10 Funny, but Necessary Phrases Used in English for Business
English for business has its fair share of serious phrases and vocabulary that individuals looking to gain fluency should know. However, like any language, business English also has some not-so-serious phrases and sayings used to refer to common actions. Although these idioms may sound funny when you first hear them, they are used quite often in the business world.
Not understanding what certain phrases used in Business English mean could put ESL learners at a disadvantage in the workplace, as tasks could then be misunderstood or miscommunicated. Time is money after all, and no boss wants to spend time explaining phrases when work could have been getting done instead. In order to help you get started on learning these common business sayings, we’ve put together a list of 10 funny, but necessary, sayings commonly used in English for business.
Here’s The Game Plan: You’re Going to Learn These 10 Business English Phrases
- Game Plan – When a businessman speaks of a game plan, he is speaking of the strategy for a project.
- Pass the Buck – This phrase means to delegate responsibility. If you pass the buck to someone, you are delegating the responsibility for something to them.
- Back to the Drawing Board – Similar to “starting over from square one”, this phrase means to start something, say an advertising strategy, over from the beginning because something didn’t work as planned.
- Ballpark Figure – Business is filled with references to sports. This phrase does not refer to the players on the field of a baseball stadium, but instead is used to mean an estimated number. For example, your boss may ask you for a ballpark figure regarding total sales generated last month. You may not know the real number, but you can estimate.
- Get Your Foot In The Door – We can’t always get our dream positions. Getting one’s foot in the door is in reference to starting at a lower position, in the hopes of moving up within a company.
- In a Nutshell – Although misleading, this phrase has nothing to do with food. It is more in reference to the small size of a nutshell – it means to summarize, or take a complicated situation and explain it in a more compact manner.
- Take The Bull By The Horns – A common saying in business settings, this matador-esque phrase means to confront a situation head-on or directly.
- Play It By Ear – Normally when you have a project or situation it requires planning. However, if your boss tells you to play it by ear, it means to deal with it as it happens instead preparing ahead of time.
- Drop The Ball –Much like in a baseball game, to drop the ball means to mess something up or do something incorrectly.
- The Ball is in Your Court – Again in reference to sports, when the ball is in your court or your possession, you generally have control over it. This saying is used to mean you have control of a situation and the next decision is yours to make.
What’s The Best Way to Practice Sayings Used in English for Business?
The best way to learn any language is by incorporating it into your everyday lifestyle. The same is true for English for business. The more you can fit these business English phrases correctly into your everyday conversations, the more comfortable you will be using them. You can also enroll in business English lessons. Business English courses and lessons help you learn even more phrases and vocabulary, as well as practice them with other ESL learners. Intensive Business English training can seem a bit daunting, but it will help you kick start your career (a phrase for starting something quickly).
Language Connections provides a Business English course in MA that pairs students with business professionals who are fluent in English. In these courses, students will learn English for business phrases, common business etiquette, and professional writing and speaking skills. Working closely with classmates and instructors, students will quickly develop the business English skills necessary to move their careers forward in the business world!
Register for our next Business English Course to improve your professional communication and expand your business English vocabulary.
For more information contact our Language Training Department:
Phone: (617) 277-1990