Free Resources for
Students and Teachers of English as a Foreign Language in China - by Paul Sparks
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Lesson 24 - Business Expressions
LESSON OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this lesson is introduce the students to everyday business expressions (phrases or sayings)
Select the correct answer, a,b,c,d or e for each question:
1. "I thought this time things were going to be better. Losing the contract was ........ to swallow."
a. bottom line2. "We've lost the contract thanks to your incompetence. You really ........ , didn't you?"
a. back to the drawing board.3. "I'd be better off stopping my legal job and doing jobs for cash. The ........ is the only way to make money these days."
a. blow-by-blow4. "The product didn't work in the States. As they say there, it really ........ ."
a. back to the drawing board.5. "However, the same product sold really well in England. As they say there, it ........ ."
a. back to the drawing board.6. "He used to work on the factory floor. Yes, he really started out as a ........ worker."
a. blue collar7. "There are many reasons why this should be a success. However, the ........ is that it has been a big flop."
a. bottom line8. "Production has been unable to keep pace with demand. We are doing our best to eliminate the ........ ."
a. blow-by-blow9. "We'll have to start again on this one -it's time to go ........ ."
a. blow-by-blow10. "Don't leave out any details. I want a full ........ account of what happened in the meeting."
a. blow-by-blow11. "At the start of the meeting everybody was very quiet and reserved but he told a few jokes to ........"
a. across the board12. "He's not very quick on the uptake. it takes him quite a while to ........ new ideas."
a. on to a good thing13. "We're going to have to reduce budgets in every single department. There will be ........ cuts."
a. back to the drawing board14. "My boss never gives me any freedom. She's always ........ my neck."
a. broke the news15. "We need a name for our new brand. The best thing is to get a few people together and try to ........ a name."
a. brief16. "I'm very happy with our sales prospects for the next year. I'm feeling really ........ ."
a. bullish17. "We would have liked to have looked at that but that wasn't part of the ........ you set us."
a. brief18. "I've heard all about it. Sally ........ to me."
a. brainstorm19. "I'm well aware that this is potentially a good new product and that we are probably ........ with it"
a. on to a good thing20. "I guess this market study shows that nobody wants to buy our product. It's ........ for us."
a. back to the drawing board21. "I reckon we owe you about the same as you owe us. Why don't we just ........ ?"
a. call his bluff22. "We've been working on this for forteen hours now. Isn't it time we ........ ?"
a. called it a day23. "Let's face it, he decides. He's the boss so he's the one that ........ ."
a. called it a day24. "He says he will go elsewhere if we don't lower our price but I don't think he will. I think we should ........ ."
a. call his bluff25. "I'm sure that there is a lot of corruption in that country. If we order an internal audit we may be opening ........ ."
a. carry the can26. "Someone is going to have to take responsibility for this disaster. Who is going to ........ ."
a. can't win27. "Whatever we do, we are going to come out badly. It's a ........ situation."
a. a can of worms28. "She always like to think things through very carefully. She likes to ........ ."
a. chicken and egg29. "We need a loan to start the company and we need a company to get the loan. It's a ........ situation."
a. calls the shots30. "We wanted to expand into Asia but we were a bit frightened. We were soon sorry for being so ........ ."
a. chicken and egg
Select a,b,c or d for each question:
I imagine their company jet was very expensive indeed. It probably ________
Our Silicone Valley site is right at the ________ of the new technology.
There's lots of unfair competition in our sector from ________ outfits
which don't respect the law.
We did badly in the Japanese market so eventually we decided to ________
We had to threaten them with legal action before they agreed to ________
the money they owed us.
We'll have to drop everything else. We'll have to ________ and concentrate
Competition is really fierce. In fact, it's ________ .
Bids had to be in by 6.00 and we put ours in ten minutes before the deadline.
We really ________ .
We can't access the computer files. The system ________ this morning and
we cannot fix it.
He said he was sorry about letting me go but I'm sure they were only ________
he was shedding.
I've got to learn English fast. I need a real ________ to get me up to
The genuine results for the year were pretty bad but thanks to ________
we made them look OK!
13. You did it too fast. You always make mistakes when you try to ________ .
a) cut corners
I'm sure a lot of our future income is going to come from the Internet
and other ________ activities.
I'm not an important person in this company. I'm just a lowly ________
Their products are really selling well. They must be ________ .
Stop getting so angry. You really need to ________ and control your temper.
I cannot decide straight away. I'll need to ________ with my colleagues
He isn't a very good salesman. He has a lot of problem when it comes to
She didn't even try to raise the matter at the meeting. She just ________