The answers for the previous exercise: c)-1,  d)-2,  f)-3,  e)-4,  a)-5,  b)-6,  g)-7

Hello everyone!

Talking about business might sometimes get a bit dull, since you need to be formal all the business_idiomstime, without too much room for innovation. But why tread the same old beaten paths? I think it is time to ‘spice things up’ a little and start embellishing our vocabulary with a few idioms!

Today, I would like to present some idioms and phrases you can use to improve the way you talk in your daily business activities.

1. to beat around the bush = This expression is used to tell someone to say what they have to say, clearly and directly, even if it is unpleasant.

Stop beating around the bush. Just tell me what has been decided!

2. up in the air = If something, such as a plan or decision, is up in the air, it has not been decided or settled yet.

I can’t give you a definite answer yet;  the project is still up in the air.

3. gentleman’s agreement = When an agreement is neither written nor signed, because the two parties trust each other completely, it is called a gentleman’s agreement.

It was a gentleman’s agreement. I can’t change my mind now!

4. in the black = To say that a person or organization is in the black means that they are financially sound, have a positive balance on their account and that they owe no money.

I wish my accounts were in the black

5. blank cheque = If you give someone a blank cheque, you authorize them to do what they think is best in a difficult situation.

Tom was given a blank cheque and told to negotiate the best deal possible.

6. blue chip company = This term refers to a company with a solid reputation for the quality of its products and the stability of its growth and earnings.

It’s usually safe to invest in a blue chip company.

7. get down to brass tacks = When people get down to brass tacks, they start to discuss the essential aspects of a problem or situation.

The situation was so serious that after a few polite exchanges they quickly got down to brass tacks.

8. cash cow =  A product or service which is a regular source of income for a company is called a cash cow.

His latest invention turned out to be a real cash cow.

9. cash in your chips = If you cash in your chips, you sell something, especially shares, either because you need the money or because you think the value is going to fall.

Andy cashed in his chips as soon as business started to slow down.

10. too many chiefs, not enough Indians = This expression refers to a situation where there are too many people giving instructions and not enough people doing the work.

The business wasn’t successful.  There were too many chiefs and not enough Indians.

11. make cold calls = If you make cold calls, you telephone potential customers from a list of people you do not know.

In my first job I had to make cold calls using the telephone directory.

12. down the drain = To say that money, time or energy has gone down the drain means that it has been wasted or lost.

His years of research went down the drain when the company went bankrupt.


Fill in the gaps with the idioms above

  1. ___________________ are usually financially sound.
  2. ___________________generate steady, reliable cash flows that often fund their own growth and the growth of a company’s other business units.
  3. Our latest project was a disaster. There were ___________________.
  4. We didn’t sign anything; it was ___________________. But I trust him, I’ve known him for years.
  5. Even Steve Jobs had to make a lot of ___________________until he managed to find investors.
  6. ___________________and answer my question
  7. Sally moved the company ___________________.
  8. Business is going well. I think it’s time ___________________.
  9. I don’t know what Sally plans to do. Things were sort ___________________the last time we talked.
  10. I was given ___________________this time. It’s my decision
  11. After two months of preliminary activity, speculating and theorizing, the legislature ___________________.
  12. All his hard work went ___________________when the project was abandoned due to lack of funds.

Autor: Laura Sîrbu

Laura Sîrbu este absolventă a Facultăţii de Litere din cadrul Universităţii Bucureşti, specializarea Română – Engleză. Tot în cadrul Universităţii, ea a absolvit masteratul „Studii Americane”, organizat la Facultatea de Limbi şi Literaturi Străine.

Laura deţine autorizaţie de traducător pentru limba engleză şi atestatul lingvistic „Cambridge Proficiency Certificate.”

Laura a participat la numeroase workshop-uri şi are cunoştinţe solide în ceea ce priveşte studiile culturale, antropologia şi multiculturalismul.

În cadrul Centrului de Limbi Străine A_BEST, Laura susţine cursuri de pregătire pentru examenele CAE (Cambridge Advanced English) şi IELTS, pe lângă cursurile de limba engleză şi limba română pentru străini din cadrul companiilor.