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
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
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!”
English is well-known for being a very idiomatic language with lots of old expressions and new ones being born all the time.
Let’s take two quick examples and at the bottom we’ll provide links to some good sites.
Cash cow: A cash cow is a product which has a low investment cost for the company but easily brings in a lot of money. Sometimes people say slot machines at casinos are a type of cash cow.
Go back to square one: This is an expression which means to start over from the beginning. Example: After weeks of negotiations everything fell apart and we couldn’t come to an agreement. We’ll just have to go back to square one.
There are many business idiom sites out there. All of these looked good to us:
http://www.idiomconnection.com/business.html (has free quizzes too)
How can you know which words are the most important in a language? One way linguists find this out is by taking large samples of language and storing that in a computer database. They can run tests and analyses on the data, such as finding the most common and least common words in a language. This is called corpus linguistics.
More recently, some researchers have looked at written and spoken academic language to find the most common words used at the college level. This list is called the Academic Word List, or AWL. If you are preparing for college in the U.S. or some type of college entrance test (including the TOEFL), these words are essential to learn.
There are many websites that use the AWL and provide exercises to learn these words. Here are just a couple examples that you may find helpful:
The following short article gives a good summary of American culture, with attention to details that are helpful for international tourists, students, and business people — like business meetings, dining (eating) etiquette, gift giving, etc.
Do you have any questions about American culture? Just post to our FB page and we’ll be happy to answer!
Sometimes someone wants to show off a certain new skill or joke. But what if that skill is not very impressive, or the joke is not very good? Or what if it is a little impressive, but not enough for that person to really boast about? We might say to that person: “Well, don’t give up your day job.” It means, whatever you just said or did, it wasn’t good enough to be a professional!
It may sound like it is a rude comment, but actually most Americans just think it’s a slightly funny comment.
In the case of this cartoon, this spider’s joke isn’t funny enough to make the man laugh. He even says, “Don’t quit your day job.” It means, just keep being a spider. Don’t try to be a comedian because you’re not that funny!!
EARN 25% MORE WHEN YOU KNOW ENGLISH
This article discusses the recent research study showing that knowing English can increase your income by 25% (in developing countries). However, the article mentions the problem that most countries’ school program does not have a clear strategy for learning/teaching English, so there is no guarantee students will succeed.
Are you considering studying English in the United States at a language academy / institute? Located in Duluth, just outside of Atlanta, CCB is a flexbile, creative, and fun program which has a clear strategy for learning English. Students learn all major skill areas READING, WRITING, LISTENING, AND SPEAKING. They have expert teachers to guide them in improving their grammar, vocabulary, expressions / idioms, and pronunciation. Lastly, students learn all about American culture, study skills, and English for work & business purposes.
So whatever your purpose is for learning English – even just pleasure – we have the right program and strategy for you!