Do you feel like you’re always struggling to find the right words when communicating with clients or coworkers? English is such an integral part of communication in the workplace, but it can be difficult to understand if you’re not fluent.

From a tricky conversation to just some casual banter in the office, there are many English expressions that are used and knowing these will help you fit right in with your co-workers. Whether it’s a quick way to show gratitude or a reason for being late, this blog post has everything you need to feel more comfortable on the job. Here are just a few of them that can be used in both professional and everyday conversations:

12 Business Idioms and Phrases to Use at Work

1. Get the ball rolling

Means – To get started on something.

Example – Let’s get the ball rolling so we have more time to work on this project.

2. Get up to speed

Means – To update you on all the details so you are well-informed.

Example – I can help get you up to speed so you can lead the conference call later.

3. Learn the ropes

Means – To know or learn how to do something such as your job responsibilities.

Example – I’m still in the process of learning the ropes so I may not be the best person to help with this.

4. Have a lot on my plate

Means – To indicate that you’re busy and have a lot of work to deal with.

Example – Sorry for the late reply, I have a lot on my plate at the moment.

5. Ramp up

Means – To increase the level or amount of something.

Example – As the entire team is currently taking English language courses, we all can’t wait to ramp up our efforts and help the company grow in Singapore.

6. Break something down

Means – This expression means to reduce something into simpler parts. If you need help understanding, you can always ask a colleague to break it down for you.

Example – Can you break this down for me so I can explain it better in the meeting?

7. On the same page

Means – To think in the same way or share the same understanding.

Example – Thank you for filling me in to make sure I’m on the same page as the rest of the team.

8. Put something off

Means – To postpone or delay doing something.

Example – Can we put this off and leave it until later to finish?

9. Think outside the box

Means – To explore ideas that are creative, new and different.

Example – It is time that we start thinking outside the box in the planning process.

10. Win-win

Means – advantageous or satisfactory for everyone involved.

Example – I’ll say it’s a win-win situation if we are all able to speak English fluently.

11. Feel a bit under the weather

Means – To feel sick or ill.

Example – I just took my COVID-19 vaccination so I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather.

12. The bottom line is

Means – To conclude the final result, outcome or decision. Can be used to highlight the most important point.

Example – The bottom line is, we will need all the help we can get for this upcoming project.

Let’s Get the Ball Rolling at ULC

Whether you are a foreigner in Singapore or just new to the English language, you will come across one of these common expressions at some point in your work life. They may not be what they seem and can lead to confusion if not understood correctly.

Interested to learn more? Check out these popular English idioms to express yourself more effectively and while you’re at it, why not apply to our Business English Courses for adults? Get in touch with our friendly team at ULC today.

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