Category Archives: Use of English

15 Top Business English Idioms

15 Top Business English Idioms

15 Top Business English Idioms

Are you up to speed with the latest business English idioms? Here are some of the top English idioms that you could use in a business context. How many of them do you know?

Let’s get the ball rolling!


More English idioms – 15 Fantastically Fishy English Idioms!


1. To get something off the ground = To begin or launch something

To get something off the ground = To begin or launch something

  • I can’t wait to get this project off the ground!
  • I can’t wait to begin this project!

2. To get the ball rolling = To start, e.g. a meeting or debate

To get the ball rolling = To start, e.g. a meeting or debate

  • Let’s get the ball rolling.
  • Let’s start.

3. To think outside the box = To think in an original or left-field / lateral way

To think outside the box = To think in an original or left-field / lateral way

  • Try to think outside the box.
  • Try to think in an original or unique way.

4. In a nutshell = In short

In a nutshell = In short

  • In a nutshell, I just don’t feel that Martin is right for the position.
  • In short, I just don’t feel that Martin is right for the position.

5. ASAP = As soon as possible (acronym)

ASAP = As soon as possible (acronym)

  • I need that report ASAP!
  • I need that report as soon as possible.

6. To stand your ground = To have complete confidence in your position or idea

To stand your ground = To have complete confidence in your position or idea

  • If we stand our ground, they will sign the contract!
  • If we stick to our position, they will sign the contract!

7. The bottom line = The most important thing / the main priority

The bottom line = The most important thing / the main priority

  • ‘What’s the bottom line?’ ‘We must send the orders today!’
  • ‘What’s the most important thing?’ ‘We must send the orders today!’

8. The elephant in the room = The uncomfortable truth that nobody wants to acknowledge

The elephant in the room = The uncomfortable truth that nobody wants to acknowledge

  • The elephant in the room is that we know their sales forecasts!
  • The thing that nobody wants to mention is that we know their sales forecasts!

9. To corner the market = To become the leading seller of a product

To corner the market = To become the leading seller of a product

  • Since 2012 we have been able to corner the market in toothbrush holders.
  • Since 2012 we have been able to become the leading seller of toothbrush holders.

10. To climb the corporate ladder = To be focused on gaining promotion within a company

To climb the corporate ladder = To be focused on gaining promotion within a company

  • John only cares about climbing the corporate ladder.
  • John only cares about trying to get promoted.

11. To hit the glass ceiling = To reach an artificial  limit of promotion, usually due to race, or gender

To hit the glass ceiling = To reach an artificial limit of promotion, usually due to race, or gender

  • Alison feels she has hit the glass ceiling at work.
  • Alison feels she can’t be promoted at work any further, because she is a woman.

12. To be in the red = To be in debt / To be in the black = To be in profit or solvent

To be in the red = To be in debt / To be in the black = To be in profit or solvent

  • No, the company is still in the red, but it could be in the black next month.
  • No, the company is still in debt, but it could be in profit next month.

13. To get the sack = To lose your job

To get the sack = To lose your job

  • Billy got the sack yesterday.
  • Billy lost his job yesterday.

14. To throw in the towel = To quit

To throw in the towel = To quit

  • I’m just about ready to throw in the towel!
  • I’m just about ready to quit!

15. To go / get back to the drawing board = To start again

To go / get back to the drawing board = To start again

  • OK, let’s go back to the drawing board.
  • OK, let’s start again.

 

Meme maker: http://www.imagechef.com/meme-maker

Images: https://pixabay.com

ESOL Discussion Questions about Cars

ESOL Discussion Questions about Cars

ESOL Discussion Questions about Cars

1. Do you drive? What kind of car do you drive? How often do you drive?

2. How did you learn to drive? How many lessons did you have? What was the name of your teacher? Describe them. Did anything funny, or dangerous, happen to you while you were learning to drive?

3. Have you ever suffered from road rage? Do any of your friends or family suffer from it? What do you / they do? How do you feel about it? How can we avoid road rage? What kind of road users do you dislike? Why?

4. How well do you know the Highway Code, or the rules of the road in your country? Tell me… a) three things that you must do whilst driving, b) three things that you mustn’t do whilst driving, c) describe three different road signs, and tell me what they mean.

5. Describe your car (or a friend’s car) inside and out. Tell me your history with it. Where did you get it from? Why did you buy it? How many miles/km have you done in it? What is the furthest you have travelled in it? Imagine that you wanted to sell it. How would you advertise it?

6. What other vehicles can you drive? What would you like to learn to drive?

7. Do you wear a seatbelt? Why? / Why not? Is it compulsory in your country?

8. What is the future for drivers? Will we all still be driving cars in 30 years’ time? Will we still be using petrol and gas? If not, how will we get around?

