Why is it a *canary* in a coalmine?

I understand what the idiom means: as per this question, it means a person or creature unwittingly used as a test for danger, often destructively. I understand why coalmines: as depositories of ancient organic waste, they are particularly prone to methane and carbon monoxide buildup. But why a canary? They are technically exotic, native and … Read more

How to use the word extend vs put in a sentence

If you wanna say someone put their hand on my shoulder throughout the window should i say extended his hand on my shoulder? Answer One of many possible sentences I could construct for the scenario described is: He extended his arm, reached through the window, and put his hand on my shoulder. But that just … Read more

Why have Jack or John have been used as euphemisms to refer to a toilet in particular?

I was watching an American show called Breaking Bad and they use this phrase: Can I use your John’s? to mean Can I use your toilet? As it stands the origin has been mentioned here, courtesy to @Jason Bassford and @user067531 in the comments below, but I feel it doesn’t adequately discuss why the particular … Read more

Why is it “on the inside” and not “in the inside”?

The expression “in the inside” appears to be logical (because insides are closed spaces with boundaries) but the more common expression is “on the inside.” What’s the reason behind this usage? Answer The noun inside, as opposed to the preposition inside, appears to be composed of a noun side, pre-modified by the preposition in. The … Read more

Idioms: Should it be ” the internet is a seemingly infinite well of information” or “the internet is a seemingly infinite wealth of information”

The title says it all. I have heard the phrase used either way, but “well” makes more sense to me. My editor and I are both at a stalemate with this one. Answer “Wealth of information” is a (somewhat) commonly used idiom, as compared to “Well of information”. As per the Cambridge dictionary, one of … Read more

Using the preposition For to indicate a purpose

I am curious to know if the usage of “for” in the sentence below is grammatical? The reason why “socioeconomical understanding” is chosen as the umbrella section is for it to mediate the understanding of innovation in X industries. The following subsections are intertwined in their individual evolutions and implications for X industries. PS: I … Read more

Where did “a racist bone in [one’s] body” and “a mean bone in [one’s] body” come from?

A recent tweet by the U.S. president includes this assurance: I don’t have a Racist bone in my body! A blog post by David Graham, "The One Color the White House Sees Clearly" at The Atlantic Online offers this commentary on the history of the expression "doesn’t have a racist bone in [one’s] body": As … Read more