Help with English

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Saint, Aug 24, 2011.

  1. Xotica Everyday I’m Shufflin Registered Senior Member

    stands pat = Standing firm. No deviation.

    Ergo... The Fed will remain faithful to current fiscal policy, but reserves the right to amend this stance if the situation warrants a change.

    It implies agreement, but perhaps an agreement with some unarticulated reservations.
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  3. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    That's a term from poker. In draw poker, one of the various forms of the game, the hand is dealt, then there is a round of betting. After the betting is complete because all players have either called (matched the last bet rather than raising it) or folded (dropped out of the hand and given up the pot), the dealer gives each player in turn an opportunity to discard one or more of his cards and accept (draw) replacements from the deck, which may or may not improve their hands. Then another round of betting begins and continues, once again, until everyone has either called or folded. At that point the player with the strongest hand wins the pot.

    When it's your turn to discard one or more of your cards and draw, you may decide that you're happy with your hand, and turn down the opportunity. This is called standing pat, and it implies that you have a pat hand that cannot be improved by exchanging even one card: a full house (three of one rank and two of another), a straight (a sequence of five), a flush (five of the same suit), or a straight flush (a sequence of five of the same suit). With any other hand (a pair, three of a kind, two pair, or absolutely nothing), it is always advantageous to draw because the hand can't be made any worse and there's a statistical chance that it can be made better.

    (No I did not discuss four of a kind. In a game without wild cards that hand cannot be improved. But you might draw, in order to mislead your opponents into believing that you have a weaker hand so they'll continue to feed the pot.)

    Notice that the pat hands are very high-ranking; for example a straight or a full house always beats three of a kind or two pair. So if you stand pat, you're telling the other players that you have a very good hand that will be hard for them to beat. This may cause them to fold rather than put more money in the pot.

    Alternately, they might think that you're bluffing (pretending that your hand is stronger than it is) in the hope that they will believe you and allow you to win with a hand that is actually not very strong. This is part of the strategy and psychology of poker.

    So when someone stands pat in real life, he's telling people that he has no need to change anything, because what he has is already perfect.
    No. A nod is an expression of attribution and appreciation.
    This morning I gave a lecture on relational database theory to the new programmers. I gave a nod to Chris Date because I learned it from him in a class he taught in 1980. I didn't want the students to think this was my own original work.​
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  5. Saint Valued Senior Member

    hit below the belt = ?
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  7. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    The generally accepted rules for sport of boxing (evolved from the 1867 Marquess of Queensbury Rules) prohibit hitting your opponent on any part of his body below his belt. The reason is obvious.

    So "to hit someone below the belt" means to cheat in a very dishonorable way, which can cause them actual injury.

    As to why Obama's bragging about killing bin Laden could be regarded as a dishonorable act that could injure Romney, I have no idea. It seems like normal election-year politics to me. He suggested that if Romney were President at the time, he would not have ordered the mission that resulted in bin Laden's capture and death. I guess he's implying that Romney would not have the courage to do it. But there are many other reasons why a president might hesitate to do something like this.
  8. Saint Valued Senior Member

    tick off = (Informal) To make angry or annoyed:
    e.g. Constant delays ticked me off. So, ticking the market off means what?

    litany = 1) A liturgical prayer consisting of a series of petitions recited by a leader alternating with fixed responses by the congregation.
    2) A repetitive or incantatory recital.

    When we say "litany of reasons", does it mean the reasons are no longer convincing?
  9. Saint Valued Senior Member

    take you out in a box = to surprise you?

    shakes our nerve = to shock us?
  10. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Presumably the market has been acting "happy" and prices have been rising. If something ticks off the market, it will become "angry," so it won't treat us nicely. Prices will start to fall.
    No, just the opposite. A litany is a standard, formal sequence of statements. So a litany of reasons is a long list of irrefutable reasons that can't be denied.
    The only kind of box that a human ever goes into is a coffin. It means they're going to kill you and carry your corpse out in a coffin.
    Not exactly. It means to scare you so you become unsure of yourself. If a data point shakes our nerve it means that we become reluctant to invest in the market because we're afraid it will fall.
  11. Saint Valued Senior Member

    So what does it mean?
    In figurative sense?
  12. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    "If you don't listen and continue to yell about what shouldn't happen, they're going to take you out in a box." = "If you don't listen and continue to yell about what shouldn't happen, they're going to kill you and carry your corpse out in a coffin."

    They're going to be really angry and they will punish you. If they're actually members of the Mafia then they will actually kill you. If not, they will at least ostracize you and treat you with disrespect. Since they don't want to listen to your loud, stupid complaints any more, they may eject you from the room.
  13. Saint Valued Senior Member

    I want to see John = I want to go to toilet?
  14. Saint Valued Senior Member

    Blind love mistakes a harelip for a dimple.

    Does it mean "I love you" ?
  15. Saint Valued Senior Member

    Your number was up the first time I met you.

    Means what?
  16. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    No, it means you want to see John. We say "go to the John" or "where's the John." Anything else means you're talking about some guy named John. This is an excellent example of why you absolutely need to master the definite article in English. John is a man. The John is a bathroom. ("A John" is also slang for a prostitute's customer.)
    No. It just means that when you're deeply in love with someone, your brain turns all their flaws into assets so you see her as much more beautiful than we do. A hairlip is not very attractive, but a dimple is cute.