9. Extra time: label the parts of a car:

Label the parts of a car

ESOL Discussion Questions about Cars

ESOL Discussion Questions about Cars

Images: https://pixabay.com

Reading Comprehension – How Much Money Do They Have?

Reading Comprehension – How Much Money Do They Have?

Reading Comprehension – How Much Money Do They Have?

Use only the following information to find the answers:

Tim has £3.47.
He gives £2 to
John, who already had £10.75.
Tim’s sister,
Clare, takes £20 out of the bank and gives half to Lisa.
Lisa spends £4.99 on a t-shirt and gives the rest back to Clare, who then lends £2.50
to
Jalal.
Jalal owes a pound to
his brother, so he gives him three quarters of that.
John gives £5.58 to
Keith, who needs it because he owes a fiver to Kathy.
She puts it with the 68p that she already has in her pocket, then withdraws £60 from
a cashpoint and gives a quarter of that to
Laurie, who spends a third and shares the
rest equally between her cousins, Jalal and
Ruby.

How much money does each person have now?

1. Tim has ________________________________________
2. John has ________________________________________
3. Clare has ________________________________________
4. Lisa has ________________________________________
5. Jalal has ________________________________________
6. Jalal’s brother has ________________________________________
7. Keith has ________________________________________
8. Kathy has ________________________________________
9. Laurie has ________________________________________
10. Ruby has ________________________________________

Answers:

1. Tim has £1.47. 2. John has £7.17. 3. Clare has £12.51. 4. Lisa doesn’t have any
money. 5. Jalal has £6.75. 6. Jalal’s brother has 75p. 7. Keith has 58p. 8. Kathy has
£50.68. 9. Laurie doesn’t have any money. 10. Ruby has £5.

Get this and more great printable worksheets in the FREE Big Activity Book – download it here!

Image: https://pixabay.com

15 Fantastically Fishy English Idioms!

15 Fantastically Fishy English Idioms!

Do you like fish? Do you like English idioms? Yes? Then you’re going to love this fun fishy feature, which focuses on fifteen fab English idioms about our fantastic fishy friends!

  1. He’s a big fish in a small pond. = He has power and influence, but only in a limited area.

He's a big fish in a small pond.

2. He’s a cold fish. = He’s an unemotional person.

He's a cold fish.

3. I think she was fishing for a compliment. = I think she was trying to get a compliment.

I think she was fishing for a compliment.

4. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel. = It’s very easy.

It's like shooting fish in a barrel.

5. Hmm, something smells fishy. = Something seems suspicious.

Hmm, something smells fishy.

6. I’ve got bigger fish to fry. = I’ve got more important things to do.

I've got bigger fish to fry.

7. Her dad drinks like a fish. = Her dad drinks a lot [of alcohol].

Her dad drinks like a fish.

8. I felt a bit green around the gills. = I felt sick.

I felt a bit green around the gills.

9. They fell for that joke hook, line, and sinker! = They fell for that joke – completely.

They fell for that joke hook, line, and sinker!

10. That’s a different kettle of fish. = That’s a different matter.

That's a different kettle of fish.

11. There are plenty more fish in the sea. = You will find another person to love.

There are plenty more fish in the sea.

12. Your grandma is an odd fish, isn’t she? = Your grandma is strange, isn’t she?

Your grandma is an odd fish, isn't she?

13. What’s that got to do with the price of fish? = What’s that got to do with anything?

What's that got to do with the price of fish?

14. The train was so busy! We were packed in like sardines! = The train was so busy! The passengers had to stand very close together.

The train was so busy! We were packed in like sardines!

15. I felt like a fish out of water. = I felt uncomfortable and out of place.

I felt like a fish out of water.

Meme maker: https://www.kapwing.com/meme-maker

Images: https://pixabay.com

FREE Discussion Worksheet: Proverbs – Advice for Life 1

FREE Discussion Worksheet: Proverbs – Advice for Life 1

Have you got a problem? Something weighing you down? Have you tried looking in the book of Proverbs in the Bible for an answer?

Read the different problems below and match each one to advice given in a verse from Proverbs. Check any new vocabulary. Write out each verse in your notebook, then discuss each situation with a partner or small group. What would you do in each situation? How helpful do you think the advice from Proverbs would be today?

