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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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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!

 

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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