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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.

Nov 28 2016

Business English Expressions and Idioms – Talking about Scheduling

Business English Lessons in Houston
Business Expressions and Idioms – Talking about Scheduling.

Hi Students,
Here are some examples of idioms and expressions that you will sometimes hear when your colleagues are talking about scheduling.

schedules-3
1. Ahead of schedule– doing something faster than expected
Example: The engineering department is ahead of schedule on the drawings for the new bridge. They will probably finish earlier than we expected.

2. Behind schedule – doing something slower than expected.
Example: FedEx is rarely behind schedule on its deliveries. They are almost always on time.
3. Crunch time – When there is not very much time left to get something done.
Example: It’s crunch time! The financial analysis for the project in the Permian Basin is due tomorrow. We should hurry!

 

4. Down to the wire – To complete work just before something is due
Example: In order to finish the model on time, we will need to work down to the wire. We will all work late tonight. The project is due tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m.  schedules-2

5. Fast track – to try and finish something quickly

Example: The client wants this completed by next Friday. We will have to fast track the project to get it done on time.

6. Mess around – waste time
Example: We are behind schedule on the Janus project. We need to quit messing around and get back to work!

schedules-4

7. Get up to speed – to learn the latest information about something

Example: Mr. Chu, please bring us up to speed on the project for Berkshire-Hathaway.

8. Working against the clock – to try to do something in a short amount of time
Example: In order to fill these orders for Walmart by December 1st, we will be working against the clock to get it done.

9. 24/7 – to do something 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Example: In order to complete the project, everyone is working 24/7 to get it done on time.

schedules-1
10. Cutting it close– to complete something with not enough time
Example: Jerry has to deliver the contract to before 5:00 p.m. today. He will be cutting it close and I’m not sure he can do it.

 

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.

Business English Lessons

Oct 09 2016

Private English Lessons in Houston – Business Idioms and Expressions for Financial Issues

 

Hi Students,

Here are some examples of idioms and expressions that you will sometimes hear when people are talking about financial issues.

  1. Ballpark figure – a guess about how much something will cost that could be more or less, but will be close.

Examples:  Anadarko Petroleum Company is asking its financial department for a ballpark figure of what it would cost to build a new refinery in Algeria.

A Ballpark Figure

A Ballpark Figure

  1. Crunch the numbers – to perform financial calculations

Example:  Devon Energy is planning to invest in new equipment for off-shore drilling.  The Vice-President has asked the Financial Department to crunch the numbers so that they can include the equipment in their 2017 budget.

 

 

 

 

  1. In the red – when expenses are higher than company revenues

Example:  For the past six months, our expenses have been higher than our income and now the company is in the red.

 

  1. In the black – when revenues are higher than expenses

 

Example:  Our first quarter sales were great!  We will be in the black for all of 2016.

In the Black

In the Black

 

  1. Break-even – when revenue equals expenses; a company doesn’t lose money and doesn’t make money.

 

Example:   When Ben and Jerry first began their ice cream company, they broke even for the first two years.

 

  1. A Pretty penny – a high price

Example:  The new warehouse purchased last year close to the ship channel cost the Hess Corporation a pretty penny.

Nickel and dime

Nickel and dime

  1. Nickel and dime someone – making a company pay for small expenses

 

Example:  I don’t think we should sign the contract to do business with our client.  They are nickel and diming us over every small detail.  We won’t make any money from this deal.

 

  1. Break one’s budget – to cost more than one can afford to pay

Example:  The cost of investing in Peru at this time will break our budget.  We will have to wait until 2018.

 

  1. To get more bang for the buck – more return on one’s money, more value for an investment

Example:  If we use the vendor from Norway, we will get more bang for our buck.

  1. Back -of-the-envelope calculations – approximate calculations done quickly
    Back of the envelope calculations

    Back of the envelope calculations

Example:  Based on back-of-the-envelope calculations, Royal Dutch Shell should be able to build four new off-shore drilling rigs in 2018.

 

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.

Business English Lessons

Copyright©2012 by The Worldwide English Company.  All rights reserved.

Mar 27 2016

English Lessons Houston -American Idioms using Similes

American Idioms

Idioms using Similes – Lesson 5

 

Hello Students!

In today’s lesson, we will learn more about idioms. Americans use lots of idioms, especially in movies and at the office.  The more you use and understand them, the greater your English speaking skills will be.  You will “fit right in”!

Today, we are looking at American idioms that use similes.

What is a simile?  A simile compares two things that are not alike.

They contain the words, “as…….as a/an ……” or  “like”.

Most similes are idioms. They are used to emphasize something.  (very tired, very hungry, very busy, etc.)

Here are some examples of American idioms from similes.

simile 6as hungry as a bear”very hungry

After running three miles in the park, President Obama was as hungry as a bear.

 “eats like a horse” – eats a lot

For lunch, President Obama ate two plates of spaghetti, three pieces of bread and two bowls of ice cream.  He ate like a horse!

 

 


“as sick as a dog” – to be very sick Similes 5

After eating all that food, President Obama was as sick as a dog!

 “as fit as a fiddle”- to be fine, to be healthy

So he took a nap after lunch, and after that, he was as fit as a fiddle.

similes 4as busy as a bee” – very busy

In fact, he worked in the Oval Office until 7:00 p.m.  He was as busy as a bee.

 

 

as cool as a cucumber” – to be very calm, to think and speak calmly

The President made some very important decisions, but he was as cool as a cucumber.

as fresh as a daisy” – very rested, wide awake and alert  simile 7

After a good night’s sleep, the President woke up at 5:00 a.m. as fresh as a daisy.

 

 

as regular as clockwork” – to do something at the same time every day, or to be on the same schedule

He had breakfast at 7:00 a.m. and went to the Oval Office at 8:00 a.m., as regular as clockwork.

Here are a few others:

  • as big as house,
  • as stubborn as a mule
  • as weak as a kitten
  • as high as a kite
  • as free as a bird

 

Similes 1

That’s our lesson on Idioms from Similes!  I hope you don’t have to work like a dog this week!

If you are in Houston, Texas please call us for private English lessons.  For more information, visit http://www.englishlessons-houston.com or write to julie@englishlessons-houston.com

Copyright©2016 by The Worldwide English Company.  All rights reserved.

Business English Lessons

English Lessons Houston