Where does ‘talking through your hat’ come from?

I’ve looked it up on phrases.org.uk, which gives the following quote as the first usage: This began life in the USA, in the late 19th century, with a slightly different meaning from the present one. It then meant to bluster. Farmer and Henley Slang and Its Analogues, 1888: “Dis is only a bluff dey’re makin’ … Read more

“Where do you stay?” vs “Where do you live?”

I am not a native speaker of English and I was having a casual conversation with my friends in the US. I asked them, “Where do you stay?” (which is pretty common in India, as far as I know) for which they gave me a surprised look and told me that people generally don’t use … Read more

How does the pitch change through the phrase “a gorgeous young model”?

When one pronounces the phrase a gorgeous young model in a very normal way (without any special stress to emphasize a specific meaning), which word will be said in the highest pitch, which word will be said in the lowest pitch and which word will receive the middle range? Information added later: Yeah, I mean … Read more

Which would be appropriate accepts or accept

thanks in advance for answering the following question. I am trying to figure out which one would be correct. I am in process of writing documentation on a technical subject and I was asked to replace ‘accepts’ with ‘accept’. But not sure why. Both ‘right-click’and ‘double-click’ accept 2 parameters Both ‘right-click’and ‘double-click’ accepts 2 parameters … Read more

Would it be proper to state “I countermand you to….”?

As in, He commanded you to go to hills. But I countermand you to go to the hills. (to convey the “go to the hills” order being revoked/overridden) I know the use of countermand in this context is awkward, but grammatically, is it correct? Or perhaps I should ask — does the second sentence “make … Read more

History of the phrase “keep it together”

Often used in conjunction with panic-inducing situations, what does the “it” reference in the phrase “keep it together”? The closest established phrase would be “keep your wits together”. When and how did the phrase “keep it together” evolve and come into widespread use? Answer Depending on the context, it can refer to many things. For … Read more

Grammar and adverbs question

Is this question written correctly? Has the problem been solved already? or maybe is this way Has the problem already been solved? are both correct? Answer Yes, both are grammatically correct, although the first one seems in a negative sense (like you’re shocked or disappointed/angry that the problem has been solved). The second one seems … Read more

Usage of interest as a verb: “I interested them in signing up for camp”

The other day I was speaking to a neighbor, and he mentioned he was running a camp and had several kids signed up. His daughter piped up and said “I interested them in signing up”, to which her father corrected her “You can’t say ‘I interested them’. Say ‘I got them interested’”. I still haven’t … Read more