94 votes
Accepted

What's a polite way of asking "who are you?" on the phone?

"Who should I say is calling?"
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  • 5,624
82 votes
Accepted

What does "ima" mean in "ima sue the s*** out of em"?

Ima is an informal contraction of I'm going to when it's used in going-to future construction - not in sentences like I'm going to London etc. It's also written i'ma or imma in informal conversations. ...
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  • 17.7k
50 votes

What's a polite way of asking "who are you?" on the phone?

As far as politeness goes, the following examples, along with what JeremyC has already suggested, would also be some of the safest ways to ask people for their names when talking with them over the ...
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47 votes

What does the ‘thank you very much’ mean in “they were perfectly normal, thank you very much”?

To add 'thank you very much' at the end of a statement can be a sarcastic way of dismissing someone or something, or of implying indifference or lack of interest. It expresses the opposite of ...
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39 votes

What does the ‘thank you very much’ mean in “they were perfectly normal, thank you very much”?

It emphasizes how perfectly normal they insist they are (thank you, John :). I was wondering if I would be able to find this specific definition of the phrase, but Wiktionary actually has an entry for ...
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  • 1,517
25 votes
Accepted

Is it okay to say "We are no more in the 20th century"? Using "no more" with periods of time

no more can have the same the meaning as no longer and, up until 1840, it was more widely used. Here is a typical example: He instantly determined to be no more a slave. - The works of Hannah More, ...
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  • 56.2k
23 votes

Does saying "Keep it up" put me in an authoritative position?

To be honest, nobody really minds this kind of vague congratulatory message. Few people are going to analyse or dissect the grammar or meaning. However "Keep it up" really means "...
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  • 149k
21 votes

What is a word meaning "with a low possibility"?

"Improbably" would be acceptable here, if you surround it with commas: Yeah, unless, improbably, I have a visitor. Most of the time, though, the sentence is more natural if you put the description ...
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  • 9,409
20 votes

What is the English equivalent of the Russian word тормоз which is used for very slowly working software?

If software is тормоз because too many poorly implemented features have been added, then it is "bloated." This bloating might be the result of feature creep, as many 'small' features get added on one ...
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  • 8,124
19 votes

Can traffic lights "turn red" for ten minutes?

Can you say traffic lights "turned red for ten minutes" According to the dictionary: turn (verb) to become changed, altered, or transformed, such as to change color : the weather turned Source:...
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  • 1,378
18 votes

What's a polite way of asking "who are you?" on the phone?

In my experience, "Who is this?" is generally perceived as more polite than "Who are you?" or similar. I don't have a good reason for it. There are other more-polite forms, as noted in the other ...
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17 votes

What does the ‘thank you very much’ mean in “they were perfectly normal, thank you very much”?

“Thank you very much,” is a phrase often used to end a conversation politely. In this context, the phrase would tell someone that the Dursleys don’t want to discuss the topic any further. You might ...
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  • 4,419
16 votes
Accepted

Can traffic lights "turn red" for ten minutes?

"turned red for" is perfectly appropriate in the context of "became red and stayed that way for a time period" Here are a few more example of "turned red for" He furrowed his eyebrows and I thought ...
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  • 24.4k
16 votes

What is the English equivalent of the Russian word тормоз which is used for very slowly working software?

A software application that is relatively small in size, works quickly, and probably has a somewhat limited feature set could be referred to as lightweight. So more full-featured software that moves ...
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  • 2,963
15 votes

What is a word meaning "with a low possibility"?

In the specific example you pose, the second speaker is indicating that they aren't expecting a visitor to appear and interrupt their plans, but doesn't want to rule out the possibility. If I were in ...
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  • 929
12 votes

How do people count weeks or months?

There is no hard rule here. People can and do use both methods. In casual speech people will frequently count by whole weeks, and round up. The listener will accept the ambiguity, as a precise count ...
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  • 2,391
12 votes

What is the English equivalent of the Russian word тормоз which is used for very slowly working software?

Sluggish, as in "Microsoft Word is very sluggish", or "Compared to Linux, Windows runs sluggishly". Merriam-Webster: 1 averse to activity or exertion :indolent; also :torpid 2 ...
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11 votes

what is the difference between 'em and them

It's a contracted, or shortened, form of "them" that's used in conversation, much in the same way that "gonna" is often used to mean "going to". In your quote, there should be a space, so: "Let's ...
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  • 14k
11 votes
Accepted

There is this place

You correctly understand that this use of this is not Standard, and is not employed in formal discourse; and I agree with you that the demonstrative pronoun jars in this context, whether you ...
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11 votes
Accepted

Are phrasal verbs almost always too informal to use in an academic writing?

"Phrasal verbs" are very common in English and have been around for a long time. Some are very old, some are recent inventions. Each has its own history and usage. Some of them are entirely ...
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11 votes

Informal question construction: "Anyone know what...", "Everyone finished?"

Formally, questions often start with "does" or "do" - does anyone know where my hat is? Do you want a cup of tea? The verb (e.g. "know", "want") is the base (infinitive) form. In informal conversation ...
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11 votes

Does saying "Keep it up" put me in an authoritative position?

"Keep it up" can be used by a boss or other authority figure. It can also be used in other contexts. It is commonly used by sports fans to or about an athlete after a successful performance....
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10 votes

What phrase should I use to say that a girl rejected a guy who was rude to her?

A very common one (at least in the United States) is to say that "A gave B a/the cold shoulder." The implication here is that A has agency over whom she chooses to interact with, and elected to ...
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  • 8,124
10 votes
Accepted

Unusual grammars in the slang

None of these uses is "slang", which is language (typically words and phrases rather than syntactical constructions) currently fashionable among a relatively small speech community (typically young ...
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9 votes

How do people count weeks or months?

As your answer hints, after two weeks have elapsed, we can look at this in one of two ways. We can either indicate how long you have been living there: I have been living here for two weeks. or ...
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  • 108k
8 votes
Accepted

"ain't … nobody" or "ain't … anybody"?

Informal English sometimes uses what's called a "double negative" for emphasis, putting words like "ain't" and "nobody" together to reinforce how strong the negative is. ("Negative concord" is a more ...
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  • 9,409
8 votes
Accepted

It is better to~ vs It is better off~

A quick look at MiCase shows a difference in usage. Better + infinitive follows the impersonal it: It is better to take a bus at night. It is better for the school to offer more courses. Better + ...
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  • 1,423
8 votes

Delete the phrase "I'm" from the sentence by native speaker

This is called conversational deletion. To quote the excellent answer from JLawler, (quote from Thrasher, Randolph H. Jr. 1974. Shouldn't Ignore These Strings: A Study of Conversational Deletion, Ph....
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  • 7,357
8 votes

What is the English equivalent of the Russian word тормоз which is used for very slowly working software?

We could say "it runs like a dog". On phrases.org.uk: Re the phrase - "my computer is 'running like a dog'". I understand this to mean that my computer is running very slowly. Anything that is '...
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  • 22.4k
8 votes

Why sometimes in the U.S.A do they skip verbs?

These are features of the dialect the rapper speaks, African American Vernacular English (AAVE, aka African American Language: AAL): Deletion of verbal copula (not as dirty as it sounds). This means ...
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