Enrich Your English through Ads

Advertisements are rich sources of idioms and they’re often fun to watch.  Take a look at this funny new Smirnoff advertisement starring actor Ted Danson and listen for these two idioms:

  • What’s that supposed to mean? – What are you saying?; I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying (note: sometimes said when you’re offended by what the person is saying)
  • regular Joe – an average person (note: also sometimes known as an ordinary Joe, Joe Sixpack or for women: an ordinary Jane, an average Jane)

Emoticons in Business English Communications :-) & Some Business English Idioms

Let’s look at extracts from this Wall Street Journal article on emoticons in the workplace
and then study five idioms in the story.

As emoticons pop up in workplace email, experts weigh in

In the span of a few years, emoji—the smiley faces, hearts, flags and other smemoticonall pictures installed in most smartphone, email and chat programs—have become ubiquitous in digital communication …

More than half of workers say they have used emoji to communicate at work, according to a recent survey … More managers than workers approved of emoji at work, a finding that reflects research showing that small, playful icons serve a surprisingly serious purpose in managing the emotional tone at work.

Jacqueline Whitmore, the author of a book on business etiquette, advises gauging the tone of office communications before sending an emoji to a colleague. Allowing higher-ups to send the first smiley and only using them with familiar colleagues are both good practices.

Ms. Whitmore says it is also important to consider the recipient. A small picture of a winking ghost may build fellow-feeling among colleagues, but may fall flat among clients.

To play it safe, the best emoji to send is a variation of the smiley face. To be avoided, in Ms Whitmore’s view: anything denoting anger or romance.  “Learn to communicate without them, and use them only as an enhancement,” said Ms. Whitmore. “When it doubt, leave it out.”

(The above is excerpted from a story from the Wall Street Journal with the headline Emoji at Work: Managing With a Wink and a 🙂, written by Dahlia Bazzaz)

The idioms

to pop up – to appear suddenly or unexpectedly

to weigh in – to give an opinion

higher-ups – those in senior positions in a company; the bosses

to fall flat – to fail; to not get the desired response

to play it safe – to be safe; to avoid risks

Business English Negotiations

Business English has a rich language of negotiations. We’ve captured this language in our Business English books, Speak Business English Like an American and Speak Better Business English and Make More Money. For those who prefer mobile learning, we’ve captured the language of negotiations in the iPhone & iPad app Business English Negotiations. Check it out!negotiations-idioms

Love Idioms to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

February 14 is Valentine’s Day! Love Idioms to Celebrate!

(1) all’s fair in lovelove idioms and war- unpleasant or bad behavior is okay in some situations, such as when you are in love or when you are in competition

Example: Jim told Tyler not to invite Angela to the dance because Angela already had a boyfriend. Then Jim invited Angela to the dance.

(2) head over heels in love – very much in love

Example: After taking Angela to the dance, Jim realized he was head over heels in love with her and wanted to marry her.

(3) love at first sight – falling in love from the first moment one sees someone

Example: When Mike saw Liz, he felt attracted to her immediately. It was love at first sight.