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?
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?)
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?
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!
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?
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.
Does anyone know who first used the expression “retail therapy”. How would one go about finding the first time this expression was published?
I’m German, but work in an American company. So the expression “Hi all” is pretty popular as a salutation for email messages. Now, an American English native speaker told me that this is Southern accent, and I should use “Hi everybody” instead. (same with “Dear all”) What do you think?
Is it correct to say “over exaggerate”? or is exaggeration by nature already over emphasizing? Surely you either exaggerate or you don’t? It just drives me mad when people say this all the time!
So I am a university English Lit student of about three years, and I have to admit, I don’t exactly know the meaning of this phrase. I came across it while reading “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” and was reminded how much this phrase has always annoyed me, because I have a general idea of what it means, but couldn’t specifically define it. I am also curious as to where this phrase originated from. Any ideas?
I recently used the phrase (?) “thisclose.” A friend asked me what it’s called when the literal writing matches the meaning. Is there a word for that? What is it?
What does it mean when someone says you have cow eyes? I’ve heard a bunch of answers but I don’t know which is right. I have been told it means: - Your eyes kind of stick out (like Steve Buscemi) - Your eyes are different colors (I guess this is common among cows? I know it’s common among certains dogs and cats) - Your eyes have a sad look to them (cause cows look sad?) - You have a stare that suggests you are “hot to trot” - You have a blank, empty stare. Any ideas what this really means?
Does a phrase exist (english or other) that describes a situation in which something that normally would not occur takes place, solely because the circumstances surrounding it (themselves possible anomolies) make it possible. Example: A “perfect storm” can take place because wind speeds reach the correct speed at the correct moment, water temperatures are at the right temperature at the correct time, etc., etc.
as dry as a bone as cold as ice as sick as a dog as wet as ??? a fish? water? what’s right?
Am I not right in thinking that the phrase “discussion forum”, as often used to refer to bulletin boards on websites, is a tautology?
I have heard the expression “Ha Ha, charade you are” in the pink floyd song pigs, and also in a southpark episode. In the episode cartman used it like you would use the phrase “touchee” in an argument. Does anyone have any input as to what this phrase means and an example of using it.
There’s an expression from the Southern United States that has always bugged me and it is “might could” which means may be willing and/or able to do something in the future. It is used like this: “Are you going to do it?” “I’m not sure but I might could.” Despite being bad grammar and redundant, my question is what is the correct response? Both the phrases, “I’m not sure but I might.” or “I’m not sure but I could.” just sound strange to me. Is the only way to use a longer phrase like, “I’m not sure but I might be willing to do it later.”
What does it mean when someone states that they were “read the riot act” or that THEY read someone else “the riot act”? Is there such a thing as a Riot Act. I haven’t been able to locate information on this.
“For all it’s worth” or “for all its worth”? e.g. He rolled the R for all it’s worth.
I have seen both OK and Okay used regularly. If OK is correct what do the O and the K stand for? If Okay what is the origin? Thank you.