    This is a general statement, not about anyone in particular.
    "Your number is up" means that your luck has run out. Whatever you're hoping to avoid is going to happen right now. Or whatever you're hoping to get is now unavailable forever.

    People often use this when talking about death. "Mary was so strong and she looked so healthy. Everyone was surprised when she died before turning 60. But most people don't know that she was a very heavy smoker when she was younger. When your number's up, it's up."

    People even say that when there's no apparent reason for a death, as if to say that sometimes you're lucky and sometimes you're not. "I'll miss Harriet, but I guess her number was up."

    I'm not clear on the origin of this slang. I can only compare it to taking a number when I walk into a store, restaurant, etc., and when they finish with one customer they call the next number. In this case, when "my number is up" I'm happy because I will finally be served. So the literal meaning is just the opposite from the slang usage.

    People also use it for falling in love, as though love can be as bad as death.

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    "Your number was up the first time I met you," might mean, "It took you six months to finally fall in love with me, but I knew it was going to happen eventually."
  17. Saint Valued Senior Member

    pledged further efforts = tried to do it better ?

    hit out at = target something to attack it?

    turn back the clock = going backward into worse situation?

    stroll = when you stroll, does it mean you are in relaxing mood?

    glitzy = extravagant?

    make or break moment = life or death?

    all but = everything is ok except this ?
  18. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    No. He promised (pleged) that he would continue working (devoting effort) to improving the economy.
    You've got the right idea. But the word "target" implies a certain precision, looking for the most vulnerable spot. To hit out at something is not precise, but merely flailing at a large target and hoping to do some damage.
    It means to move time backward, and no one would wish to do this unless they saw the past as a better time than the present. Easier, simpler, more prosperous, or simply more the way they liked it. My parents, for example, would have liked to turn back the clock to a time when there was no rock and roll music and the radio was full of swing tunes. Of course one person's better time is another person's worse time. I would have found that era horrible for many reasons, not just the music--which isn't really that bad even though it's not my favorite kind. When Obama (I assume that's the person being quoted) says that Romney would turn back the clock, he means that even though Romney might like going back to the past, most Americans would not. The economy may have been stronger, but it was a time of war, repression, police violence and horrible discrimination against women, ethnic minorities, homosexuals and non-Christians.
    You mean "a relaxed mood." More precisely it means "leisurely," which is not quite the same. When you stroll you may not have a particular destination in mind, you may not care what time you return, and you may stop along the way if something attracts your interest.
    No. You're getting lazy. You can look up many of these words in the dictionary and get a more complete definition than you're getting from us. Glitzy means ostentatious. A lady may look glitzy because she's wearing a lot of jewelry, but it could be costume jewelry: imitation gemstones, usually glass but artificial stones like cubic zirconia are also cheap imitations. This is definitely not an extravagant outfit.
    No, the stakes aren't necessarily so high. What it refers to is the moment in a contest, project, journey, etc., in which fate, luck or skill plays a large role and determines the outcome.
    We've been working on this project for a year. Now we are going to test the machine we've developed to determine whether it can really perform the task that it needs to do. If the test results are positive, we will complete the project and the company executives will reward us. If the results are negative, the project will be canceled and we'll all have to go find new jobs. This is our make or break moment.
    No. "He all but ignored his record." This means that he didn't talk about it very much, and instead tried to change the subject to topics that would show his administration in a better light. He did not actually ignore his record since he did mention it. He all but ignored it by trying to prevent it from being discussed. He did everything he could except to actually ignore it. "All but" means "everything up to, but not including."

    The big strong men all but wept when their hometown football team lost the game. She all but dived into the creek, trying to retrieve her hat. The dog all but chewed his way through the door in joy when he heard his people returning home after a two-week vacation.
    Last edited: May 7, 2012
  19. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    Or to try and correct a past injustice... as in "If I could turn back the clock I would pluck up the courage and ask her out!"
  20. Cai Registered Member

    To be!!!!Hope to do better!
  21. Saint Valued Senior Member


    1. I am going to Beijing on 17th May and will stay there until 26th May.
    2. I will be going to Beijing on 17th May and will stay there until 26th May.
    3. I will go to Beijing on 17th May and stay there until 26th May.

    Which is a better sentence?

    (I am really going there for vacation, I have a close friend there.

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    , had you been to Beijing?)

  22. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

    Ah, maybe I can ask a stupid question. It happens to be a true story, however.

    I downloaded a movie called "Lesbian Vampire Killers." Thinking it was about lesbian vampires that go around killing people. But it turned out to be about people going around killing lesbian vampires.

    Is it only the fault of the title being ambiguous or is it mine for being illiterate?
  23. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    They are all correct. Although in America we never say "17th May." That's British English. We say "May 17th" or "the 17th of May." In a business or technical environment we sometimes say "17 May."

    "I am going" is very informal. We talk that way but in writing we might use one of the other forms.
    Not I. I've been to Mexico, Jamaica and several countries in Europe. A couple of them don't exist anymore: Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia.

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