Sunday, 19 February 2012

TALKING ABOUT A PHOTO (English for photographers I)

 to view a photo(graph) visionar una foto
to describe a photo (fully/completely, in detail, etc.)  describir una imagen (totalmente, en detalle, etc.)
descriptive vocabulary  vocabulario descriptivo
what is (being) photographed lo que está siendo fotografiado
what is depicted lo que se retrata  (syn. what is portrayed)
what is represented lo que está representado
in the photo en la foto
the still camera la cámara fija
cam (tronc. fam. de camera) cámara
 (paper)print  edición impresa (el resultado)
black-and-white print edición en blanco y negro
colour print edición en color
the vertical format formato vertical (syn. the portrait format el formato retrato)
the horizontal format formato horizontal (syn. the landscape format el formato paisaje)
 digital image imagen digital

 magazine revista
photo(graphy) magazine revista de fotografía (syn. picture magazine)
the cover page of a magazine la portada de la revista
newspaper periódico
half-tone simili (grabado) (= imagen de puntos)
handout photo foto destinada a la prensa
magazine advertisement anuncio en una revista
still from a film foto extraída de una película  (syn. film still)
publication date fecha de publicación

 picture fotografía, imagen, pintura, ilustración
to take (took, taken) a picture tomar una foto (of, de) (syn. to snap a photo of)
series of pictures serie de imágenes
still pictures imágenes fijas
the picture taker el autor de la foto
pic (tronc. de picture) (pl pics/pix) 1/ foto de prensa; 2/ imagen
architectural pics fotos de arquitectura
(photographic) image imagen fotográfica
(photographic) imagery imágenes (pl) fotográficas
landscape imagery imágenes de paisajes
photograph (fa) la fotografía
photo (tronc. de photograph) (pl photos) foto, cliché
photographer fotógrafo
photo junkie (fam.) apasionado por la fotografía (syn. shutterbug (fam.) 
black and white photo foto en blanco y negro ≠ colour photo foto en color
snapshot photograph  instantánea;
photo that shocks imagen impactante
photomontage montaje fotográfico
still life photo(graph) fotografía de naturaleza muerta
fashion photo(graph) fotografía de moda
stock photo(graph) fotografía del banco de imágenes
vintage photo(graph) fotografía antigua
1930’s vintage photograph fotografía de los años 30
archive photo imagen de archivo (an archive of photographs un archivo fotográfico)
to photograph fotografiar
nicely photographed bien fotografiado!
photographic portrait retrato fotográfico
shot fotografía
holiday snapshot fotografía de vacaciones
to snap somebodyfotografiar a alguien
outdoor shot fotografía de exterior (≠ indoor shot fotografía de interior)
night shot fotografía nocturna (syn. night view)
aerial shot fotografía aérea
pan shot vista panorámica
perspective shot vista en perspectiva
reverse shot contrechamp (shot taken in the opposite direction to that of the previous shot fotografía sacada en la dirección opuesta a la fotografía anterior)
front(al) shot foto de cara ≠ back shot foto desde detrás
to shoot (shot, shot) a picture hacer una foto (of, de)
shooting toma de fotos
a photo shoot una sesión de fotos during a shoot durante la sesión de fotos
view vista
view from an aeroplane window onto the blue sky vista del cielo azul desde una ventana de avión
front view vista de la parte anterior≠ back view vista de la parte posterior (syn. rear view)
aerial view vista aérea
mountain view vista de las montañas
sea view vista del mar
nature view vista de la naturaleza
frame (aparte de "marco"): 1/ imagen fija; 2/fotograma
to take a couple of frames using a telephoto lens tomar algunas imágenes usando un teleobjetivo
blow-up ampliación (syn. enlargement)
picture postcard postal fotográfica
vintage postcard postal antigua
cartoon viñeta
cartoonist diseñador de viñetas
caption la frase de la viñeta (syn. amér. cutline)
strip cartoon viñeta dibujada
speech balloon el "bocadillo" de la viñeta
idea balloon imagen de idea en la viñeta
thought balloon "bocadillo" con los pensamientos del personaje
a thought balloon coming from a character’s head / appearing above a character "bocadillo" con los pensamientos del personaje saliendo de la cabeza del personaje/apareciendo sobre el personaje
still(s) man fotógrafo de escenario
poster cartel
movie poster cartel de cine
celebrity poster cartel de un personaje conocido
advertisement (fa) anuncio publicitario
advertising publicidad
advertiser publicista
advert (tronc. de advertisement) anuncio
ad (tronc. de advertisement) (pl ads) anuncio

Some more words and phrases here. Also in French.

