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Business, Communication

Defining 10 Popular Business English Expressions + Sample Sentences

Spend a week in an office full of native English speakers, and one thing you’ll definitely notice is that they love to use idioms!

They’re a constant in the workplace, and that’s why it is a must to know what each phrase means. When it comes to corporate English, stay up to speed and don’t get left in the dust… And for added context, an example accompanies each definition below:

1. Get the ball rolling

Meaning: To start the preliminary work of a large project or process

Example: There is a lot to do, so let’s get the ball rolling!

2. Put a pin in it

Meaning: To save a task for later instead of dealing with it right away

Example: The CEO decided to put a pin in it after the meeting.

3. Think outside the box

Meaning: To come up with creative and original ideas or solutions

Example: Skilled programmers are able to think outside the box.

4. Moonlighting

Meaning: To work a second job at night in addition to daytime employment

Example: Moonlighting is a great way to supplement your income.

5. A long shot

Meaning: Something that has a slim chance of happening and is not realistic

Example: Turning a profit this quarter is going to be a long shot.

6. A pretty penny

Meaning: Refers to the price that an expensive item or service costs

Example: We paid a pretty penny to upgrade the hardware.

7. Get sacked

Meaning: To lose a job by being fired

Example: Did the disgruntled employees get sacked?

8. Take it or leave it

Meaning: To accept or reject a final offer with no room for negotiation

Example: That’s the best possible discount. Either take it or leave it!

9. Sweeten the deal

Meaning: To include something extra in an offer

Example: They can sweeten the deal with a gift basket.  

10. In the pipeline

Meaning: Describes a product being worked on that is coming in the future

Example: Our company’s mobile app is in the pipeline.


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