27 votes

How can I avoid ambiguity in the sentence "I cut the middle of the hose"?

I cut the hose in half. I (and I think most people) would assume you were talking about doing what is represented in the first and third pictures if you said that. To describe, the second, I would ...
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  • 7,511
16 votes

How can I avoid ambiguity in the sentence "I cut the middle of the hose"?

@sharken’s answer may be precise, but even as a native English speaker I would have to reach for a dictionary to be certain of the meaning of axial: I cut the hose along the longitudinal/axial ...
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12 votes
Accepted

How can I tell someone that they are not allowed to express their opinions, in English?

Both are acceptable, though the first one has connotations that might make it not work in this context. If someone says they "don't have a voice" in a matter, the implication is that this is a bad ...
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  • 1,140
8 votes
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When your income and expenses do not add up

The expression used in bookkeeping is balance, employed as both a noun and transitive or intransitive verb to designate an equality of positive and negative values. His income and expenses are in ...
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8 votes

How to say there is no water available?

The water is cut off. For me, that sentence suggests a deliberate action. Living in the UK, this is such a rare event that I would probably feel the need to be explicit, e.g. "There's no water ...
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8 votes
Accepted

If appropriate, do something

"If appropriate" is fine. It is also common to write "when appropriate", "where appropriate", "when/where applicable", and "when/where necessary". I'm ...
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  • 57.6k
7 votes

How can I tell someone that they are not allowed to express their opinions, in English?

If you need to explicitly tell the person their opinion is not wanted, you might use Thank you for your thoughts, but we need to decide this on our own. with emphasis on "we" and "our own", is a ...
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  • 65.4k
7 votes

You are in a toilet and someone knocks on the door. What do you say to him so that he won't enter?

There are numerous ways to inform someone that you're using the restroom. Here are some brief ways. Occupied. That's the first thing that came to my mind. I think a more polite phrase would ...
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  • 45.1k
7 votes
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Other ways to say "His English has got rusty"

As in the comments, His English has become [or "got", or "gotten" in American] rusty. or He's out of practice at [or "with"] English. If you want something more ...
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6 votes
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If God wishes, an enemy can become a source of good

From Wiktionary: God works in mysterious ways The possible source of the expression is the Christian hymn titled "God Moves in a Mysterious Way" written in the late XVII century by William Cowper. ...
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  • 36.2k
6 votes
Accepted

How to blame bad luck?

The person who didn't get the job might say: That's just my luck. An observer might say: Sorry; that's so unlucky.
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6 votes

How can I avoid ambiguity in the sentence "I cut the middle of the hose"?

As a practical matter, I'm assuming that the person shown is cutting out a part of the hose that has a leak, and splicing the two good pieces back together with a hose mender. So you wouldn't say "I ...
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  • 991
6 votes

How to say there is no water available?

I like this question. Annoyingly, it's happened to us a few times recently. I naturally said: The hot water's off. And I think that if the cold water had also been absent, i.e. no water at all, I ...
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  • 2,820
5 votes

When your income and expenses do not add up

The most common idiom for this is probably that the person is living beyond their means. For example: Signs You Are Living Beyond Your Means: "Living beyond your means is easy to do in a debt driven ...
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  • 35.8k
5 votes
Accepted

Formally say "thank you for taking the time and effort in doing something"

Instead of ending the letter with these sentences, a correspondence reply letter usually start with these lines. "Thank you for taking the time to write this letter..." This is perfectly natural ...
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  • 8,160
5 votes

How to blame bad luck?

The problem with trying to answer a question like this is that informal English has literally hundreds, possibly thousands, of ways to express sympathy for a bad outcome by blaming it on a pattern of ...
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  • 28.4k
5 votes

How can I avoid ambiguity in the sentence "I cut the middle of the hose"?

Something can be split in half, for example a tree Something can be cut in half, for example an apple But you could also describe it as being spilt down the middle, because both sides of the apple ...
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  • 22.6k
4 votes
Accepted

When a bad intention turns to a bad happening to that person

A common expression (where I'm from at least) used to describe a situation as you have described is: What goes around, comes around. In other words, what you do to others, whether good or bad, ...
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  • 9,757
4 votes
Accepted

When you cut off all your ways back

You sentence is grammatically correct, but nobody would say that. Probably the most idiomatic way of saying this would be He has burned his bridges.
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  • 56.4k
4 votes

You are in a toilet and someone knocks on the door. What do you say to him so that he won't enter?

You can say almost anything you like, but obvious choices are things like "Occupied!" (to describe the state of the bathroom stall, which is occupied by you) or "Don't come in!" (the basic imperative)....
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  • 9,429
4 votes

What are the ways to say that I was in a place without the possibility to connect with my phone?

I think I was in a dead zone is a good option in this context. In my opinion, service is a commonly used word here. I think reception is also common. Coverage is possible, but I think it's not a ...
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  • 45.1k
4 votes

To hold a child in the hands

I'll expand on my comment on the original question with a few other points to try to make this into a full-fledged answer. There are two possibilities, depending on what you're trying to mean with "...
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4 votes
Accepted

Does "Do I misunderstand something?" sound natural?

While Do I misunderstand something? is not wrong, it's not entirely natural either. More common expressions that express the same idea are the following: Did I misunderstand something? Am I ...
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4 votes

Other ways to say "His English has got rusty"

I would probably just stick to "gotten rusty" in most contexts: His English has gotten rusty. (American) His English has got rusty. (British) The (slightly more formal) alternatives that ...
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3 votes

How to ask the hair stylist to cut off your hairs less or more on some parts of your head

You can always say Please trim the left side. Make it shorter on the right side. Leave the center as it is, while making the sides shorter. Hope that helps.
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3 votes

When you want to start your speech very politely

I agree with what others have said: Your suggestions are overly self-deprecating. If I feel a need to start with a qualifier, I might say something more like: I may not be an expert, but here'...
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  • 108k
3 votes

When you want to start your speech very politely

Speaking as a Brit, I try not to be obsequious. To engage in such politenesses just seems embarrassing to modern ears. If someone asks for my opinion, I say what I think. If they don't want my opinion,...
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  • 6,456
3 votes

How can I tell someone that they are not allowed to express their opinions, in English?

I think it depends on if you are trying to be polite or matter-of-fact. If you were talking to your boss, or a respected elder, or good friend, neither of those work. Both are grammatical and fine ...
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  • 4,627
3 votes

When you're going to indicate that usually the wealthy people are mightier

The expression He casts a long shadow comes to mind - when something or someone that casts a long shadow, it means they have considerable influence on other people or events. However, your ...
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  • 9,757

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