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Hi,

Can I use these when I need to organise something in my head in order to better understand it?

“I need to straighten out the calculations before the next test.”

“I need to get the calculations straight in my head before the next test.”

“I need to make the calculations clear in my head before the next test.”

Do these work?

Are there any to-go alternatives you can think of?

Thank you.

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Ann225Can I use these when I need to organise something in my head in order to better understand it?

Yes, but the clear winner is the middle one.

Ann225Are there any to-go alternatives you can think of?

No. I think you've already found the most idiomatic one.

CJ

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Thanks a lot. Would the other two also be considered idiomatic?
Ann225 Thanks a lot. Would the other two also be considered idiomatic?

Yes, but in the first something's wrong with the calculations. You have to improve them or fix them in some way. In the others it's your understanding of the calculations that might be the problem, not the calculations themselves.

CJ

Thank you.

One last thing. If I said this:

“I have my first test in statistics tomorrow and I still have no idea what the course’s about, so I need to straighten out the number crunching asap.”

Would it make sense or not?

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Ann225I have my first test in statistics tomorrow, and I still have no idea what the course is about, so I need to straighten out the number crunching asap.

'straighten out the number crunching' is a bit oblique, I'd say. I doubt I'd ever say it. I'd leave out the idea of 'straighten out' and just say I need to do some number crunching, maybe like this:

... no idea what the course is about, so I'd better hop to it and do some number crunching before it's too late.

But that's my own way of talking. You need to find your own personal style. Emotion: smile

CJ

Ok. Thanks. I’d most likely not use it myself, but it was an idea that crossed my mind.

Why did you mark ‘course’s’ as incorrect? I thought that it was possible to shorten ‘is’ and attach it to the word that comes before it provided that the word in question isn’t too long.

We don't usually do the 's for is when it doesn't change the pronunciation.

We do that when the sound of i in is is omitted.

Look busy! The boss is on his way here! (Not boss's because boss's would be pronounced boss is.)

Look busy! The manager's on his way here! (OK. manager's is not pronounced manager is.)

So we don't use 's when the preceding word ends in a sibilant (/s/, /ʃ/, /tʃ/, /z/, /ʒ/, /dʒ/). In other words it's pretty much the same as for forming plurals.

CJ

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