She dressed like/as an owl." Which is correct?

She dressed like an owl. She dressed as an owl. "As" or "like"? Which one is more appropriate? My brother said that the second one is correct. He said that first one means "she dressed like an ...
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24 votes
9 answers
15k views

I'm baffled at this expression: "If I don't talk to you beforehand, then......"

A client wrote to me and ended his email with this line: If I don't talk to you beforehand, I hope you have a very happy, healthy and safe holiday! It seems to me that this expression is for giving ...
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  • 599
23 votes
3 answers
9k views

What does "my name was down for Eton" mean?

My name was down for Eton, you know, I can't tell you how glad I am I came here instead. Of course, Mother was slightly disappointed, but since I made her read Lockhart's books I think she has begun ...
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23 votes
9 answers
7k views

How to understand "don't code today what you can't debug tomorrow"?

It's a title of a blog. In my option, I absolutely can debug my code tomorrow which I wrote today. So how to understand that?
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20 votes
4 answers
5k views

What does the author mean by "What did he there?"

I'm reading Mary Shelley's Frankenstein written in 19th century. I'm not sure whether the sentence I just encountered (bold text below) is a misprint or an example of archaic English and I'm trying to ...
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  • 1,921
20 votes
2 answers
5k views

"It's them as should be sorry!" grammar

The sentence is from the book Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I can probably get the meaning of the sentence, but the grammar really confuses me, especially the usage of the word as. I could ...
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  • 12.5k
20 votes
4 answers
2k views

Can vehicles sell themselves? Shouldn't it be passive voice?

I read one sentence About 170,000 of those vehicles sell each year in the U.S. It is extracted from: The large vehicle is part truck and part car. Strength and size combined with comfort. ...
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  • 695
20 votes
3 answers
12k views

"Man proposes and God disposes."

I am curious about the meaning of this sentence: "Man proposes and God disposes." (Mathematical Thought from Ancient to Modern Times, M. Kline, vol. 1, page 181) Whole paragraph is as follows: "...
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19 votes
2 answers
3k views

Meaning of “we’ll cut him down as for the border he rides”

Welsh History 101B: My neighbour from England has come across raiding, Slain six of my kinsmen and burned down my hall. It cannot be borne, this offence and injustice: I’ve only killed ...
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19 votes
3 answers
6k views

What is the meaning of "Jump into the bridge"?

During a one-to-one technical chat with my client, he sent me a meeting link and texted me: Jump into the bridge. Is he trolling me (as there was a particular issue that had been left unresolved ...
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18 votes
2 answers
4k views

What does 'a hairline crack where the grip meets the graphite shaft on my 3-wood' mean in this English joke?

Guys, I have suspected for some time now that my wife has been cheating on me. I think deep down I just did not want to know the truth, but last night she went out again and I decided to ...
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18 votes
2 answers
2k views

Meaning of “Bulldog drooled courses through his jowls”

I saw this sentence while I was watching the 17th episode (Season 8) of Modern Family. Bulldog drooled courses through his jowls. I was really confused about its meaning. To give you a bit of its ...
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17 votes
3 answers
2k views

Does a code snippet compile? Or does it get compiled?

I was completely surprised that the following snippet compiled and worked in both Visual Studio 2008 and G++ 4.4. The following code does not compile: By coding rigidly to the spec, you can ...
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17 votes
3 answers
4k views

Grammaticality: 'Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something'

Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something — Plato I didn't understand this quote. How do you understand this? Shouldn't there be a verb after 'fools'?...
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  • 17.7k
17 votes
2 answers
150k views

This is a good news. This is good news

This is a good news. This is good news. Which one is correct? Clarify the difference
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17 votes
3 answers
3k views

Why is the definite article used in "I live in the city"?

Where do you live? -- I live in the city. THE is used when talking about something which is already known to the listener or which has been previously mentioned, introduced, or discussed. But, the ...
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  • 255
16 votes
4 answers
8k views

What is the meaning of "Put a bullet in something"?

I have seen this sentence in a chat between people and I guess when they said "put a bullet" they have used it idiomatically. I am not sure about the meaning though. A : The process is over timing B:...
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  • 2,337
16 votes
3 answers
4k views

What does Trump mean here with "They don’t need more as they are going up for the shot."?

I like the NBA so I check any article if I spot them. Anyway, this article has this line by Trump, “I think [the kneeling] has been horrible for basketball,” President Donald Trump said on Fox Sports ...
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16 votes
2 answers
3k views

How to understand "cupping backsides is taken as seriously as cooking books"?

An excerpt from The Economist: As such provisions have grown in popularity, two things have happened. First, the list of misdeeds covered has lengthened. What initially applied solely to criminal ...
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15 votes
4 answers
412 views

Do these two sentences convey different meanings?

She tried in vain to prevent the work from being done. She tried to prevent the work from being done in vain. Our teacher said these two sentences show different intents, but I can't see the ...
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  • 159
14 votes
3 answers
5k views

What does "I am all stomach" mean?

What does I am all stomach mean? A: ‘’It’s my turn for a gift. I would like to take you to lunch. To my favorite spot.’’ B: ‘’I am all stomach, professor!’’ Lonely Man Full of Love
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  • 189
14 votes
3 answers
5k views

Can fat change into muscle, or not? What does "Fat cannot change into muscle any more than muscle can change into fat." mean?

