Learn English with English, baby!

Join for FREE!

Social_nav_masthead_logged_in
Speak Business English Like an American

Speak Business English Like an American

Date: May 25 2007

Topic: Business English

Author: TanyaPeterson

Lesson

A sample chapter from the book "Speak Business English Like an American" that teaches over 300 important business-related idioms and expressions through 30 lively and realistic dialogues. For more information, go to www.languagesuccesspress.com.

 

Talking about a New Project

Carl, Greg, and Anne work for WaterSonic Corporation. Recently, the company has come up with an idea for a new electric toothbrush.

Carl: I think we’ve come up with a winner.

Anne: I agree. The new Brush-o-matic toothbrush should be a blockbuster!

Carl: Our designers have already made up some prototypes. The toothbrushes have a tooth-whitening attachment and many other bells and whistles.

Greg: We should fast track this project. Let’s try to launch it in time for the holiday season.

Anne: This will be a great stocking stuffer!

Carl: We definitely need a big win for the holidays.

Anne: This is a great idea. We’re going to make a killing.

Greg: Let’s not talk about this project to anybody who doesn’t need to know. We’ll keep it under wraps.

Carl: I agree. Mum’s the word. We don’t want any of our competitors to get wind of the idea and rip it off!

Anne: Right. Let’s meet again on Monday morning and discuss our game plan for getting this project off the ground!

IDIOMS & EXPRESSIONS

(to) come up with a winner
to think up a very good idea

EXAMPLE: Everybody likes Pepsi’s new advertising campaign. Their advertising agency has come up with a winner.

blockbuster
a big success; a huge hit

EXAMPLE: Eli Lilly made a lot of money with the prescription drug, Prozac. It was a real blockbuster.

ORIGIN: This term comes from the blockbuster bombs used during World War Two by the British Royal Air Force. They were huge and created a large explosive force. Blockbuster ideas similarly create a big impact — and hopefully don’t cause destruction like blockbuster bombs!

bells and whistles
extra product features, usually using the latest technologies; product features which are attractive, but not essential for the product to function

EXAMPLE: Our office just got a new copier with all the bells and whistles. I’ll probably never learn how to use all of its features!

(to) fast track a project
to make a project a high priority; to speed up the time frame of a project

EXAMPLE: Let’s fast track this project. We’ve heard rumors that our competitors are developing similar products.

stocking stuffer
a small gift given at Christmas time

EXAMPLE: These new mini travel pillows will make great stocking stuffers!

NOTE: This expression comes from the practice of kids hanging up stockings that Santa Claus fills (or “stuffs”) with small gifts.

big win
a huge success; a successful product

EXAMPLE: The drug company spent millions on research and development, hoping that one of their new products would be a big win.

(to) make a killing
to make a lot of money

EXAMPLE: Suzanne made a killing on her Google stock and retired at 40.

SYNONYM: to make a fortune

(to) keep something under wraps
to keep something secret; to not let anybody know about a new project or plan

EXAMPLE: I’m sorry I can’t tell you anything about the project I’m working on. My boss told me to keep it under wraps.

NOTE: “Wraps” are things that provide cover, so if something is “under wraps” it’s covered up and hidden.

mum’s the word
let’s keep quiet about this; I agree not to tell anyone about this

EXAMPLE: Please don’t tell anybody about our new project. Remember: mum’s the word!

ORIGIN: The word “mum” comes from the murmur “mmmmm,” the only sound you can make when your mouth is shut firmly. Try making other sounds besides “mmmmm” with your lips and mouth shut firmly, and you will see that it’s impossible!

(to) get wind of
to find out about something, often sensitive information

EXAMPLE: When the restaurant owner got wind of the fact that one of his waiters was stealing money from the cash register, he was furious.

(to) rip off
to copy an idea; to steal

EXAMPLE: Why doesn’t the Donox Company ever think up any original ideas? All they ever do is rip off their competitors!

NOTE: “Rip off” is also a noun. Example: We were charged $10,000 for a small advertisement in the newspaper. What a rip off!

game plan
an action plan; a plan for how a project will proceed

EXAMPLE: The software company’s game plan is to expand its operations into China and India over the next year.

ORIGIN: In football, a “game plan” is a strategy for winning.

(to) get something off the ground
to get started on something, often a project

EXAMPLE: We’ve been sitting around talking about this project for months. It’s time to take action and get it off the ground!

QUIZ: PRACTICE THE IDIOMS

Choose the best substitute for the phrase or sentence in bold.  To take this quiz online in an interactive format, please click here.


