10 Common English business Idioms for Sounding Like a Native

Off the cut

Why Learn English business Idioms?

Idioms are commonly-used expressions by native speakers that have a figurative, not a literal, meaning. All languages have them. For example, a couple of Spanish idioms are “No me tomes el pelo” and “Tire la casa por la Ventana”

Idioms are essential for speaking a language like a native, and English is no exception.

There are hundreds of English idioms, but in this post, I have compiled some of the most useful business idioms that you are likely to come across while speaking English in a work meeting or meal

1.- GO THE EXTRA MILE (hacer un esfuerzo adicional)

GO THE EXTRA MILE

Got from iStock

Meaning

To go above and beyond what is expected, to make bigger effort than is required, to exert special energy in order to accomplish something

For example

  • If you are willing to go the extra mile at work, you will grow professionally
  • I was impressed with the way the shop attendant went the extra mile to resolve my problem.

2.- TO BEAT THE CLOCK (ganarle al relog. Ir a contrareloj)

Beat the clock

Meaning

To finish something very quickly especially before a particular time

For example

  • The company managed to beat the clock on delivering the new product 
  • Sometime I get up early to beat the clock

3.-PULL SOME STRINGS (tirar de cables, enchufar a alguien)

Pull some string

Meaning

  • To use the power or influence one has over others, especially people of importance, to get what one wants to help someone else

For example

  • The reason Jane got that job was because her father pulled some strings with the owner of the Company

4.- TO CORNER THE MARKET (copar el Mercado)

Corner the market

Meaning:

To dominate a particular market. If a company corners the market in a particular type of product, it is more successful than any other company

For example:

  • Amazon corners the online retailing market

5.-TO HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD (Dar en el clavo)

Hit on the head of the nail
Got from Emoticona

Meaning:

It refers to doing or saying something that is precisely right

For example

  • Mary hit the nail on the head when she said that the      malfunction of the machine was due to a manufacturing defect
  • You’ve spotted the flaw! You hit the nail on the head

6.- OFF THE CUFF

Off the cut

Meaning:

Not prepared in advanced

Done without planning or preparation. If someone speaks off the cuff they say something without preparing or thinking about their words first

For example:

  • My line manager asked me to give a presentation today. I didn’t have time to prepare, so I spoke off the cuff

7.- ALL OVER THE MAP (Disperso, no centrado, experto en nada..)

All over the map

Meaning:

In a disorganized or confused state

A person with a wide range of skills or interests

For example:

  • We can’t stay in business if our finances are going to be over the map like this.
  • Your work experience is all over the map. What do you really want to do?

8.-TAKE THE PLANGE

Take the plange

Meaning:

  • To commit oneself to a course of action about which one is nervous
  • To decide to do something, especially after thinking about it for a long time

For example

  • In the end I decided to take the plunge and start my own business.
  • She wondered whether to join that group and in the end she decided to take the plunge

9.-TO THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX

 

Think outside the box

Meaning:

To think unconventionally and creatively. From another perspective

Examples:

  • To solve this problem you will have to think outside the box
  • I like my team thinking outside the box and coming up with interesting ideas  

10.-BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE

Between a rock and a hard place

Meaning:

To face with two equally undesirable alternatives

Examples:

  • I have to choose between my career and my relationship. I am between a rock and a hard place.
  • Trying to please both my workmate and my best friend put me between a rock and a hard place

And One More Thing for Your English Idiom…

If you like learning English idioms, then you’ll love FluentU. FluentU takes real-world videos like music videos, commercials, news, and inspiring talks and turns them into English learning experiences. In these videos, you’ll see your newly-acquired idioms in action.

In the real world, you may not pick up on new vocabulary and idioms straightaway. FluentU is designed for you to become familiarized with everyday , by combining all the benefits of total immersion and native level conversations with easy-to-read subtitles.

FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive transcripts. Didn’t catch something? Go back and listen again. Missed a word? Hover your mouse over the subtitles to instantly view definitions.