Business Idioms 15: Review

Woman's face in the rear view mirror of a car
Take a look back

This lesson will look back on the previous four lessons. You will get a chance to remember and use idioms you have learned.


Recall the language you learned in previous lessons. What was your favourite idiom from each lesson? Have you had a chance to use it?

Your teacher will help you to remember at least two idioms from each unit.

  • Competition
  • Failure
  • Success 
  • Progress

A. Real-world examples

For each short passage below, do the following: 

  • Read the passage and predict the idiom.
  • Listen to the audio, identify the idiom and compare it to your prediction.
  • Explain in your own words what it means.

Note: don't try to grasp the full context; just focus on the idiom being used.

  1. A speaker at Stanford University (California, U.S.) talks about entrepreneurship and beginning a technology company.
    "If you want to invent a new technology, then to ___________, you may have to have that expertise yourself."
  2. A politician talks about winning a compromise versus failing to compromise.
    "In every compromise, some people give, and other people give to get to where you need to be. And, if you post a question where there's opposite ends and no compromise, you put yourself in a ___________."
  3. An interviewer asks an artist about her work, and the balance of tough times and success.
    "At the end of the day, you're very hopeful. That's what I got from a lot of your work is, yea, everything's terrible, but there is ___________."
  4. An ex-diplomat talks about the toughest negotiation he was involved in.
    "In diplomacy, so, I worked with some pretty bad guys when I was in Serbia. To beat this guy, because I wanted not only to see him lose, but I also wanted the country to go in the direction of being oriented towards Europe. And so I got to ___________."
  5. Education advocate Geoffrey Canada describes how the Western education calendar fails poor children.
    "Look! If the science says―this is science, not me―that our poorest children ___________ in the summertime; you see where they are in June and say okay, they're there. You look at them in September, they've gone down."
  6. A professor at Bristol University (Bristol, U.K.) welcomes students and talks about finding success in school and in life. 
    "Fourthly, for some of you, life may not be always ___________ during your time with us."
  7. A seminar presenter talks about the most important thing in building happy teams.
    "If a team is starting to work for the first time, getting everybody on the same page, and sharing what you're there to do, agreeing kind of what is the project mission, what are we here to do together today. If everybody kind of sets ___________ and agrees at the very beginning... "
  8. In a panel discussion, an expert talks about competition in the art world, and why he helped create a generous subsidy.
    "It was created because there was a feeling that the marketplace should not be the only determinant of what is seen, of what art survives and what art gets presented. That this is not capitalist, ___________. That there's art that's worth doing that has to be subsidized."

B. Discussion 

Now, speak naturally about the following topics.

  1. Describe an industry that has fierce competition.
    • Which players in that industry are succeeding in making progress
    • Which players are failing to make progress
  2. Describe an emerging industry.
    • Which players in that industry are succeeding
    • What progress has been made?

    • What degree of competition is there?

    • Has anyone failed in that industry yet?