Learn English: 20 Business Idioms You Should Know

Are you thinking outside the box or having an ideas shower? Whether you are learning English for business or work or just for fun you will come across some curious phrases that cannot be translated word for word and, if you do, the meaning is ‘lost in translation’. Phrases like this are called idioms and English is rife with them and nowhere more so than in the world of business. If a project is ‘oven-ready’ it certainly doesn’t mean that you are going to cook it!

Idioms can be confusing but they are also fun to work out and even more fun to use, if you can use them in the right context. In business English these are also known as buzzwords. Some people find these phrases clichéd or overused but, love them or loathe them, it’s important to know them.

Here are 20 key business idioms to help you with your learning of English

Idiom Meaning
To think outside the box To think creatively and without restrictions
Let’s have an ideas shower! Let’s brainstorm our ideas!
To touch base To contact for a short time
To fast track To do something in as little time as possible
A ball-park figure An approximate number or value
A win-win situation A good situation for all
Look at the big picture To see the overall effect or plan
A game plan An overall strategy
Delayering Downsizing (and making redundancies)
To have your ducks in a row To be organised
To cascade information To pass information on down through the ranks
Empowering Encouraging staff to learn    many skills
Going forward Moving on (…..from now on )
To sing from the same hymn sheet All feel and do the same
Low hanging fruit Projects yielding the greatest reward for the least effort or cost
To move the goal posts To change the objectives
A slippery slope The start of a decline
To absorb lessons learnt To learn from the past /mistakes
benchmarking Evaluate by comparison to a standard
A back-up plan or Plan B A second plan if the first does not work

Hopefully this has been useful for you in your efforts to use and understand English for business.

Good luck and watch out for more blogs with phrases and expressions to help you out!

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