6 Business English idioms you need to know!
1. A long shot
This phrase comes from sports, like basketball for example when a player is trying to shoot from a long distance. It means something unlikely to happen. With very little chance of success.
Example: Getting a senior position in the corporation one day is a long shot, but if you don’t try you’ll never find out if it’s possible.
2. Back to the drawing board
This expression means to start something again from the beginning because it’s not working as you would have liked or expected.
Example: This project is not going as planned, let’s get back to the drawing board and fix what’s going wrong.
3. To corner the market
To control enough quantity of a product or service that enables one to then change the market price willingly. It can also mean to be the only one making or providing a given product or service.
Example: Intel has pretty much cornered the market of microprocessors for servers. Their direct competition, AMD, is a distant second.
4. Hands are tied
When you are unable to carry out any meaningful action because of regulations, rules or other people with authority.
Example: I wish I could help you cut through all this red tape (another business idiom meaning administrative procedures) but my hands are tied. My boss won’t let me.
5. Up in the air
When things are highly uncertain when a decision has not been made yet.
Example: We were hoping to sign the contract by the end of the month, but there are still too many things up in the air we need to deal with first.
6. To learn the ropes
To learn the basics of a profession, a specific task or activity.
Example: It took her a while to learn the ropes, but now she is confident and we feel that we can count on her to manage her client portfolio effectively.