You are here:

General Writing and Grammar Help/Expressions, phrases, ask, ask about

Advertisement


Question
Dear Ted:

According to my books, "As stubborn as a mule" is an idiom or an idomatic (quaint) expression or phrase. Also, "to knock on wood (to touch wood)," "to paint the town red," and so on are all idioms or idiomatic expressions/phrases.

I always ask you about the difference between an "espression" and a "phrase" because, sometimes, an expression is also a phrase, and vice versa.

By the way, is it "to ask someone something" or "to ask someone ABOUT or OF something"? (Which of the two should I have use in the above sentence?)

If both are posssible, do they mean the same thing?

If not, when should I use each of them?

Would you please give me some examples?

Finally, why did you call "to the store" a "preposition phrase" and not a "prepositional phrase"? Are they the same?

Again, many, many thanks for your kind help.

Paolo

Answer
Dear Paolo:

According to my books, "As stubborn as a mule" is an idiom or an idomatic (quaint) expression or phrase. Also, "to knock on wood (to touch wood)," "to paint the town red," and so on are all idioms or idiomatic expressions/phrases.

I always ask you about the difference between an "espression" and a "phrase" because, sometimes, an expression is also a phrase, and vice versa.

By the way, is it "to ask someone something" or "to ask someone ABOUT or OF something"? (Which of the two should I have use in the above sentence?)

If both are posssible, do they mean the same thing?

If not, when should I use each of them?

Would you please give me some examples?

*** I like your book's explanation.  MOST idioms are phrases; not all phrases are idioms.

*** I would use either "to ask someone something" or "to ask someone ABOUT something."  There may be very rare instances in which I would use "OF something."

All of them essentially mean the same thing.

EXAMPLES:

I need to ask Jim about tomorrow's assignment.

I need to ask Jim a question.


Finally, why did you call "to the store" a "preposition phrase" and not a "prepositional phrase"? Are they the same?

*** Because I have been working on Allexperts questions for nearly five hours, and my hand was too tired to add the "al."  On the good side, you saw my error and corrected it.  That is a positive thing for you.  But, my careless is inexcusably deficient.

Ted

General Writing and Grammar Help

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Ted Nesbitt

Expertise

I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

Experience

I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

Education/Credentials
B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.