Commonly Used Idioms In The Office: Part 4

11.04.2016 |

So we’re finally past the midway point of English workplace idioms. Part 4 of 5 is all about how to describe specific situations at work. Just remember, by subscribing to these emails, you won’t have to jump through hoops just to learn English.

Take the bull by the horns: Acknowledge and confidently take ownership of a difficult situation.

Example: “If Mike doesn’t take the bull by the horns, this project is going to spiral out of control.”

Jump through hoops: Do everything possible to achieve your goal or please someone, particularly to persevere through many rules, stages and processes that may be challenging.

Example: “You often have to jump through hoops in order to get a promotion.”

Know when to cut your losses: Know when it is time, after experiencing multiple losses or setbacks, to stop your pursuit of the goal or strategy and to do something else. Know when the losses are to the point you have to give up, rather than waste more energy in a strategy that will only lead to more losses.

Example: “Why do you insist on putting more money into that car? It clearly doesn’t work anymore. You seriously don’t know when to cut your losses.”

Back to square one: Having to start over again.  A situation where prior efforts and steps have failed, or ideas have been rejected, and you have to return to the start to begin again.

Example: “The CEO hated the idea so we are back to square one.”

Stab someone in the back: When someone betrays another person’s trust by attacking them without warning, devastating the person who is attacked (who previously thought the attacker was their ally and could never do such a thing). People often stab people in the back to pursue or advance their own personal agenda or position / status.

Example: “Those two have been best friends since high school. How could she stab her in the back without feeling any remorse?”

Reading these emails won’t cause you to be stabbed in the back, so keep looking forward to the next ones…


Recommended book

“English Idioms in Use Intermediate” by Michael McCarthy, Felicity O’Dell


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