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Speak Business English Like an American Lesson 23 Idioms and Expressions Test

Speak Business English Like an American Lesson 23 Idioms and Expressions Test

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LESSON 23 – Requesting a Bank Loan


Ivan meets with Gina, a loan officer at L&S Bank, about getting a loan to start a new coffee shop. When Gina reviews his financial forecasts and suggests some changes, Ivan is angry at first but then decides to go along with it.

Ivan: I ‘m here to see about getting a $ 100,000 loan to start a Coffee Shack franchise.

Gina: I see from your application that you’ve already got two franchise businesses under your belt — both Subway sandwich shops. That’s certainly nothing to sneeze at.

Ivan: Thank you. Now that I know the franchise business inside and out, I’d like to expand.

Gina: Well, Subway is a sandwich shop. Now you’re talking about a coffee house. That’s an entirely different animal.

Ivan: Sure, there may be a thing or two to learn, but it should be more or less a no-brainer.

Gina: I see from your business plan that you’re basing all of your profit estimates on the profits you made from one of your Subway shops. I don’t think that’s right. You’re comparing apples to oranges.

Ivan: Apples? Oranges? I didn’t know we were talking about fruit now. Maybe I should open up a fruit smoothie shop instead!

Gina: Ha ha. Well, at least you haven’t lost your sense of humor!

Ivan: Well, seriously, what do you want me to do?

Gina: Go back to the drawing board. Make some new calculations based on selling coffee, not sandwiches. Then the loan will be in the bag.

Ivan: If you’re going to make me jump through hoops to get this loan, I’ll just have to take my business to a different bank.

Gina: You’re missing the point here. I’m not trying to make your life difficult. I’m just suggesting you beef up your business plan so my boss will approve your loan.

Ivan: Well, in that case, maybe I will go back to the drawing board.


  • (to get or to have) under one’s belt

 to get or to have experience

EXAMPLE: Before you start your own coffee shop, you should work at Starbucks to get some experience under your belt.

  • nothing to sneeze at

 not insignificant; impressive

EXAMPLE: This year, our company opened 15 new sales offices overseas. That’s nothing to sneeze at!

  • (to) know something inside and out

 to know something very well

EXAMPLE: If you’re having a problem with your presentation, ask Pam for help. She knows PowerPoint inside and out.

  • different animal

 something entirely different

EXAMPLE: The Gap had many years of experience selling clothing through retail stores. When they started the, they found out that selling online was a different animal.

  • no-brainer

 an easy decision; an obvious choice

EXAMPLE: Most of our clients are based in Korea, so it’s a no-brainer to open an office there.

  • (to) compare apples to oranges

 to compare two unlike things; to make an invalid comparison

EXAMPLE: Comparing a night at EconoLodge with a night at the Four Seasons is like comparing apples to oranges. One is a budget motel, and the other is a luxury hotel.

NOTE: You will also see the related expression “compare apples to apples” which means to compare two things of the same type. This means that you are making a valid comparison, as opposed to when you’re comparing apples to oranges.

  • (to) go back to the drawing board

 to start a task over because the last try failed; to start again from the beginning

EXAMPLE: We didn’t like the print advertisement our ad agency designed, so we asked them to go back to the drawing board.

  • in the bag

 a sure thing

EXAMPLE: Boeing executives thought that the new military contract was in the bag and were surprised when it was awarded to Airbus instead.

SYNONYM: a done deal. Example: Boeing executives thought the new military contract was a done deal.

  • (to) jump through hoops

 to go through a lot of difficult work for something; to face many bureaucratic obstacles

EXAMPLE: We had to jump through hoops to get our visas to Russia, but we finally got them.

  • (to) miss the point

 to not understand

EXAMPLE: You’re missing the point. Your son wants an expensive new cell phone so he can impress his friends, not because he actually needs all of those bells and whistles.

  • (to) beef up

 to improve; to add to

EXAMPLE: Leave plenty of extra time at the airport. Ever since they beefed up security, it takes a long time to get through the lines.

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