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Jan 22 2017

Business English Lessons in Houston – Idioms and Expressions to Discuss a Difficult Decision

Hi Students,

Here are some examples of idioms and expressions that you will sometimes hear when people are discussing a difficult decision.

  1. Back and forth on this issue – changing one’s mind about an issue, unable to decide

Example:  We are trying to decide if we should move our factory to China.  We’ve been back and forth on this issue for six months!




  1. Of two minds – conflicted, having two different ideas about an issue

Example:  I need to buy a car, but I’m of two minds about it.  Should I buy a new Lexus for more money, or a used Lexus that won’t last as long?

  1. Test the waters – to try something out before making a commitment to it

Example:  HEB is going to start making its own beer in the store.  We are going to test the waters in three of our stores to see if this product is popular.

Test the Waters












4.  The best of both worlds– a situation that offers two different advantages at the same time

Example:  If our head office moves to New York City from London, we will have the best of both worlds.  We will have the same office hours and will be able to travel there and back in one day!

  1. Weigh the pros and cons– to think about the advantages and disadvantages of a situation

    Weighing the pros and cons

Example:  American Airlines is thinking about changing its health plan.  We are weighing the pros and cons and making a list of the advantages and disadvantages.

  1. Keep our options open – when you wait to make a decision until you know all of the choices you have.

Keep our options open

Example:  So far, four new vendors have given a bid for construction of the new bridge in Amsterdam.  But we are keeping our options open to see who else will make a bid, before we make our final decision.







  1. On the fence– not able to decide about something

Example:  My wife needs to learn English.  But she is on the fence about whether to take classes or private English lessons with a tutor.

On the fence

8.Bite the bullet – to deal with a difficult situation

Example:  We don’t want to close our branch in Paris, but sales have fallen and we must bite the bullet and close in March of next year.

  1. Six of one, half a dozen of the other– both actions will have the same results

Example:  Sales will be the same if we stay in Houston or relocate to Los Angeles.  We think it’s six of one, half a dozen of the other.

  1. Tough call – a difficult decision

Example:  Samsung had to make a tough call and stopped making the Galaxy mobile phone because of the battery.

Students, practice using these idioms and expressions so that you will become more fluent in American English.  Good luck!


If you’re interested in online or in-person classes, give us a call at Worldwide English (713) 953-6511 or visit us online at http://www.englishlessons-houston.com.    We are based in Houston, Texas teaching English worldwide.

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