VOCABULARY: TALKING ABOUT A PHOTO -English for photographers.  -<Tweet this 



diafragma, abertura
barrel tubo del objetivo
cable release cable disparador
camera cámara fotográfica
cover tapa
darkroom cuarto oscuro
to develop revelar
development revelado
digital camera cámara digital
to enlarge ampliar
enlarger ampliadora
enlargement ampliación
expose counter contador de fotos
exposure meter fotómetro
eyepiece ocular
film película
filter filtro
filter holder portafiltro
flash lamp flash
flash socket toma para flash
focus enfoque
to focus enfocar
frame marco
lens objetivo
negative negativo
photo fotografía
photograph fotografía
photographer fotógrafo
portrait retrato
to print imprimir
print copia
rangefinder telémetro
roll carrete de fotos
screen pantalla
shutter release disparador
slide diapositiva
snap (informal) fotografía
snapshot fotografía
telephoto teleobjetivo
three-legged stand trípode
tripod trípode
viewfinder visor
wide-angle gran angular

Friday, 10 February 2012


In modern English, presentations tend to be much less formal than they were twenty years ago. Most audience these days prefer a relatively informal approach. However, there is a certain structure to the opening of a Presentation that you should observe.
  1. Get people's attention
  2. Welcome them
  3. Introduce yourself
  4. State the purpose of your presentation
  5. State how you want to deal with questions
Get people's attention
  • If I could have everybody's attention.
  • If we can start.
  • Perhaps we should begin?
  • Let's get started.
Welcome them
  • Welcome to (name of company).
  • Thank you for coming today.
  • Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.
  • On behalf of (name of company), I'd like to welcome you.
Introduce yourself
  • My name's ..... I'm responsible for (your position at the company).
  • For those of you who don't know me, my name's ....
  • As you know, I'm in charge of (your position at the company).
  • I'm the new (your position at the company).
State the purpose of your presentation
  • This morning I'd like to present (a product).
  • Today I'd like to discuss...
  • This afternoon, I'd like to report on ...
  • What I want to do this morning is to talk to you about ....
  • What I want to do is to tell you about...
  • What I want to do is to show you...
State how you want to deal with questions.
  • If you have any questions, I'll be happy to answer them as we go along.
  • Feel free to ask any questions.
  • Perhaps we can leave any questions you have until the end?
  • There will be plenty of time for questions at the end. 

It is important to state your purpose clearly at the beginning of your talk. Here are some ways to do this:

talk about = to speak about a subject
  • Today I'd like to talk about our plans for the new site.
  • I'm going to be talking to you about the results of our survey.
report on = to tell you about what has been done.
  • I'm going to be reporting on our results last quarter.
  • Today I will be reporting on the progress we have made since our last meeting.
take a look at = to examine
  • First, let's take a look at what we have achieved so far.
  • Before we go on to the figures, I'd like to take a look at the changes we have made.
tell you about = to speak to someone to give them information or instructions
  • First, I will tell you about the present situation, then go onto what we are going to do.
  • When I have finished, Jack will then tell you about what is happening in Europe.
show = to explain something by doing it or by giving instructions.
  • The object of this morning's talk is to show you how to put the theory into practice.
  • Today I'm going to show you how to get the most out of the new software.
outline = to give the main facts or information about something.
  • I'd like to outline the new policy and give you some practical examples.
  • I will only give you a brief outline and explain how it affects you.

fill you in on = to give some extra or missing information
  • I'd like to quickly fill you in on what has happened.
  • When I have finished outlining the policy, Jerry will fill you in on what we want you to do.
give an overview of = to give a short description with general information but no details.
  • Firstly, I would like to give you a brief overview of the situation.
  • I'll give you an overview of our objectives and then hand over to Peter for more details.
highlight = draw attention to or emphasize the important fact or facts.
  • The results highlight our strengths and our weaknesses.
  • I'd now like to go on to highlight some of the advantages that these changes will bring.
discuss = to talk about ideas or opinions on a subject in more detail.
  • I'm now going to go on to discuss our options in more detail.
  • After a brief overview of the results, I'd like to discuss the implications in more detail.


