Wahyudi English

an ordinary guy with an ordinary life

Business English Expressions (I)

Posted by Wahyudi English on March 26, 2008

1. 800 pound gorilla – the biggest, most powerful group or company
Example: “If we follow our plan to make this new software, we’re going to have a lot of competition, including from the 800 pound gorilla, Microsoft.”

2. (a rising tide that) lifts all boats – something that helps all people or all groups
Example: “We’re only number three, but the current economic growth will lift all boats, so we’re sure to make a profit this year.”

3. an old hand – a person who has long experience, especially in one place
Example: “He can help us set up a company in Beijing. He’s been working in China for many years and speaks Chinese fluently. He’s an old China hand.”

4. at the 11th hour – very late, at the very last minute
Example: ” .”

5. on a shoestring – with limited money
Example: “They started their company on a shoestring and built it up to one of the largest companies in the world!”

6. bring to the table – whatever you can possibly offer
Example: “I will meet with Teacher Joe’s new company to show him what we can bring to the table.”

7. carve out a niche – find a special market that you can control
Example: “To succeed in this competitive world, you have to focus on part of it. Try to carve out a niche and be number one in that are.”

8. deep pockets – have a lot of money
Example: “If there is a price war, we won’t win because we don’t have deep enough pockets.”

9. down time – when equipment of facilities are not available, so you cannot work
Example: “There will probably be a lot of down time at the conference, so I’m bringing a lot of paperwork.”

10. (draw) a line in the sand – make final conditions that cannot be changed
Example: “We have to draw a line in the sand so they will see that this is really our final offer.”

11. free ride – get benefit at no cost
Example: “Of course we should make them pay for our travel expenses. WHy should we give them a free ride?”

12. from day one – from the beginning
Example: “Teacher Joe has been providing the best English-learning web site from day one!”

13. get your foot in the door – have a small opportunity that can become a big opportunity in the future, if you do good work
Example: “Right now, I just want to get my foot in the door, so they can see what I can do. Next year I hope to start moving up in the company.”

14. I need it yesterday – an informal way to say it is needed immediately
Example: “Can I send that report to you later this afternoon?”
“No! I need that report yesterday!”

15. a two-way street – both people or both groups can contribute or benefit from the situation
Example: “We want to help you, but we need your help too. It should be a two-way street.”

16. it will never fly – it won’t be successful
Example: “We don’t have to worry about their idea competing with ours. It will never fly.”

17. it’s a jungle out there – it’s a difficult market with many, tough competitors
Example: “Do you think a new company can survise without a unique product? It’s a real jungle out there!”

18. jump through hoops – trying very hard (like a dog doing tricks!)
Example: “He’s a tough boss. All of his subordinates have to jump through hoops to prove their loyalty to the company.”

19. put your cards on the table – be completely honest
Example: “I think it’s time to put all of our cards on the table. Here’s what we need…”

20. learning curve – how much time needed to learn something new
Example: “This new software has a long learning curve, so we have to give our staff enough time to learn how to use it well.”


20 Useful Idioms from http://www.teacherjoe.us!


One Response to “Business English Expressions (I)”

  1. nengratna said

    nice article, teacher…. 🙂 thanks a lot.

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