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Speak Business English Like an American Lesson 7 Idioms and Expressions Test

Speak Business English Like an American Lesson 7 Idioms and Expressions Test

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LESSON 7 – Discussing Bad Results


Ron, Alex, and P am work for Brooklyn Brewski, a company that brews and distributes beer throughout New York. The company s recent results have been terrible.

Alex: We need to face the music here. We’re in deep trouble! Sales are down by 50 percent versus last year.

Pam: It looks like we’re going to be in the red for the year to the tune of $1 million.

Ron: No wonder. We’re losing market share to Manhattan Beer.

Alex: Why? We need to get to the bottom of this!

Pam: Every year they come up with new beers. They’re really on top of trends. For instance, last year they released a low carb beer.

Ron: No wonder they’re eating our lunch! They’re cashing in on the latest trends and bringing great new products to market.

Pam: Meanwhile, we’re running in place. We need a new product line and new ideas for marketing.

Alex: It’s time to clean house and bring some new blood into this company.

Ron: You took the words right out of my mouth! We need some new people with fresh ideas.


  • (to) face the music

 to admit that there’s a problem; to deal with an unpleasant situation realistically

EXAMPLE: Enron executives finally had to face the music and admit that they were involved in some illegal activities.

  • in deep trouble

 having a serious problem; in crisis

EXAMPLE: If there’s another winter without any snowfall, Craig’s snow plowing business is going to be in deep trouble.

  • in the red

 losing money; when expenses are greater than revenues

EXAMPLE: We need to do something to start making profits. If we’re in the red for one more quarter, we’re going to go out of business.

NOTE: This expression comes from the accounting practice of marking debits (subtractions to the account) in red and credits (additions to the account) in black. The opposite of “in the red” is “in the black,” meaning profitable.

  • to the tune of (followed by a number)

 in the amount of; approximately

EXAMPLE: This year, our Beijing office will bring in revenues to the tune of two million dollars.

  • no wonder

 it’s not surprising that

EXAMPLE: No wonder Randy hasn’t been promoted in 10 years. He just sits in his office surfing the Internet all day.

  • market share

 the percentage of sales a company has in relation to its competitors for a product or product line

EXAMPLE: We’re in trouble. Our market share went from 50 percent last year to only 20 percent this year!

  • (to) gain market share

 to increase one’s share of the market.

Example: With the launch of their popular new herbal toothpaste, Colgate gained market share.

  • (to) lose market share

 to decrease one’s share of the market.

Example: Last year, Internet Explorer lost market share to one of its rivals, Mozilla.

  • (to) steal market share (from)

 to take sales away from a competitor.

Example: Motorola and Samsung are trying to steal market share from Nokia.

  • (to) get to the bottom of something

 to figure out what’s going on; to find out what’s causing a problem

EXAMPLE: When hundreds of people had heart attacks after taking Zylestra’s new prescription drug, the Federal Drug Administration promised to get to the bottom of it.

  • on top of trends

 modern; aware and responding to the latest tastes

EXAMPLE: The Gap is on top of trends. They always have the latest styles in their stores.

  • eating one’s lunch

 taking away one’s business

EXAMPLE: Ever since Wal-Mart came into town, our local stores have been doing poorly. Wal-Mart is eating their lunch.

  • (to) cash in on

 to make money on; to benefit financially from

EXAMPLE: Jamie Oliver, star of the TV show The Naked Chef, cashed in on his popularity by writing cookbooks and opening restaurants.

  • (to) bring a product to market

 to introduce or launch a new product

EXAMPLE: Next year will be very busy for Procter & Gamble’s Oil of Olay division. They’re going to bring many new products to market.

  • (to) run in place

 to not make any progress; to be stuck; to remain in the same place for a long period of time

EXAMPLE: Our company needs to come up with some innovative new products. We’ve been running in place for years.

  • (to) clean house

 to fire a lot of employees

EXAMPLE: The airline was nearly bankrupt. They had no choice but to clean house.

  • new blood

 new employees

EXAMPLE: When the biotech company brought some new blood into their R&D department, their business really started to improve.

  • You took the words right out of my mouth!

 I completely agree with you; I was just going to say that

EXAMPLE: “I hope the boss doesn’t hold our holiday party at his house again this year.” “You took the words right out of my mouth! I’d much rather go to a restaurant.”

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