When you want to make your next point, you ‘move on’.
  • Moving on to the next point.
  • I’d like to move on to the next point if there are no further questions
When you want to change to a completely different topic, you ‘turn to’.
  • I’d like to turn to something completely different.
  • Let’s turn now to our plans for next year.
When you want to give more details about a topic you ‘expand’ or ‘elaborate’.
  • I’d like to expand more on this problem we have had in Chicago.
  • Would you like me to expand a little more on that or have you understood enough?
  • I don’t want to elaborate any more on that as I’m short of time.
When you want to talk about something which is off the topic of your presentation, you ‘digress’.
  • I’d like to digress here for a moment and just say a word of thanks to Bob for organizing this meeting.
  • Digressing for a moment, I’d like to say a few words about our problems in Chicago.
When you want to refer back to an earlier point, you ‘go back’.
  • Going back to something I said earlier, the situation in Chicago is serious.
  • I’d like to go back to something Jenny said in her presentation.
To just give the outline of a point, you ’summarize’.
  • If I could just summarize a few points from John’s report.
  • I don’t have a lot of time left so I’m going to summarize the next few points.
To repeat the main points of what you have said, you ‘recap’.
  • I’d like to quickly recap the main points of my presentation.
  • Recapping quickly on what was said before lunch,……
For your final remarks, you ‘conclude’.
  • I’d like to conclude by leaving you with this thought ……
  • If I may conclude by quoting Karl Marx ……. 
    If you get your facts wrong.
    • I am terribly sorry. What I meant to say was this.
    • Sorry. What I meant is this.
    If you have been going too fast and your audience is having trouble keeping up with you.
    • Let me just recap on that.
    • I want to recap briefly on what I have been saying.
    If you have forgotten to make a point.
    • Sorry, I should just mention one other thing.
    • If I can just go back to the previous point, there is something else that I forgot to mention.
    If you have been too complicated and want to simplify what you said.
    • So, basically, what I am saying is this.
    • So, basically, the point I am trying to get across is this.
    If you realize that what you are saying makes no sense.
    • Sorry, perhaps I did not make that quite clear.
    • Let me rephrase that to make it quite clear.
    If you cannot remember the term in English.
    • Sorry, what is the word I am looking for?
    • Sorry, my mind has gone blank. How do you say 'escargot' in English?
    If you are short of time.
    • So just to give you the main points.
    • As we are short of time, this is just a quick summary of the main points.

    At the end of your talk, you may get questions. You don't have to answer all the questions - they may not be good questions!
    • If it is a good question, thank the person and answer it.
    • Some of the questions may be irrelevant and not connected to what you want to say. Say so and get another question.
    • Some may be unnecessary because you have already given the answer. Repeat the answer briefly and get the next question.
    • And some may be difficult because you don't have the information. Again, say so and offer to find the information or ask the person asking the question what they think.
    When you get a question, comment on it first. This will give you time to think. Here are some useful expressions to help you do that:
    • That's a very interesting question.
    • I'm glad you've asked that question.
    • A good question.
    • I'm sorry but I don't have that information to hand.
    • Can I get back to you about that?
    • I'm afraid I can't answer that.
    • I'm not in a position to comment on that.
    • As I said earlier, …
    • I think I answered that when I said …
    • I did mention that.
    • I don't see the connection.
    • I'm sorry, I don’t follow you.
    • I think that is a very different issue. 

