Tag Archives: idioms

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.

 

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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.

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20 English Phrasal Verbs with RUN (Infographic)

20 English Phrasal Verbs with RUN (Infographic)

Improve your English vocabulary by learning and using these 20 English phrasal verbs with RUN:

20 English Phrasal Verbs with RUN (Infographic)

20 English Phrasal Verbs with RUN (Infographic)

20 English Phrasal Verbs with RUN:

run about – run during play
run across – discover
run after – chase
run away – flee
run down – list
run somebody down – criticise
run into somebody – meet accidentally
run into something – encounter a problem
run off – print copies
run off with somebody – elope
run on – keep running
run on – be powered by
run out (of) – have none left
run out on – abandon
run over – hit with a vehicle
run something past somebody – check
run through something – preview
run to – reach a certain amount
run up (a bill) – spend a lot
run with something – accept and support

Image: https://pixabay.com

12 English Idioms about Climate Change

Here are 12 English idioms about climate change for you to discuss with your class

12 English Idioms about Climate Change

  1. a life-and-death situation
  2. to not be able to get your head around sth (something)
  3. to be getting out of hand
  4. to see with your own eyes
  5. to be running out of time
  6. to be between a rock and a hard place
  7. to make sth up
  8. to be a drop in the ocean
  9. to be a lot of hot air (about nothing)
  10. to be a storm in a teacup
  11. to be not bothered about sth
  12. to be (a bit) over the top / OTT

Listen to Matt discuss these idioms in this free Facebook Live English class:

Image: Thomas Millot

10 English Idioms with Mind - Free Live Class

10 English Idioms with Mind

From make up your mind to out of sight is out of mind, there are lots of English idioms with the word ‘mind’.

We will explore ten of them in a free Facebook Live class tonight (12.09.18). Click the link below to sign up for this free class:

https://www.facebook.com/events/491680741347229/

Here is the presentation that we will use during the class:

Class recording:

FREE VIDEO! 25 Idioms in English to Sound Like a Native

FREE VIDEO! 25 Idioms in English to Sound Like a Native

Watch this fabulous video from linguamarina to learn 25 really useful idioms in English, like:

  • best of both worlds
  • blessing in disguise
  • can’t judge a book by its cover
  • in the heat of the moment

…and many more!

You can find more from Marina on:

20 Great Football Idioms in English to discuss the World Cup!

20 Great Football Idioms in English to Discuss the World Cup!

 

via GIPHY

Harry Kane, England (2018)

Match the football idioms below with their literal meanings:

IDIOMS –

1. the Beautiful Game
2. it’s a funny old game
3. to be a game of two halves
4. a potential banana skin
5. to be honest
6. to play the ball, not the man
7. to be over the moon
8. to be as sick as a parrot
9. to be on a winning streak
10. at the end of the day
11. to go down to the wire
12. to be a big ask
13. to be held to a draw
14. by the skin of your teeth
15. to be a two-horse race
16. to play your heart out
17. to give 110%
18. to be strong on paper
19. to throw in the towel
20. back of the net!

via GIPHY

Bobby Moore, England (1966)

LITERAL MEANINGS –

a) to feel very disappointed
b) to be a competition between two teams or groups only
c) fantastic!
d) to win several times in a row
e) more can happen later
f) the outcome is decided at the last moment
g) to be forced to end a competition with equal points
h) to quit
i) don’t make contact with another player
j) unpredictable things can happen
k) narrowly; only just
l) football
m) to compete with a lot of passion
n) to be a good idea in theory
o) in my opinion
p) an opportunity for something to go wrong
q) ultimately
r) to try as hard as you possibly can
s) to feel very happy
t) to be a difficult thing to ask somebody to do

via GIPHY

Taken from Talk a Lot Intermediate Book 1, which you can download for FREE here.

Answers:

1. l)
2. j)
3. e)
4. p)
5. o)
6. i)
7. s)
8. a)
9. d)
10. q)
11. f)
12. t)
13. g)
14. k)
15. b)
16. m)
17. r)
18. n)
19. h)
20. c)

via GIPHY

9 Essential Political Idioms in American English

9 Essential Political Idioms in American English

Guest post by Jennifer Renart from Next Step English.

If YOU would like to write a guest post on PurlandTraining.com, please do get in touch!

When students ask me about how to improve their English, one of the things I always recommend is watching the news in English. And you can’t watch the news without running into some common political idioms. Do you know what a spin doctor is? How about a fishing expedition? Keep reading to learn 9 essential idioms about politics in American English, complete with FREE infographic!

Political Idiom 1: Strange Bedfellows

When we say that two people, organizations, etc. make strange bedfellows, we mean that they form an unusual or unexpected political alliance. A sort of political odd couple.

via GIPHY

In the United States, the two main political parties are the Republicans and the Democrats. They are usually adversaries (= they usually oppose or compete with each other), so if a Republican and a Democrat worked together on an issue, we would say that they were strange bedfellows.

Example sentence: Did you hear that Randy Republican and Dorothy Democrat are working together on this new immigration bill? Talk about strange bedfellows!

Political Idiom 2: Lame Duck

This is a political idiom that you often hear after an election. A lame duck is a politician or a government that doesn’t have much real power because their period in office will end soon and their successor has already been elected. We most often use this idiom to talk about the US President, although it can apply to other politicians, too.

