Business English Idioms Part 2

The English-speaking business world has come up with all types of interesting idioms and unique phrases to speed communication up and talk about complicated ideas in simple ways.


Today's idioms will let you show off your advanced English, as well as give you some fun new ways to warn people, give estimates, talk about challenges and imagine how hard things will be.


At RKA Valencia, we believe in English-teaching that is connected with the real world. We love to bring our conversational style to our classrooms. Our students practice real English in real scenarios, so when it comes to the real thing, they are fully prepared.


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Rock the Boat

If someone says to you "don't rock the boat, just go along with the plan", they mean that you shouldn't cause problems or start any fights. 'Rocking the boat' is connected to the idea that if you cause a boat to go from one side to the other too much, then eventually the boat will fill with water or capsize totally.


We can use this expression to warn people not to cause problems, or as a recognition of an issue: "I don't want to rock the boat, but we really need to address this problem before it becomes too serious".


Ballpark Figure

Giving someone a 'ballpark figure' means that you give then an estimate, or an answer that you think is close to being right. While the origin isn't really clear, the word 'ballpark' is used in lots of idioms. We can talk about being 'in the ballpark' when we are close to a guess or a plan is good but not great.


If someone says to you "So how much will it cost over the next three years, just give me a ballpark figure", you can reply "Well a ballpark figure would be around €6,000, but it could be much more."


Uphill Battle

An 'uphill battle' is normally a challenge or task that we are finding very difficult. If something is an 'uphill battle' we might not expect to win, but it does mean that we are still trying.


It's obviously more difficult to walk uphill, and fighting physical battles uphill is never a good idea. We talk about ideas like the 'high ground' (the best/most advantageous place to be) that are connected to this idiom too.


When someone asks you about a course you stopped, or some training you quit, you could say "It was just too much of an uphill battle, and I never really enjoyed it enough".


Long Shot

If something is a 'long shot', then we do not expect to achieve it, or think that it will be very difficult to do it well. The idea comes from shooting rifles, and the further away something is, the harder it will be to hit it!


If someone comes to you and says "I've got an idea, but it's a bit of a long shot", you can reply "well although it's a long shot, do you think the reward will be worth the pain?"


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