    When you don't want to answer:
    • To be honest, I'm not really the person to ask about that.
    When someone interrupts you:
    • Sorry, could I just finish?
    When you finally understand what they want to know:
    • Oh I see. So what you are asking is …
    When you realise they don't understand what you said:
    • Perhaps I didn't make myself clear. What I was trying to say was …
    If you don't want to tell everyone:
    • Perhaps we can talk about it when I have finished.
    To close off the presentation:
    • If there are no more questions, we should stop there.
    Here are some ways of getting an answer when you are the QUESTIONER:
    When the answer doesn't give you the information you want:
    • Yes, that may be so, but what I want to know is …
    When the answer is evasive:
    • Yes, but you still haven't answered my question.
    If you are sceptical and want more detail:
    • Well, I'm not so sure. Can you give us an example to illustrate that?
    If you don't agree:
    • That may be so, but I still think ...



              If you "can't get a word in edgeways", this means that you have no chance to say anything.
    • So many people were trying to speak that I couldn't get a word in edgeways.
    It's also possible to say "can't get a word in edgewise".
    • Kate never stops talking. It's difficult to get a word in edgewise.
    If you have forgotten what you were talking about, you have "lost your train of thought".
    • Sorry, I've lost my train of thought after that interruption. What was I saying?
    If you have absolutely no idea about something, you "haven't a clue".
    • I haven't a clue what the capital of Kazakhstan is. Can you help me?
    If you cannot understand something, you "can't make head nor tail" of it.
    • I'm trying to assemble this IKEA table and I can't make head nor tail of the instructions.
    If you forgot about something, it "slipped your mind".
    • I was going to send it to you but I'm afraid it completely slipped my mind.
    If you have to choose between two alternatives and you are finding it difficult, you are "caught between two stools".
    • I'm not sure if I should fly to London or take the train. I'm really caught between two stools on this one.
    If something tries to be two things but is not very good at being either it "falls between two stools".
    • It's supposed to be a telephone and an MP3 player but it falls between two stools and isn't very good at either.
    If you are trying to remember something and cannot quite remember it, it is "on the tip of your tongue".
    • What's her name again? It's on the tip of my tongue.
    If you don't understand something, you can say that "it beats me".
    • It beats me why this car won't start. Everything appears OK with it.
    Sometimes, explanations are too difficult or technical for us – they "go over our heads".
    • He tried to explain the problem with the reactor but I'm afraid it just went over my head.
    Sometimes we think and think about something, trying to remember a name, for example. You can say you have been "racking my brain".
    • I've been racking my brain trying to remember the name of that lawyer we met last year in Dubai.
    If you 'put your back into' something, you work really hard.
    • If we want to dig that pond today, we're going to have to really put our backs into it. The ground is so hard.
    If somebody is giving you orders/nagging you etc., you can ask them to 'get off your back'. This is not very polite!
    • I know you are my boss but could you just get off my back for a bit and let me work in peace?
    If you do something well you 'deserve a pat on the back'.
    • He deserves a pat on the back for the way he has got everybody working so hard.
    Sometimes people criticize you but not to your face. They talk 'behind your back'.
    • I hate people who won't say anything to your face but talk about you behind your back.
    Sometimes we agree to do something for somebody if they agree to do something for you – 'you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours'.
    • I'll stand in for you at the meeting if you'll work late for me on Thursday. You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.
    If you stop doing something that you used to do regularly, you 'turn your back on' it.
    • I used to go out to nightclubs every night but I turned my back on all that when I started working for this company.
    If somebody who is not popular is leaving, you 'won't be sorry to see the back of him'.
    • My boss is getting promoted and moving to Madrid. I won't be sorry to see the back of him. He was always criticizing me.
    If somebody makes you angry, they 'get your back up'.
    • He really gets my back up when he starts saying how women are inferior to men.
    If you are in a very bad situation, you have your 'backs to the wall'.
    • Either this works or the company closes. Our backs are to the wall.
    If somebody does something bad to you, you may want to try to 'get your own back'.
    • He played a joke on me but I got my own back by having a lot of horse manure delivered to his house.
    Sometimes we try not to worry about things but a small worry remains 'in the back of my mind'.
    • I know he will probably do a good job but in the back of my mind I can't help thinking about the problems he had last year.
    If you know something really well, you know it 'like the back of your hand'.
    • I know my way around New York like the back of my hand.
    If criticism has no effect on somebody, it is 'like water off a duck's back'.
    • I told her yet again about being late for meetings but it's like water off a duck's back with her.
    If a place is very isolated geographically, it is 'in the back of beyond'.
    • They set up their new factory in the back of beyond. There is no airport for two hundred miles.
    If you do not have a major role in an activity, you 'take a back seat'.
    • I don't have the time to do much on this so I suggest I take a back seat and you drive it forward. 
    You can 'gain ground' on your competition.