Presidential elections in the US take place in early November, but the newly elected president doesn’t start his term until January. The previous president is considered a lame duck from election day until the new president starts. Everyone knows they’re on their way out, so it’s difficult for them to get much accomplished. 

Example sentence: He was hoping to accomplish more during his last days in office, but he’d overestimated how much he could get done as a lame duck.

Political Idiom 3: Spin Doctor

When you spin something, you present information in a particular way, especially one that makes your ideas seem good or your opponents’ ideas seem bad.

So, what’s a spin doctor?

A spin doctor is someone who spins for a living! A spin doctor is someone whose job it is to present information to the public about a politician, an organization, etc. in the way that seems the most positive.

All US presidents have spin doctors. In current American politics, Kellyanne Conway is often referred to as President Trump’s spin doctor.

Example sentence: I’m not interested in the soliloquizing of spin doctors. What are the facts? The plain facts?

(Soliloquize = (usually disapproving) to give a speech about your thoughts, as if you were a character in a play speaking directly to the audience, instead of engaging in a conversation.)

Political Idiom 4: Politically Correct

You probably know that PC can refer to your desktop computer, but did you know that it has a political meaning, too? PC is a short way of saying ‘politically correct’.

If speech or behaviour is politically correct, it makes a deliberate effort not to offend a particular group (or groups) of people.

Political correctness is a hotly debated issue in the United States. On the one hand, it’s obviously wrong to make fun of the disabled or use racial slurs. On the other hand, some people become so worried about being politically correct that they worry that filling their eyebrows might be cultural appropriation. And my sister’s friend actually told her that it was offensive for her to practice yoga because she has European ancestry, not Asian ancestry. (In case you’re wondering, my sister has not quit yoga.)

In the United States, we have people who hate political correctness so much that they behave in offensive ways on purpose. And we have people who are so politically correct that they’re just obnoxious. Luckily, most people live somewhere in the middle.

Is political correctness an issue in your country? Tell us in the comments below!

Political Idiom 5: October Surprise

This American political idiom specifically refers to elections. So, what is an October surprise?

An October surprise is any news event orchestrated or damaging information released in the month before an election, deliberately timed in the hopes of affecting the outcome of the election.

Example sentence: Things look good now, but we need to be prepared for an October surprise. Anything can happen in the final days before an election!

Political Idiom 6: Witch Hunt

These days, you can’t escape this political idiom in American news. It seems to be everywhere on Twitter and other social media!

So what is a witch hunt? A witch hunt is a politically motivated, often vindictive investigation that feeds on public fears.

This popular idiom comes from a dark period in European and American history when people believed that witches were the cause of bad things happening in society. People began accusing members of their communities of witchcraft, and many of those people were executed on the basis of irrational evidence.

This idiom became popular in American politics during the McCarthy Era, when hundreds of Americans were aggressively investigated for potentially being Communists.

Example sentence: No reasonable person could think this investigation was actually after truth or justice. It’s a total witch hunt. 

Related: Are you hungry for more idioms? Check out our latest idioms here!

Political Idiom 7: (To Commit) Political Suicide

Committing political suicide means doing something unpopular that will likely lead to the end of your career as a politician.

Example sentence: I know you think these activists are idiots, but you can’t say that publicly. It’s political suicide!

Political Idiom 8: Fishing Expedition

When you go fishing, you dip your line into the water and hope that something bites. You might not catch a fish right away, but if you keep at it, you know that you’ll probably catch something eventually.

So, what is a fishing expedition? It’s a political and legal idiom that we use to describe an investigation carried out without any clearly defined plan or purpose, in the hope of discovering useful negative information about someone.

Example sentence: These document requests can’t possibly lead to the discovery of relevant information! You’re on a fishing expedition, and I think the judge will agree with me!

Political Idiom 9: Red Tape

I saved the best for last!

Have you ever been frustrated by endless paperwork when you need to do something with the government? Then you have been a victim of red tape!

Red tape refers to official rules that seem more complicated than necessary and prevent things from being done quickly.

This is something that I personally love to complain about. Curse you, red tape!

via GIPHY

…which is why, of course, I love the girl described in Cake’s ‘Short Skirt, Long Jacket’! (Jump to 1:32.)

I want a girl who gets up early.

I want a girl who stays up late.

I want a girl with uninterrupted prosperity,

Who uses a machete to cut through red tape!

Example sentence: You want us to start construction next week? Think again, buddy! We’ve got at least 6 months of red tape to get through first, and that’s if we’re lucky.

Political Idioms Infographic

I hope you enjoyed learning these popular political idioms. Here’s an infographic to help you remember them! Check out more great infographics for learning English here!9 Essential Political Idioms in American English


Jennifer from Next Step English

Jennifer Renart from Next Step English

Jennifer founded Next Step English so she could help advanced English learners master the vocabulary that native speakers don’t expect them to know. Vocabulary that will make native speakers think, ‘Wow! You really know English!’

In her free time, she loves hiking, playing Bananagrams, and binge-watching British murder mysteries.

You can check out her website, or interact with her on Twitter, Pinterest, or YouTube.

‘Happy learning, English nerds!’ 👊🤓