Submitted by euniceng  •  January 27, 2009

Green eyes

Could you please tell me what it means if someone calls you “green eyes”, but you don’t actually have green eyes.

We’re trying to figure out if it means envy/jealousy, being temperamental, or something else?

Submitted by gidgegary  •  December 1, 2008

Please be advised....

My local Public transport company has started delivering recorded messages on the train platform “Please be advised that patrons must wait till the train has come to a complete stop before crossing the yellow line”. I find this message completely grates on me, and I suffer it each time I wait on the train platform for my train.

“Please” is a polite request for me to take some form of action. I have a choice. I can comply with the request or I can refuse the request.

If an instruction is given to me with the precursor “Please be advised” then I am presented with a fait accompli and have no opportunity to decide whether I will comply with the request or not. It is not, in fact, a request in any form and does not provide the recipient with any capacity to dismiss or refuse the request. For this reason, I consider it to be manglish.

Can you confirm that “Please be advised” is manglish?

Submitted by rfw  •  April 20, 2008

Let’s you and me/I

Is it correct to say “Let’s you and I” or “Let’s you and me”?

Submitted by nickbrock  •  April 1, 2008

Big, red bull vs red, big bull

Why is it more appropriate to say the big, red bull was running fast, rather than the red, big bull was running fast?

Submitted by dredsina  •  January 1, 2008

Try and

I’m wondering about the phrase, “try and.” (Used like this: “I’m going to try and stop him.”)

I know that it’s technically grammatically correct, but is it okay to say it? Would it be better to say, “I’m going to try TO stop him” instead?

Submitted by niskys  •  December 19, 2007

As it were

I’ve heard people say “as it were” quite often. It doesn’t even sound wrong to me anymore. But shouldn’t it really be “as it WAS” instead, for proper subject verb agreement?

Submitted by janine  •  December 18, 2007

Sings like a canary

Where does that phrase come from and what does it mean?

Submitted by offwiththeirheads  •  November 19, 2007

Origin of the saying “off with their heads”

I know the saying was popularized from the movie Alice in Wonderland. Did the expression “off with their heads” have it’s origin in England or France?

Submitted by goossun  •  October 19, 2007

Head shot

As nasty as it sounds, for a translation I just need to know what the word is for the shooting into head of an executed person after being shot by the fire squad. Is it a head shot? Or there is a military jargon for it?

Submitted by justine  •  October 18, 2007

Canadian-speak

When I lived in Canada (I’m Australian) I noticed a common phrase used by interviewers and reporters was “could you speak to that” used in the sense of “Prime minister I believe you have discussed changes to the immigration policy... could you speak to that?” I found it a little uncomfortable and wondered if it was a new journalistic lingo phrase or a perfectly correct Canadian expression. Could any Canadians speak to that? : )

Submitted by goossun  •  October 12, 2007

Frowing

What does “tooing and frowing” mean? And why these words cannot be found in any dictionary (at least in those I looked at?) Is it a corruption of “to and fro?” Is “frowing” a word and could it be used separately and if so would it mean differently than that of the phrase?

Submitted by Dyske  •  October 2, 2007

First Husband or First Gentleman?

If Hillary Clinton is elected as the president of the US, what should Bill Clinton be called? I’ve seen both “first husband” and “first gentleman.” Wikipedia seems to think that it should be the latter.

Submitted by xylo  •  July 30, 2007

nowadays business?

Is this correct? As in “in response to some of the most problematic issues of nowadays business”? To me it sounds strange, although it seems to have a couple hundred entries in Google. I’d opt for “today’s business”.

Submitted by Dyske  •  July 6, 2007

Don’t mind if I do

When we say, “Don’t mind if I do,” what is the subject we are omitting? Is it:

I don’t mind if I do.

or

You don’t mind if I do.

Submitted by nigel  •  July 1, 2007

“On accident” and “study on . . .”

My children frequently say they did something, or someone else did something “on accident,” where I would say “by accident.” The “on” version not only sounds wrong to me, but it makes no semantic sense (what about the normal meaning of “on” could make it appropriate here?), but despite my having corrected them many times, they persist in this usage, which suggests it is entrenched in their subculture (Southern California Public Schools). I also came across the “on accident” form on the web recently. Is this idiom taking over? Would anyone care to defend it, or to suggest how it might have originated?

Also, as a college teacher in Southern California I have noticed a construction that might be related in quite a few student essays. This is “study on,” where I would just write “study.” For example: “Galileo studied on astronomy for many years.” Admittedly, this almost always occurs in essays that are poorly written in all sorts of other respects, but it is clearly not a simple mistake, as it occurs quite frequently, sometimes several times in the same paper. Clearly it is done intentionally. (Perhaps it is worth adding that many of my students are Hispanic and bilingual in Spanish and English. Could it be that “study on” reflects some construction or idiom in Spanish? Could that be the case for “on accident” too?)

Submitted by amazed  •  April 26, 2007

A couple...

I’ve just come from a thread debating the relative correctness of “all of a sudden” vs “all the sudden” and would like to submit another evolving phrase that annoys me:

Use of “a couple... ” in lieu of “a couple of...”. “A couple drinks”, or whatever. While I find the question of “all of a sudden” vs “all of the” merely interesting, with this one I am inclined to assume laziness.

Any thoughts?

Submitted by guillaume  •  April 21, 2007

And how...

To me, “and how...” is one of those phrases that trails off when the responder doesn’t have much left to say about a certain statement (e.g. “times like these...”, etc.). I know it is to emphasize or strongly agree with a statement that has just been made, but when you think of it literally, it doesn’t make too much sense. Can anyone explain?

Submitted by bobmorgy  •  April 2, 2007

Methodology

If Methodology means “they study of different methods” (in the same idea as Biology or Geology) then why do people always say “Let me explain our methodology” instead of just saying “Let me explain our methods”?

Am I wrong or do I have the right to be annoyed!

Submitted by adamcollett  •  January 19, 2007

An unforecasted dilemma

So someone I work with is giving me hell about the word “unforecasted.” Microsoft’s built-in dictionary doesn’t recognize it, and I’ve checked a couple of on-line dictionaries to no avail. However, a Google search shows relatively common usage in business, defense, and academic writings. I stand by it - it sounds correct to my ears and it seems to alleviate a void in nuance that is not filled by unanticipated, unpredicted and the like.

Can anyone validate or refute my stance?

Submitted by nancyfriedman  •  October 28, 2006

“I’m just saying”

I’m interested in the origins of “I’m just saying” used postpositively. (Also its variant: “I’m not saying, I’m just saying.”) An example: “Have you ever noticed how many people end statements with qualifiers? I’m just saying.” It seems to be an update of “With all due respect,” or perhaps something I’m not thinking of. Is it an East Coast expression? I’m from California and have never heard it in speech, but have noticed it frequently in blog titles and posts.

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