    • We've gained ground in the Japanese market. We now have a 20% market share, up from just 7% last year.
    You ' don't give up without a fight.'
    • I don't think we should just withdraw the product because we have such a poor share of the market. Let's not give up without a fight. Let's try some other marketing strategies.
    You may need to 'reinforce' your marketing position.
    • Our sales team is doing badly against the competition. We may need to reinforce the team with some new recruits.
    You can 'join forces' with another company.
    • In China, we've decided to join forces with a local company and set up a joint venture.
    If you receive a lot of enquiries, you can say you are 'bombarded' with them.
    • After our last radio campaign, we were bombarded with calls to our customer lines.
    If you don't want your boss to notice you, it's a good idea to 'keep your head down'.
    • The boss is very angry. It would be a good idea to keep your head down for a few days.
    You can 'set your sights on ' an objective.
    • I've set my sights on being the next sales manager.
    Often different departments of a company have a 'battle' over budgets.
    • There isn't much money and Accounts and Marketing are having a big battle over the advertising budget.
    Some people seem to do things which make them look bad – they are 'their own worst enemy'.
    • He's always irritating the boss by being late for meetings. He's his own worst enemy.
    Most companies set 'targets' for their employees.
    • Our target this year is to increase sales by 10%.
    You can 'capture' a larger share of a market.
    • We need to capture more of the youth market.
    When businesses fail because of a poor economy, they can be said to be 'casualties'.
    • They were a casualty of the last recession.
    If there are a lot of potential problems in doing something, it can be described as a 'minefield'.
    • The workers are very unhappy and so are the customers. Taking over that company would be a real minefield.

    You can spend time.
    • I spent 3 hours doing that.
    You can waste time.
    • I wasted an hour waiting for her.
    Time can be a waste.
    • It's not worth going. The whole exhibition is a waste of time.
    You can value time.
    • I value every minute I get to spend with my baby.
    You can run out of time.
    • I didn't get the project finished as I would have liked. I ran out of time.
    You can spare time.
    • Can you spare me a few minutes?
    Time can be precious.
    • I travel a lot so the time I spend at home is very precious to me.
    You can afford time.
    • We can't afford to spend any more time on this. We have a lot to cover today.
    You can save time.
    • I've already dug out the old files to save time today.
    You can be short of time.
    • We're short of the time we need to do a good job on this.
    You can have plenty of time.
    • We have plenty of time to worry about this later. 

      To say that you are in good health, you can use the expressions 'as fit as a fiddle' or 'fighting fit'.
      • I've never felt better. I'm really fighting fit.
      • After those vitamins the doctor gave me, I feel as fit as a fiddle.
      (Yes, 'fiddle' is another word for 'violin'. No, I don't understand the origins of this expression either!)
      To say that you are OK ( but are not in really good health) use 'I can't complain'
      • I've had a bit of a cold but I can't complain.
      (As I'm still off work, I've not been able to check out if this expression is used in US English. I'll let you know later.)
      To say that you have recovered from an illness, you can use these expressions:
      • I was knocked out for a few days but now I'm back on my feet.
      • I was quite ill but now I feel as right as rain.
      • I'm well on the way to recovery.
      • The doctor gave me a clean bill of health.
      Here are some expressions to indicate you are not in good health.
      • I'm a bit out of sorts.
      • I'm going down with something.
      • I'm feeling very run down.
      • There's a bug going round and I think I've got it.
      • I'm feeling a bit off-colour/off-color.
      • I'm feeling under the weather.
      Here is an expression for bad headaches.
      • I've got a splitting headache.

