Business English Idioms – war

By admin 2 comments

There are a lot of expressions used in business which are borrowed from the army and from war. Here are some examples:

You can ‘gain ground’ on your competition.

  • We’ve gained ground in the Japanese market. We now have a 20% market share, up from just 7% last year.

You ‘ don’t give up without a fight.’

  • I don’t think we should just withdraw the product because we have such a poor share of the market. Let’s not give up without a fight. Let’s try some other marketing strategies.

You may need to ‘reinforce’ your marketing position.

  • Our sales team is doing badly against the competition. We may need to reinforce the team with some new recruits.

You can ‘join forces’ with another company.

  • In China, we’ve decided to join forces with a local company and set up a joint venture.

If you receive a lot of enquiries, you can say you are ‘bombarded’ with them.

  • After our last radio campaign, we were bombarded with calls to our customer lines.

If you don’t want your boss to notice you, it’s a good idea to ‘keep your head down’.

  • The boss is very angry. It would be a good idea to keep your head down for a few days.

You can ‘set your sights on ‘ an objective.

  • I’ve set my sights on being the next sales manager.

Often different departments of a company have a ‘battle’ over budgets.

  • There isn’t much money and Accounts and Marketing are having a big battle over the advertising budget.

Some people seem to do things which make them look bad – they are ‘their own worst enemy’.

  • He’s always irritating the boss by being late for meetings. He’s his own worst enemy.

Most companies set ‘targets’ for their employees.

  • Our target this year is to increase sales by 10%.

You can ‘capture’ a larger share of a market.

  • We need to capture more of the youth market.

When businesses fail because of a poor economy, they can be said to be ‘casualties’.

  • They were a casualty of the last recession.

If there are a lot of potential problems in doing something, it can be described as a ‘minefield’.

  • The workers are very unhappy and so are the customers. Taking over that company would be a real minefield.

exercise 1

exercise 2
exercise 3

exercise 4

exercise 5



Feb 2, 2012, 3:19 pm

Excellent exercises.


May 5, 2014, 11:16 am


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