Jul 14

Top Ten Business Idioms (Medium)

ID-10042672Firstly, what is an idiom and where do they come from? They have been in use since the late 16th century and the best way to think of an idiom is something that essentially ‘sums it all up’, which means that an idiom says in a few words how we feel about a particular situation or experience. The actual Latin root of the word idiōma means something closer to a peculiar or strange event rather than the idea of something. Today, we use idioms to talk about everyday things that communicate an idea of something experienced by other native speakers, and which are relatively commonplace.

Top ten list of idioms

  1. Go ballistic – It essentially means to go a bit crazy or angry. It has a double meaning whereby somebody could go ballistic on the dance floor for example in the UK (positive), or your clients will go ballistic if you increase your prices by 50% (negative).
  2. Dive off the deep end – In business this would suggest risk. I.e. You’re going to have to just jump in and get involved and take the risk that it might not work and the risk is that you may drown.
  3. Barking up the wrong tree – Your blaming the wrong person or company for doing something wrong and would be better off finding out who or what is actually at fault.
  4. The devil is in the details – A bit like those annoying contracts you sign in Germany for various services whereby a company can charge you for a lot of things you didn’t know about or read.
  5. Can’t see for looking – Yes, you were looking and couldn’t see an object that was right in front of you or in front of your nose.
  6. The bottom line is – The final point, summary or conclusion. Has a double meaning which shouldn’t be confused with improving profitability.
  7. Stuck in a rut – Unable to move forward in a  job, career or life moment. Could be used for a company that is unable to grow further.
  8. Low hanging fruit – The easy sales or fast sales you can complete. They could be low-cost or highly profitable.
  9. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t – A dilemma of what to do next. Both options present results that look equally negative.
  10. Them’s the breaks – In effect, someone is saying “Oh well, too bad” or is using a nicer version of “Shit happens”. You can get a good break, or a bad break but them’s the breaks is used to talk about bad or poor chances we get or happenings.

Copyright Notice © Berlin Busines English – Image Source: – FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Feb 10

I Remember – Part II (Light)

ID-10054898Another side to I remember, you remind me of, is when we recollect or recall something.

When we recall something, we remember it and then communicate it to other people. There is a little subtle difference though. We don’t say ‘I recall somebody or someone’. For people, we normally use remember. E.g. I met Robert but I don’t remember him very well… or I remember Peter. Not…I recall Robert…or I recollect Peter.

Normally, we recollect or recall events or situations surrounding an event that we communicate to someone now. Sometimes this involves people at these events or in certain situations and we often use I seem to, as far as I can…and I distinctly recall” to add some flavour to how well we remember something. In fact, you can almost think of recalling or recollecting as exactly that, an extra effort to remember and add detail to something.

  • I seem to recall telling you that the invoice was paid last month. (25-40% sure)
  • As far as I can recall, the invoice was paid a month ago(50% sure).
  • I distinctly recall that the invoice was paid a month ago(75-100% sure).

Although remember is possible in place of recall in the sentences above it sounds nicer because we are making an extra effort to remember something particular. When we recollect something, it is a bit like ‘reflecting on or upon something’ and is often followed by a story. Think of your music collection. What were you doing at the time when you bought each CD? What do you recollect? Now you can tell an interesting story about how music influenced you at the time and what you recollect (i.e. your collection of memories).

Copyright Notice © Berlin Busines English – Image Source: Stuart Miles – FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Jan 13

I Remember (Light)

This one is for the Germans out there. In this blog, I will aim to address common mistakes from time to time that Germans make with English, so that you understand that you are not alone in your journey to master English. The first one is the difference between “I remember” and “to remind”.

We (people) are often REMINDED of things. (it doesn’t appear in your mind)

People REMEMBER things. (it does appear in their mind)

You (the reader) can remember things, but I (the writer) can only remind you OF SOMETHING.

However, when I say “I remember you” .. I mean that I know you. I am not really thinking of the past.

To think of the past, we say, “I remember when……we went shopping etc etc….”

German people use the same word ‘erinnern – remember/remind’ for both situations.

  1. Ich erinnere dich daran einkaufen zu gehen – I remind you to go shopping
  2. Ich erinnere mich an den Zweiten Weltkrieg – I remember the second world war.

So, when you say ‘I remember me’ – it is incorrect. Just say…I remember when…or I remember the time…etc.

  • REMIND = other people making someone else remember
  • REMEMBER = person doing it themselves