      Here is an expression to indicate a lot of pain.
      • My legs are killing me.
      • My back is killing me.
      Here is an expression to indicate a serious illness.
      • He's in a very bad way.

      If you get discouraged, you 'lose heart'.
      • When I saw how good the other contestants were I began to lose heart a bit.
      • Don't lose heart. We can still do well.
      At the moment you feel disappointed or discouraged your 'heart sinks'.
      • My heart sank when I saw how much work was left to do.
      • Her heart sank when she heard the bad news.
      If you really really want to do or have something, you 'set your heart on' it.
      • I've set my heart on getting a Ferrari before I am thirty.
      • She set her heart on getting that job so she's very disappointed.
      If you find encouragement from something, you 'take heart'.
      • I took heart from your words of encouragement.
      • We should take heart from our improved performance in Italy.
      If you cannot refuse somebody something, even though you know it is not a good idea, you 'didn't have the heart to say no'.
      • She really wanted to borrow it and I didn't have the heart to say no.
      • When he pleaded with me, I didn't have the heart to say no.
      If something will make you very sad, it will 'break your heart'.
      • It breaks my heart to sell my car but it's become too unreliable.
      • It breaks my heart to leave here. I've really enjoyed it.
      If you care a lot about something, it is 'a subject close to your heart'.
      • Fighting world hunger is a subject close to my heart.
      • Punctuality is a subject close to my heart.
      If somebody is very kind and generous to others, they have 'a heart of gold'.
      • He appears bad –tempered but he's got a heart of gold.
      • Under that gruff exterior lurks a heart of gold.
      If you are no longer motivated to do something, your 'heart is not in it'.
      • I'm going to give up this job. My heart is not in it any more.
      • She went through the motions but her heart just wasn't in it.
      Your truest inner feelings are your 'heart of hearts'.
      • In my heart of hearts, I never really wanted to leave here.
      • I'm happy in my management job but in my heart of hearts I'd rather still be a researcher.
      If you change your mind, you 'have a change of heart'.
      • We weren't going to give him the promotion but then we had a change of heart.
      • After a change of heart, she finally agreed to move to Berlin.
      If you are well-intentioned, your 'heart is in the right place'.
      • He is a bit rude sometimes but his heart is in the right place.
      • She makes a lot of mistakes but her heart is in the right place and she always does her best.
      If you memorize something word by word you learn them 'by heart'.
      • I've decided to learn the English irregular verbs by heart.
      • There is no need to tell me about it. I've read so much about it that I know all the details by heart.
      If you have an intimate discussion about your true feelings, you have a 'heart-to-heart' talk.
      • Something is bothering him. I'm going to have a heart-to-heart talk with him and find out what it is.
      • We need to have a heart-to-heart discussion and clear the air between us.
      'At heart' can mean fundamentally, in one's deepest feelings.
      • He is a good all-round manager but at heart he's an engineer.
      • I want you to know that we have your best interests at heart in sending you to Berlin for a year.
      Remember that when we say 'I see' we can mean 'with my eyes' but we can also mean 'I understand'.
      • I'm not very happy with your decision.
      • I see. Is there anything I can do to persuade you?
      If you don't understand the reason for doing something, you 'can't see the point'.
      • I can't see the point in studying for this exam. I'll just fail anyway.
      • He refuses to come to the meeting. He said he couldn't see the point.
      If you communicate some information with no possible doubt, you 'make yourself clear'.
      • I thought I had made myself clear. I need the report by lunchtime.
      • I couldn't have made myself clearer. Everybody understood.
      If you try to understand how a different person sees a situation, you try to see it from their 'point of view'.
      • Try to see this from my point of view. I must have delivery by Friday or my production line will close down.
      • We must ask everyone concerned for their point of view before we decide.
      If you are aware of all the facts behind a decision, you take it with your 'eyes wide open'.
      • There's no use complaining now. We took that decision with our eyes wide open.
      • Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards. (Benjamin Franklin)
      If you persuade somebody to change their mind and agree with your point of view, they 'see reason'.
      • He argued and argued but finally he saw reason.
