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Speak Business English Like an American Lesson 9 Idioms and Expressions Test

Speak Business English Like an American Lesson 9 Idioms and Expressions Test

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LESSON 9 – Dealing with a Dissatisfied Customer


John hired Kevin s web design firm to design a website for his company, but John s not satisfied with the end result.

John: We’re disappointed with the website you designed for us. It’s a far cry from what we were expecting.

Kevin: I’m sorry you’re not satisfied. We really went all out to make it a great site.

John: Well, I’m not going to mince words. You charged us a pretty penny, and you didn’t deliver.

Kevin: Wow, I’m really surprised to hear you say that! We pulled out all the stops.

John: Don’t try to pull the wool over my eyes. You promised that your best people would work on this project, but our website looks like it was designed by a summer intern!

Kevin: What exactly is the problem with the site?

John: Where to begin? The shopping cart doesn’t even work.

Kevin: Really? Well, we’ll get right on that.

John: And you guys messed around forever getting the site done. You were three months behind schedule!

Kevin: I’m sorry about that. We were swamped. Let me make it up to you. We’ll give you a 25 percent discount on the project.


  • a far cry from

 different than; not at all like; much less than

EXAMPLE: Cisco Systems’ stock may be trading higher, but it’s still a far cry from where it was in 2000.

  • (to) go all out

 to make a big effort; to try hard

EXAMPLE: The small gift shop went all out on advertising in December, trying to increase its holiday sales.

  • (to) mince words

 to control one’s language so as to be polite

EXAMPLE: Sue told you your new product idea was “the stupidest idea she’s ever heard?” Clearly, she’s not one to mince words!

NOTE: Mince has two main meanings: in this expression, it means “to make less harsh.” It also means “to chop foods into tiny pieces.”

  • pretty penny

 a lot of money; too much money (when referring to the cost of something)

EXAMPLE: Ruth made a pretty penny selling antiques on eBay.

  • (to) deliver

 to meet expectations or requirements of a task, project, or job

EXAMPLE: You made a lot of promises during your job interview here. Now that you’re hired, I hope you can deliver!

  • (to) pull out all the stops

 to use all one’s resources to get something done; to try very hard

EXAMPLE: Many airline companies are pulling out all the stops to win the right to fly direct to China.

ORIGIN: This expression comes from the world of music. To increase the volume of a pipe organ, organists pull out stops (levers that control the volume).

  • (to) pull the wool over one’s eyes

 to deceive someone

EXAMPLE: Are you telling me the truth or are you trying to pull the wool over my eyes?

ORIGIN: In in the 17th and 18th centuries, men sometimes wore wigs. The “wool” refers to the wig (made of wool). Pulling the wool over the eyes made it impossible to see.

  • Where to begin?

 There is so much to say, I have to think about where to start (usually used when you’re about to complain and you want to stress that there’s a lot to complain about).

EXAMPLE: Your new marketing campaign has so many problems. Where to begin?

  • (to) get right on something

 to take care of something immediately

EXAMPLE: You need my help in finding a new office to lease? I’ll get right on that.

  • (to) mess around

 to waste time; to spend time with no particular purpose or goal

EXAMPLE: We don’t have time to mess around with the design for the packaging. Let’s just design it quickly and get it into production!

  • (to be) swamped

 to have too much work to do; to be extremely busy

EXAMPLE: Accounting firms are swamped during tax season.

  • (to) make it up to you

 to do something to compensate you for your trouble

EXAMPLE: I’m sorry that you weren’t happy with the sign we made for your business. Let me make it up to you and make a new sign for you at no charge.

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