General Writing and Grammar Help/Keep something straight

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Question
Dear Ted:

What does "to keep something straight" mean?

Would you please give me some examples of how to use the above phrase correctly?

Also, is it possible "to keep SOMEONE straight"?

Many, many thanks for your kind help.

Paolo

Answer
Dear Paolo:

What does "to keep something straight" mean?

Would you please give me some examples of how to use the above phrase correctly?

*** The phrase means that two people will be honest with each other.  [Of course, it can also mean that one person will be honest with other PEOPLE.]

Jim says to his roommate:  "John, we are sharing this room and we need to have some rules.  I have made up a list of items that we should KEEP STRAIGHT between us."

Mary says to her two closest friends:  "I have a secret that I must share with you, BUT you must promise to KEEP IT STRAIGHT among the three of us."

Also, is it possible "to keep SOMEONE straight"?

*** Yes, but in this sense, the phrase usually means that you keep the "someone" from drinking and/or using drugs.  John has been straight for six months.

Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

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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.

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

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

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