    1) Did the company think of this new product idea themselves? No, they ripped it off from an inventor.



      a. No, they paid an inventor for the idea.
      b. No, they stole the idea from an inventor.
      c. No, they discussed it with an inventor and he agreed to sell it to them.

 


    2) Andrea is planning to quit her job at the end of September, but mum’s the word.



      a. don’t tell anybody
      b. don’t tell her mother
      c. she may change her mind

 


    3) Sony has made a killing on its popular PlayStation line.



      a. lost money on
      b. made a lot of money on
      c. decided to stop producing

 


    4) After receiving a large loan from the bank, the company was finally able to get its project off the ground.



      a. get started on the project
      b. cancel the project
      c. borrow money

 


    5) That new software company seems very disorganized. Do they have a game plan?



      a. a plan for closing down their business
      b. a plan for developing new games
      c. a plan for how they will proceed to grow their business

 


    6) Some experts recommend that when you’re interviewing for a new job, you keep your current salary under wraps.



      a. you should tell the interviewer what your current salary is
      b. you should say you’re making twice as much as you’re really earning
      c. you should not say how much you’re currently earning

 


    7) Don’s new cell phone has a video camera and all sorts of other bells and whistles.



      a. fancy features
      b. things that make loud ringing noises and whistle tones
      c. features typical in a low-priced product

 


    8) When investors got wind of the fact that the pharmaceutical company’s major drug increased the risk of heart attacks, the company’s stock price fell.



      a. hid
      b. discovered
      c. got fed up over

 

Comments

Log in to Comment

elohimmoses

India

nice

11:38 PM Feb 11 2014 |

nancyxing

China

it is very useful,thanks a lot

05:07 PM Feb 11 2014 |

samand55

samand55

Azerbaijan

thats not my business,,hehe,,, but yeah it can b fantastic for those who r in business,,,

07:49 PM Aug 15 2013 |

optimism8

optimism8

Oman

Great  ♥

05:46 PM Aug 15 2013 |

keepglobalgreen

India

very useful

11:39 PM Aug 06 2013 |

peyman1athlete

Iran, Islamic Republic Of

i like get everything off the ground!

02:34 AM Jul 27 2013 |

wuhao448215087

China

thank

06:41 AM Jul 17 2013 |

Amedmoh

Amedmoh

Mauritania

Helpful, useful and worth-reading lesson.

03:16 AM Jul 16 2013 |

mehdimansiz

Iran, Islamic Republic Of

Good lesson

03:12 AM Sep 21 2011 |

Eydo

Eydo

Turkey

Good for those who wants to get improve their business English like an American guy but not a british chap:)))

01:31 PM Sep 02 2011 |

ugur_teeneger

Turkey

nice … :)

09:05 AM Jul 27 2011 |

wwongsapun

wwongsapun

Thailand

Thank for nice lesson , I choose the best substitute for the phrase, the result points of 5 right answers. Hahahaha It’s a bad…But I will to try again on the next lesson.

04:21 AM Jun 30 2011 |

andylu2

andylu2

Canada

Tanya,
These look like some very useful idioms and it seems you’ve made a great book. I’m going to take a look at it on Amazon. So much of what I find in terms of business language is super boring and I like how you making teaching this subject interesting.
I’m making a free podcast that teaches advanced Business English Vocabulary It is a lot of modern business terms and concepts that I think will be good in addition with your book.

05:41 AM Jul 11 2010 |

蓝亮

China

bith

 

11:50 PM Dec 12 2009 |

mickee85

mickee85

Philippines

Great lesson, I loved it.

08:45 PM Dec 09 2009 |

nicey

nicey

China

I   WANT

01:20 AM Dec 27 2007 |

nicey

nicey

China

I   WANT

01:20 AM Dec 27 2007 |

nicey

nicey

China

I WANT MAKE MY LIFE RICH AND COLOURFUL

01:18 AM Dec 27 2007 |

nicey

nicey

China

I WANT MAKE MY LIFE RICH AND COLOURFUL

01:18 AM Dec 27 2007 |

1 person likes this

nicey

nicey

China

i want make my life rich and colourful

01:17 AM Dec 27 2007 |

Likes (253):

See all >

Share this lesson:

  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Bebo
  • Share on Myspace
  • Share on Twitter
  • Email this to a friend
  • Share on Renren
  • Share on Sina

Post Ebaby! lessons on your blog:

Ebaby! Cast