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on earth | the hell

INFORMAL
This page is about the conversational phrase on earth | the hell

Meaning

You can use this to add emphasis to a question, esp. if you're surprised or annnoyed.

For example

  • "Where on earth did you find this? I've been looking for this book for years!"

  • "What the hell were you thinking, coming home at midnight? Your mother was worried sick!"

Note:
"the hell" is much more forceful and aggressive than "in earth"

Quick Quiz

Nick said, "Why on earth did you invite Mary?" He was

a. surprised and delighted

b. delighted and annoyed

c. annoyed and surprised

Contributor: Matt Errey