Learn Business English Idioms



In today’s episode we will learn the most common Business Idioms. What does it mean To Be Flat Out? The expressions you hear in today’s show will help you integrate easily in any English-speaking business environment. Enjoy :)


Hola amigos y amigas, you are listening to the English Made Simple show, this is episode number 1-0-5, one hundred and five, numero ciento cinco.

Welcome ladies and gentlemen, guys and girls, welcome to the English Made Simple show with your host Milena from www.englishmadesimple.net.

And how do you do? How’s the weather? How’s the weather over there where you are? We just had the loveliest weather here in Melbourne, it was just perfect, sunny with clear blue sky, oh it was just splendid. Wonderful.

Enough, enough of the small talk. Let’s get down to business.

O M G. We need to start the show ASAP, as soon as possible.

Today’s show is going to be about business terms. I’m going to share a few business expressions in today’s episode and then next week we shall continue with some more business expressions or business phrases. So stay tuned amigos y amigas.

By the way, SMALL TALK – I mentioned earlier, is an expression as well – this is what you normally do when you talk with your colleagues before a meeting or when you arrive at work for example, you talk about trivial things, cosas triviales and this normally involves the weather. There is always a chat about weather. Always! I can guarantee that!

It’s very exciting stuff, very important. Of course, I am being sarcastic here, alright?

Alrighty, I am going to start off with an example. Just a random example.

Let’s say my colleague Samantha approaches me and says:

Hey Milena can you quickly help me out with something.

And I say, Oh I would love to but honestly, I feel so overwhelmed at the moment, I’m stressed out, I am really flat out, don’t have time for anything. I can’t cope with my current workload, it’s really stressful.

Alrighty, let’s consider that example now.

Let me explain 5 things from that example. The first one:

To feel overwhelmed means to feel too much pressure. In Spanish this would be estar sobrecargado.

I feel overwhelmed!

Another one I mentioned was:

To be stressed – again feeling too much pressure at work

The next word I used…the adjective, stressful – a stressful job is a hard and tough job. In Spanish, stressful is estresante.

A stressful job, trabajo estresante.

Cool! Easy peasy! And what else did I use here, a-ha! Workload. Very useful to know, the word workload. It basically means roo many tasks to do. I have too many tasks to work on.

And finally, the phrasal verb – Flat out – meaning to be super busy, working as fast or as hard as possible.

To be flat out.

Equivalent term in Spanish and Chilean – Lleno de pega, lleno de trabajo, tapado de trabajo.

I am really flat out, I don’t have time for anything.

There is an Aussie variation to this Phrasal Verb, it’s more of an Aussie expression really, an Australian expression… and the first time I heard this I was like – what?? What do you mean by that? That’s crazy! And it’s fine not to get it the first time, because this expression is really unique to Australia.

Also, if an Australian person uses this expression in the UK or the US no one would understand them.

But here is the expression anyway, you can use it for fun – it goes like this: I am flat out like a lizard drinking.

If you happen to live and work in Australia you would hear people around you say “I am flat out like a lizard drinking”. Meaning they are extremely busy.

It must be an Australian saying because it involves animals, it involves the lizards,you know those animals that look like chameleons …. just bigger and uglier. Lizards.

In Spanish, lizard- the word lizard is lagartija you know like a komodo dragon, lizards belong to family of reptiles, like snakes, they belong to a family of reptiles.

And here we go, I just got distracted again… this is not a biology class.

Let’s learn the next expression.

To throw in the towel – According to weon inteligente or the Online dictionary – to throw in the towel – means to quit something out of frustration. To quit basically.
Tirar o Arrojar la toalla in Spanish.

For example, I started to learn Japanese but I found it too hard and I threw in the towel.
Basically, I stopped learning it because it was too hard.

I threw in the towel – this is in the past tense.

The next expression:

To Mind your own business or It’s none of your business – no te metas, don’t interfere.
This one is quite self-explanatory, it’s obvious, don’t interfere just mind your own business.

Moving right along:

To go the extra mile or to go above and beyond – again 2 expressions here – to go the extra mile and to go above and beyond – they both mean the same thing.

They mean to do more than what is expected of you. It’s often used as marketing lingo, it’s a marketing term but can be used for personal things as well.

For example, we go the extra mile for our customers. We will be super accommodating, we will treat our customers extra nice.

Another example I can give you.

In each of my episodes I go above and beyond to deliver the most valuable content to you because I want you learn something new in every episode. I go above and beyond. I put in the extra effort in each of my episodes.

That’s why I can never keep my Short and Sweet episodes short, I always go over the 5 minutes. Because I am a chatterbox, I can’t stop talking. The 5 minutes was the limit I set for myself actually, it’s not written in stone.

Written in stone – another phrase for you amigos y amigas, it’s a figure of speech, when something is written in stone, it means it is a permanent rule, it can’t be changed.

But, I said – It is not written in stone – meaning it’s not a permanent rule.

Cool! Are you following me so far? Shall we continue to the next phrase, we have 2 more left before we wrap up. Before we conclude.

The next phrase:

Word of mouth – the English Made Simple show is growing exponentially and this is all thanks to word-of-mouth.

Meaning, people talk to their friends and they share their favourite episodes with their friends. And so effectively, they are spreading the message about English Made Simple, which is awesome! Thanks guys!

Word-of-mouth is a marketing term, and typically for any business out there, word of mouth marketing is the best form of marketing. Cool!

And this bring us to the end of today’s show. How about we touch base next week? Ok?

Oh btw, To touch base is another useful expression – extremely useful expression – and it means to get in touch or to make contact. This one is really good to know amigos, use it when writing emails or when you are at business meetings. To touch base.

So amigos y amigas, let’s touch base next week. Until then, it’s been a pleasure as always and I am looking forward to the next week. You’ve been jamming with Milena from English Made Simple, until next time muchachos y muchachas, hasta la proxima!

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