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65 votes

My dad doesn't want me to TOUCH alcohol

It is a form of clichéd hyperbole, but so natural and common that it may not be noticed as such. What the father literally wants is for the child not to drink alcohol. Drinking generally requires ...
nanoman's user avatar
  • 1,277
53 votes

My dad doesn't want me to TOUCH alcohol

Yes, it is perfectly natural. Not to touch something can mean to avoid or reject it.
Kate Bunting's user avatar
  • 55.6k
48 votes

Would Americans say: "He sat down 9 feet from me." or "He sat down 3 yards from me."?

Feet is the more common, conversational usage in the U.S. Your speaker would say he sat nine feet away from me Yards are often used to describe particular things that are traditionally measured in ...
EllieK's user avatar
  • 9,202
48 votes
Accepted

Why did the BBC use "would have done" instead of Simple Past to describe this recent event?

It's not about lack of precision. It's about lack of direct evidence. It's unclear where the article's author gets the "a few flights a month" figure, but we can surmise they didn't get it ...
the-baby-is-you's user avatar
48 votes
Accepted

the joke in muppet sketch: the comedian's a bear

There are three things you need to understand in order to comprehend the joke: It's an old comedy trope that Italians, when speaking English, add 'a' sounds at the end of words. Like many such tropes,...
Astralbee's user avatar
  • 103k
47 votes

What is an idiomatic way to tell someone to put their hands on someone's eyes in order to not let them see?

I think the simplest, yet most idiomatic way to say that in English would be this: Cover her eyes with your hands. Or, as was suggested by brichins down below, the sentence can be made even ...
Michael Rybkin's user avatar
43 votes

Would Americans say: "He sat down 9 feet from me." or "He sat down 3 yards from me."?

I am very much on board with FumbleFingers' comment. Suspecting neither, that most would call it "feet", but rather than being precise would instead say "about 10 feet". Accurate ...
SoronelHaetir's user avatar
41 votes
Accepted

banned in vs banned from?

If something (or someone) is banned in a place, that thing is not permitted in that place—it is not allowed to be inside the boundary. If something (or someone) is banned from a place, that thing is ...
randomhead's user avatar
  • 21.1k
41 votes

When talking about computing, are "not enabled" and "disabled" same?

From a computing perspective, I would not perceive a negative connotation to the word “disabled”, as it is a very common term. Part of the negative connotation it has in referring to people is ...
Guest's user avatar
  • 411
38 votes

Any difference between these sentences: "Why did you have me born?" and "Why did you give birth to me?"

The questions are different. Job is talking to God. God didn't "give birth to Job", but you might say that God caused Job to be born. The person who gave birth to Job would have been his ...
James K's user avatar
  • 223k
37 votes
Accepted

Why does this BBC presenter say "put pay", whereas dictionaries say "put paid"?

"Put paid to..." is the correct idiom, but quite a few examples of "put pay to" can be found in literature, so BBC presenter Chris Packham is certainly not the first person to say ...
Astralbee's user avatar
  • 103k
34 votes
Accepted

Seeking an English Equivalent for the Concept of "Evil Eye"

Well, there’s always “Evil Eye” However, it’s a slightly exotic concept to English speakers. It also encompasses a wide diversity of West Asian, Middle-Eastern, and Eastern European beliefs into a ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 883
32 votes
Accepted

Is the word "here" unnecessary in this sentence: "Hi, Bob the Canadian here"?

If you appear and say "Hi, Bob the Canadian!" it sounds like you're saying hello to someone called Bob the Canadian. If you want to say hello and indicate that you are Bob the Canadian, then ...
Stuart F's user avatar
  • 2,389
31 votes
Accepted

Does "along" mean "but" in this sentence: "That effort too came to nothing, along she insists with appeals to US Embassy staff in Riyadh."

It's all down to how the sentence is parsed: That effort too came to nothing, along she insists with appeals to US Embassy staff in Riyadh. I hope these parentheses make it clearer: That effort too ...
Weather Vane's user avatar
  • 16.5k
31 votes

Is it ok to say "When we would go to a restaurant ......." instead of "When we went to a restaurant, ....."?

'Would go' suggests a pattern, a habit, or multiple visits over a past period, for example: We would go to France every year. You can use 'went' to mean multiple occasions, but it can mean just one ...
Astralbee's user avatar
  • 103k
30 votes

Phrasal verb for carbonated drinks exploding out of the can after being shaken?

