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Speak Business English Like an American Lesson 6 Idioms and Expressions Test

Speak Business English Like an American Lesson 6 Idioms and Expressions Test

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LESSON 6 – Discussing Good Results


Peter, Linda, and Todd work as managers at Capital City Bank, a retail bank. Linda s creative idea for attracting new customers to the bank has generated lots of new business.

Peter: Great news! We had a record-breaking quarter. We brought in revenues of $500,000.

Linda: Wow, revenues really were through the roof!

Todd: That’s great. Kudos to Linda! She deserves a pat on the back. The guerrilla marketing campaign she dreamed up was brilliant. She sent out e-mail to all of our customers asking them to e-mail a friend about our services. For each friend they e-mailed, they received a free gift.

Peter: Linda, your campaign helped us drum up a lot of business. We signed on 800 new customers.

Linda: I’m really glad my plan panned out. I thought it would, since everybody loves a freebie!

Todd: Linda, we can always count on you to think outside the box.

Linda: For the record, Peter helped me come up with the idea.

Peter: Thanks for sharing the credit, Linda. But it was your idea.

Todd: The important thing is that we’re now giving our biggest competitor, U.S. Bank, a run for their money.


  • record-breaking

 better than ever before; exceeding all previous results

EXAMPLE: After another record-breaking quarter, eBay’s stock price hit a new high.

  • through the roof

 very high; higher than expected

EXAMPLE: No wonder people are complaining about the cost of heating their homes. Oil prices have gone through the roof!

  • kudos to

 I’d like to give credit to; I’d like to acknowledge

EXAMPLE: Kudos to our R&D department. They’ve come up with a new shampoo formula that’s cheaper to manufacture and more effective on damaged hair.

NOTE: Kudos is the Greek word for “praise.”

  • a pat on the back

 credit; recognition; praise

EXAMPLE: “Team, give yourselves a pat on the back. Our results are in and we just had our most successful quarter ever!”

  • guerrilla marketing

 innovative methods to sell products; non-traditional methods of advertising or promotion that deliver good results with minimal spending

EXAMPLE: To promote his new Internet dating service, Don painted his car pink and wrote “Don’s Dating Service” in big letters on both sides of the car. That’s effective guerrilla marketing!

NOTE: The word “guerrilla” refers to carrying on a war using independent bands of soldiers, who tend to use very aggressive and non-traditional tactics to win battles.

  • dream up

 to think up something creative or unusual; to come up with an original idea; to invent

EXAMPLE: A disposable lemon-scented toilet brush? What will companies dream up next?

  • (to) drum up business

 to create business; to find new customers

EXAMPLE: Sales have been very slow lately. Do you have any ideas for drumming up business?

  • (to) sign on new customers (or members)

 to enlist new customers; to get customers to open an account or take a membership

EXAMPLE: The fitness center was able to sign on 300 new members in May thanks to their successful advertising campaign.

  • (to) pan out

 to succeed; to bring the desired results

EXAMPLE: When Steve’s career in acting didn’t pan out, he decided to go to business school.

  • (to) think outside the box

 to think creatively; to think in a new and different way

EXAMPLE: The small law firm is losing business to larger rivals. The firm needs to think outside the box and come up with some creative ways to market its services.

NOTE: This expression is now overused. You will likely hear it, but you may not want to use it.

ORIGIN: This phrase refers to a puzzle used by consultants in the 1970s and 1980s. To solve it, you must connect nine dots, using four straight lines drawn continuously. Your pen must never leave the paper. (The only solution to this puzzle is to draw lines outside the border of the box. Therefore, you must “think outside the box” to solve the puzzle).

  • for the record

 let me make my opinion clear

EXAMPLE: I know that everybody else likes the idea of using a bear for a mascot, but, just for the record, I think it’s a lousy idea.

  • (to) share the credit

 to acknowledge someone else’s contribution; to share with somebody else recognition for a job well done

EXAMPLE: Thank you for giving me the award for coming up with the best new product idea this year. But I really need to share the credit with my colleagues in the marketing department.

  • (a) run for one’s money

 strong competition

EXAMPLE: When Yahoo decided to go into the online search business, they gave Google a run for their money.

ORIGIN: This expression comes from the world of horse racing. It refers to a horse on which one has bet money and which comes close to winning but doesn’t win.

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