Sports Idioms Used in Business English

Sports and business have a lot in common. They both take hard work, are very competitive, and can lead to big successes or failures. It is not surprising that many sports idioms are used in daily American culture and also in business.

An idiom is an expression that is not literal. Therefore, if you don’t know the idiom, it may be hard to understand what someone meant. Studying idioms is an important part of becoming fluent in English.

Here are a couple examples:

1. Front runner

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The front runner (as you may be able to guess) is the athlete who is in the lead during a race. This person is in front, but hasn’t won yet. A front runner means the favorite or the person who is considered most likely to get or win something.

“I’ve applied for that new management position. Do you think I will get the job?”

“Between you and me, your chances are very good. You are the front runner. Tim applied, too, but he doesn’t have a chance.”

2. The ball is in your court

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In tennis, when the ball is on your side of the court, it is your turn to hit the ball. This is used to mean that it is someone’s turn to take action or make the next move.

“Google wants to buy the app I developed and they will pay me a lot of money. But I think if I keep it, I may be able to make even more money later on. Do you have any advice?”

“I don’t know, Tim. The ball is totally in your court on this one!”