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  1. #1
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    Question Idioms--"on his heels,"/"nothing but ordinary"

    I know when you say "someone is on his toes " we mean he is alert or expectant. Is the idiom "he is on his heels" a correct expression of the same idea? Isn't it the opposite? Someone on his toes is alert, while someone on his heels is "digging in"? The main editorial piece of a Filipino newspaper in English in California read: "Every Filipino is on his heels as the whole country awaits President Arroyo to deliver her State of the Nation address on Monday."
    The same editorial said : "The political situation in the past months has been nothing but ordinary." Isn't the correct way to say this--"anything but ordinary", or "nothing if not ordinary?" What should be the correct way to say what the writer means which is that the matter is not ordinary, using
    "nothing" or "anything"?
    Thanks.
    Last edited by enriqueangeles; 24-Jul-2007 at 19:06. Reason: I want to edit Title

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Idioms--"on his heels,"/"nothing but ordinary"

    hi how do y do ?
    can i ask y what get to ...the gritty mean?
    thax in advance

  3. #3
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    Default "Get to the nitty gritty"

    Hi Omama,
    "Get to the nitty gritty" means to proceed to the matter that's really important or to the business that needs to be done, like "Let's stop fooling around and get down to the nitty gritty."
    enrique

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Idioms--"on his heels,"/"nothing but ordinary"

    Omama,
    "Get to the nitty gritty" means to proceed to the matter that's really important or to the business that needs to be done, like "Let's stop fooling around and get down to the nitty gritty," similar to "Let's get to the heart of the matter."
    enrique

  5. #5
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: Idioms--"on his heels,"/"nothing but ordinary"

    I think the article has been written by someone whose grasp of English is slightly shaky. There is no idiom containing "heels" implying that someone is on tenterhooks waiting for something to happen - I think they meant to say "on their toes".

    As to your second point, both your alternatives would be correct.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Idioms--"on his heels,"/"nothing but ordinary"

    hi thanx alot mr.enriqueangeles sorry my langause not very good

  7. #7
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    Default Hot on his heels...

    There is the expression 'hot on someone's heels' meaning chasing close after someone - but that wouldn't make sense in this case either.
    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    I think the article has been written by someone whose grasp of English is slightly shaky. There is no idiom containing "heels" implying that someone is on tenterhooks waiting for something to happen - I think they meant to say "on their toes".
    I don't know. I can't recall ever having heard one as such but if you were to use it I would automatically assume that it meant 'digging in', or 'on the defensive'...

    And interestingly... this article seems to think so too. A new idiom in the coining The older version 'digging in your heels' seems adequate though...!

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