Possibly one of "spray", "fizz", "surge", "foam", depending on how large/strong the flow of liquid, along with a preposition like "out", "from", or "over", depending on how you describe the movement ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 88.3k
30 votes
Accepted

"Oh, cough on me, why don't you?": Does this sentence mean the person is angry or is making a suggestion to do it more?

This is sarcasm. A common way to draw attention to someone doing something that you don’t like is to invite them to do it. For an example, if someone comes into your living room and sits on the couch ...
Ben Murphy's user avatar
  • 1,276
29 votes
Accepted

"What does it sound like" vs "How does it sound like"

"How does it sound like?" (this is incorrect) Native speakers understand this but they immediately know that this is a non-native speaker. You can say one of the following. They can mean the ...
chasly - supports Monica's user avatar
29 votes

Is the word "here" unnecessary in this sentence: "Hi, Bob the Canadian here"?

Yes, it's necessary. It does the same job as "I'm" or "my name is". If you drop it, you'll probably be understood, but definitely interpreted as speaking very telegraphically. To ...
Luke Sawczak's user avatar
28 votes
Accepted

"I am joined by two guests today" or "I am joined with two guests today"?

If you are joined with two other people, you are physically fixed together like conjoined triplets, or maybe stuck using glue. The 'native British speaker' may have been using English carelessly.
Michael Harvey's user avatar
27 votes

Can "too" occur in a negative sentence? "That effort too came to nothing"

(Converted my comment to an answer, since it has been upvoted.) Came to nothing has a negative meaning but it isn't grammatically negative. A negative sentence would be 'That effort did not come to ...
Kate Bunting's user avatar
  • 55.6k
27 votes
Accepted

How do you say idiomatically that a clock on the wall is not showing the correct time?

We would be more likely to say 'That's not the right time', or 'that clock is wrong'. If the clock is running, but the time shown is behind the correct time, we can say 'that clock is slow', and if ...
Michael Harvey's user avatar
26 votes

Is "Occupation Japan" idiomatic? (instead of occupation of Japan, occupied Japan or Occupation-era Japan)

I have just searched academic articles indexed by EBSCO, a database used by scholars. I find 248 references to Occupation Japan. Here are three titles that come up in the first page of matches: The ...
Jeffrey Carney's user avatar
26 votes
Accepted

Is the 'a nice' in 'a nice to have' grammatical?

Punctuation. The expressions "nice to have" and "must have(s)" should be seen as individual units, they are both fixed phrases and we can achieve this by using hyphens. As the ...
Mari-Lou A's user avatar
  • 27.3k
25 votes
Accepted

What is the meaning of the expression 'nice to wheat you'?

It's a pun, not correct English. The proper idiom is "Nice to meet you" but the character is throwing wheat crackers, so he substitutes the rhyming word (meet/wheat) to make a joke.
relaxing's user avatar
  • 2,436
25 votes
Accepted

What does "football" mean in this sentence: "We are seeing more football here. We are seeing more clients."

She doesn't say 'football'. She says we are seeing more footfall, we're seeing more clients 'Footfall' is a term used in retail and other customer-facing business contexts and means 'number of ...
Michael Harvey's user avatar
25 votes
Accepted

What does this sentence on BBC means: ""All baa myself: Is this Britain's loneliest sheep?"

It is word play. The word "by" has been replaced by "baa". The sound that sheep make is represented in English as "baa" (Sheep say "baa", cows say "moo&...
James K's user avatar
  • 223k
24 votes

Why does this sentence have a "back": "Loving India back since 1924."

The intention is your (2), "India loves us and we have been loving them back since 1924". 1924 is the first year that British Airways started flying to India, thus "loving them back&...
BadZen's user avatar
  • 3,719
24 votes
Accepted

Meaning of a poster: "Give up, give in or give everything"

This is a variation of another quote: "In life you have three choices - give up, give in, or give it your all". Your poster has the same implication, that you have three choices: Either ...
CDR's user avatar
  • 1,073
22 votes
Accepted

Phrasal verb for carbonated drinks exploding out of the can after being shaken?

I suggest the word spew which is defined by Lexico as spew VERB 1 Expel large quantities of (something) rapidly and forcibly. buses were spewing out black clouds of exhaust ...
Weather Vane's user avatar
  • 16.5k

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