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Sound Like a Native English Speaker: 12 Key Business Idioms

Mastering a new language in a professional setting is no easy task. Between learning complicated grammar, expanding your vocabulary, and learning how to produce the precise sounds of the language, there is a lot on any second language learner’s plate. But there is one key to sounding like a native speaker that often falls by the wayside: idioms or figures of speech.

Idioms are used more often than most people realize in day-to-day speech. If you’re a native English speaker, you probably don’t even notice when an idiom slips into a sentence. But for a non-native English speaker, idioms can make it difficult to understand a speaker’s message. Learning what basic idioms mean in advance can make following the flow of a conversation in the workplace much easier. In addition, adding in the occasional idiom to your own speech can make it much more colorful, fluent, and native-like.

Below are a list of twelve idioms that are commonly used in professional settings. Take a look, and then see how many you hear around the workplace in the near future!

  1. To go back to the drawing board: When an attempt fails and it’s time to start all over.
  1. The ball is in your court: It is up to you to make the next decision or step
  1. Beat around the bush: Avoiding the main topic. Not speaking directly about the issue.
  1. Bite off more than you can chew: To take on a task that is way too big.
  1. Burn the midnight oil: To work late into the night.
  1. Cross that bridge when you come to it: Deal with a problem if and when it becomes necessary, not before.
  1. Cut corners: When something is done badly to save money.
  1. To play devil’s advocate: To present a counter argument, even if you don’t necessarily believe it
  1. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket: Do not put all your resources in one possibility.
  1. A far cry from: Very different from.
  1. Hit the nail on the head: Do or say something exactly right
  1. Kill two birds with one stone: To accomplish two different things at the same time.

Do you want to take your communication to the next level? Give us a call and see how Corporate Speech Solutions can improve your professional life! Call us at 212-308-7725 or send us an e-mail at info@corporatespeechsolutions.com to learn more. I’d be more than happy to answer any questions you might have!

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