Direct download: https://purlandtraining.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Q-proverbs-advice-for-life-1.pdf

FREE Discussion Worksheet: Proverbs – Advice for Life 1

Answers:

1. Proverbs 27:1
2. Proverbs 10:9
3. Proverbs 16:18
4. Proverbs 15:16
5. Proverbs 31:30
6. Proverbs 16:3
7. Proverbs 10:12
8. Proverbs 22:6
9. Proverbs 12:11
10. Proverbs 15:1

Image: Joseph Chan

Try the New Learning App from Context: Learn Words by Reading

Try the New Learning App from Context: Learn Words by Reading

Try the New Learning App from Context: Learn Words by Reading

Try the New Learning App from Context: Learn Words by Reading

Introducing Context, the learning app that improves your vocabulary through the daily habit of reading.

Each day, Context sends you a personalised digest of news articles and alerts that teach you interesting words. Throw out your flashcards and start learning by reading!

With Context you can:

– Discover new words you don’t know
– Test your knowledge with vocabulary quizzes for articles you read
– Subscribe to news alerts for words that you’re learning
– Browse hundreds of curated words to reach your study goals
– Track your progress and level up your profile
– Focus on the words that really matter

From students to life long learners, Context is the perfect daily solution for learning words.

Download it from the App Store now, or find out more here:

Twitter: @ContextLearning

Website: https://contextlearning.app/

Idiom of the day - What am I like?

Idiom of the day – What am I like?

Idiom of the day – What am I like?

The English idiom ‘What am I like?’ is a rhetorical question (one we don’t need anybody to answer) that we ask ourselves out loud when we do something a little bit silly – usually in a public place. It has the same sort of meaning as when Homer says ‘Doh!’ in The Simpsons.

For example, at the supermarket you have paid and you’re walking away from the checkout, when the customer behind you calls you back and tells you that you’ve left a potato on the bagging area. You hurry back and collect your errant potato. To cover your embarrassment you say quickly, ‘Oh, thank you! Thanks. What am I like?’ The other customer smiles, but there is no need for them to reply. For example, we wouldn’t hear an exchange like this:

A – Hey! Excuse me! You’ve forgotten a potato.

B – What? Oh no! Thank you. Thanks so much. Oh, what am I like?

A – Well, it seems that you are rather forgetful, careless, and possibly living in a world of your own.

B – Er, thanks again.

We say ‘What am I like?’ in situations where we potentially look silly or odd in a public place. It puts a voice to our feeling of foolishness and awkwardness, and acknowledges publicly that we have done something ‘unusual’ and that we know about it – we are aware of it. To say nothing would be to create an unreal situation where there is an elephant in the room – an unacknowledged error or problem. This would be very uncomfortable for the typical English person, who tries to avoid awkward public situations. Making a joke about it – and making ourselves the butt of the joke – lightens the mood and takes the heat off – making it seem less awkward.

The typical English response to ‘What am I like?’ would be to smile and perhaps say ‘No problem’ or ‘Yes, I’m always doing that too!’ (showing empathy) if you are feeling more friendly. In any case, phatic (non-essential) communication – also called ‘small talk’ –  eases the awks!

Note: this is not an investigation into your true nature: ‘What am I like?’ It’s unlikely we would ever need to ask this question about ourselves, unless we had lost our memory, or we were particularly vain and wanted to hear people eulogising us! In our version, we put more stress on ‘like’ and the intonation is downward at the end, rather than up, as in a normal question.

Other times when you could say ‘What am I like?’:

  • You get to work and realise you haven’t brought your lunch box
  • The waiter gives you the bill and you realise that you’ve forgotten your wallet – oops
  • In the supermarket you try to get a bag of flour down from a high shelf but it lands on the floor, making a huge mess
  • You are rushing to prepare dinner and you drop your favourite blue dinner plate, smashing it on the floor
  • You get home and realise that you have left the TV on all day by mistake

See if you can use this idiom in your daily life today! Leave a comment to tell us how you used it!

Image: chuttersnap

Free Interactive Worksheets! Test Your Reading Skills

Free Interactive Worksheets! Test Your Reading Skills

These free printable worksheets are taken from Purland Power Pack, which is a folder containing 2,000+ free PDF resources for teaching and learning English. You can download it here now.

Any Answers 1

Direct download: https://purlandtraining.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/any-answers-1-interactive-worksheet-ir1.pdf

any-answers-1-interactive-worksheet-ir1

Any Answers 2

Direct download: https://purlandtraining.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/any-answers-2-interactive-worksheet-ir2.pdf

any-answers-2-interactive-worksheet-ir2

Any Answers 3

Direct download: https://purlandtraining.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/any-answers-3-interactive-worksheet-ir3.pdf

any-answers-3-interactive-worksheet-ir3

Any Answers 4

Direct download: https://purlandtraining.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/any-answers-4-interactive-worksheet-ir4.pdf

any-answers-4-interactive-worksheet-ir4