I have a problem with the interpretation of this sentence. Fat cannot change into muscle any more than muscle can change into fat. I guess that it would mean either 1 or 2 below. The change from ...
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  • 957
14 votes
2 answers
21k views

Living by himself vs Living on his own

What is the difference between these sentences below in terms of meaning? He lives by himself. He lives on his own If you ask me, the first sentence connotes that he doesn't have a ...
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  • 10.6k
14 votes
1 answer
3k views

What is the relation between "dark side" and "mic check" in these lyrics?

I just listened to The Hills (Remix) by Eminem. People in the Youtube comment section were saying this line was great. I let you see my dark side, but like a mic check, you got one too. Lyric ...
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  • 8,628
13 votes
9 answers
5k views

She got an A for effort. (meaning of the sentence)

She got an A for effort. She tried to get an A (made an effort to get an A, studied hard and really got it) We don't know whether she got good grades or not, but the teacher gave her A because she ...
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  • 2,621
13 votes
4 answers
3k views

Understanding "Conformity is a virtue, creativity suspect, humor forbidden, and voice mute"

Legal writing, because of the purposes it serves, is necessarily ruled by linear logic, creating a path without diversions, surprises, or reversals. Conformity is a virtue, creativity suspect, ...
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13 votes
3 answers
3k views

What does “produce” mean here?

The jetties coming out into the river, and a host of ships in the Middle Ages, little wooden ships ferrying produce across from the Continent and back. (Source) The structure of the whole sentence is ...
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13 votes
8 answers
5k views

What does "Write code that creates a list of all integers from 50 to the power of 300." mean?

I'm trying to figure out what the sentence below means. Write code that creates a list of all integers from 50 to the power of 300. I'm struggling with the "from 50 to the power of 300" ...
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13 votes
4 answers
23k views

Difference between "having time to myself" and "having time for myself"

I do not have much time to myself. I do not have much time for myself. Do these sentences have different meanings because of the prepositions TO and FOR? If there is, then what? Thank you for ...
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  • 305
13 votes
1 answer
16k views

Give me a water. Is this expression possible in conversation?

I know that "water" or "a glass(cup) of water" is the right expression. But I'm wondering. If someone says to you that "Give me a water, please.", what would you think that means?
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  • 461
13 votes
4 answers
29k views

Difference between "I'm in the school" and "I'm in school"

What is the difference between these two sentences?? I'm in the school. I'm in school. Do they have the same meaning or not?
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  • 4,217
12 votes
2 answers
9k views

What does "dick" mean in this context?

I'm a bit confused about the meaning of "dick" in the following context. Girl comes to pub and wants to participate in a pool tournament. She is told, that "it's men only". ...
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12 votes
5 answers
4k views

How to understand: "The owls are nothing next to the rumors that are flying around"?

Professor McGonagall shot a sharp look at Dumbledore and said, "The owls are nothing next to the rumors that are flying around. You know what everyone's saying? About why he's disappeared? About what ...
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12 votes
5 answers
2k views

Help to understand the usage of "after" in "Nothing you need to get a chain saw after yet"

Wareheim said so far the wind has only knocked down branches and limbs small enough to be carried. "Nothing you need to get a chain saw after yet," he said by phone. As I understand, the sentence is ...
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  • 12.5k
12 votes
2 answers
612k views

"It was pleasure to meet you" vs "It was pleasure meeting you"

I met somebody for the first time two days ago and the next day he sent a message on Facebook in which he said, "Thank you" and I replied "You're welcome! It was pleasure to meet you." Although it is ...
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  • 10.6k
11 votes
2 answers
2k views

What does Ambrose Bierce's definition of "eulogy" mean?

I'm trying to understand this quotation: Eulogy, n.: Praise of a person who has either the advantages of wealth and power, or the consideration to be dead. Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914) I'm not ...
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11 votes
6 answers
4k views

What does "ground" mean in this sentence? And what is the sentence saying?

I am not sure about the meaning of the verb ground in this sentence from an online article. Accessories were kept polished and stylish with taupe suede Manolo Blahniks grounding the look and simple ...
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  • 18.6k
11 votes
3 answers
7k views

What does "I saw him wash the car" mean?

What does this sentence mean? I saw him wash the car Does it mean "I saw him when he was washing the car"?
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  • 539
11 votes
2 answers
2k views

How do native speakers say condolences to someone else (especially in AmE)?

In my mother language, when someone dies, friends and family usually try to say their condolences to everyone who is suffering from that loss. What we say is as follows: I say condolences to you. ...
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  • 13.7k
11 votes
3 answers
3k views

What does "pie" mean in the following sentence?

I once saw a sentence: I will go to a restaurant for pie. Native speakers didn't correct this sentence. I don't know why. I would say "I will go to a restaurant to eat a pie". But maybe that ...
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  • 1,219
11 votes
1 answer
32k views

What is the meaning of this famous Groucho Marx joke? "One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I’ll never know."

Can anyone interpret the meaning of this quote: One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I’ll never know. This famous Groucho Marx joke has many explanations given ...
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