      • The workers asked for a 20% pay rise but finally they saw reason and accepted 3%.
      If you are obsessed with yourself and your own problems, you 'can't see past the end of your nose'.
      • She's so self-obsessed. She can't see past the end of her nose.
      • It must have been obvious that I couldn't cope but he couldn't see past the end of his nose and didn't offer to help.
      If you are unaware of a problem, you need to 'open your eyes'.
      • Open your eyes. Nobody here likes you.
      • He's too self-satisfied. He needs to open his eyes and take a good look at himself.
      If somebody is pretending to be what they are not and you are aware of this, you have 'seen through them'.
      • He claimed to have worked in Tokyo but I saw through him the minute we started talking about Japan.
      • Most people see through his lies pretty quickly.
      If you find out some information that really surprises you and change the way you feel, it is an 'eye-opener'.
      • I thought he was a good salesperson but seeing him with a customer was a real eye-opener. He was useless.
      • I thought I knew a lot about it but talking to Jenny was a real eye-opener. I learned so much.
      When you look back on an event 'in hindsight', you can often learn from it.
      • In hindsight, I wouldn't have started the negotiation so aggressively.
      • I should have done things differently in hindsight.
      Some racehorses wear 'blinkers' on their eyes to stop them from looking around and make them concentrate on the racetrack in front of them. When people don't consider all the possibilities, they are said to be 'blinkered'.
      • They're a bunch of blinkered old men and won't consider any new ideas.
      • He never listens to anybody else. He's blinkered.
      When you are told or read something which enables you to understand something you didn't previously understand, you 'get the picture'.
      • Thanks for telling me that. I get the picture
      • So he's the boss's son? I get the picture. I wondered how someone so young was doing that job.
      If you understand what somebody is explaining to you, you 'see what they mean'.
      • OK. I see what you mean. There's no need to say any more.
      • He was trying to explain something to me but I just didn't see what he meant.
      If there was a misunderstanding and it is now all explained, you 'cleared it up'.
      • I'm glad we've cleared up the misunderstanding about payment terms.
      • We need to clear up this misunderstanding at once.
      If you 'pave the way' it means to make progress easier.
      • The agreement on trade paves the way for better relations between the countries.
      • The discovery paved the way to the development of a new drug to treat diabetes.
      If you are 'set in your ways' , you resist any changes.
      • He's only 45 but he is so set in his ways he could be 75.
      • I'm too set in my ways to accept any changes.
      If you climb through the ranks of a company and reach a high position, you have 'worked your way to the top'.
      • He started here as a young man and gradually worked his way to the top of the company.
      • The best bosses have usually worked their way to the top and not been appointed from outside.
      If you want to buy something for $200 and the person wants you to pay $300, you can agree to 'meet halfway' and pay $250.
      • You want 600. I want 400. Let's meet each other halfway and agree on 500.
      • She wanted six weeks and he wanted ten. So they met each other halfway and decided on eight.
      If you speak well (and usually persuasively), you have 'a way with words'.
      • Let her talk to them. She has a way with words.
      • I know you have a way with words but you're not going to get me to change my mind.
      If you stop somebody from doing something, you 'stand in their way'.
      • I won't stand in your way if you want to apply for that job.
      • Nothing is going to stand in my way. I'm going to do it.
      Sometimes discussions don't stay on the subject and go 'way off' course.
      • We've wandered way off the subject.
      • I took a wrong turning and went way off course.
      If you make a lot of effort and inconvenience yourself to help somebody, you 'go out of your way' to help them.
      • I went out of my way to help him and he didn't even thank me.
      • Don't go out of your way to do it but, if you see any Cadbury's chocolate, will you get me some?
      Some people want both to work less and to earn more money. They want to 'have it both ways'.
      • You can't have it both ways. Which is more important to you?
      • A full-time job and a full-time family carer? It's difficult to have it both ways.
      If you want to avoid somebody, you 'keep out of their way'.
      • The boss is in a bad mood. Keep out of her way.
      • I wasn't deliberately keeping out of your way.
      If you change the order of two things, you put them 'the other way round'.
      • As Brian hasn't arrived yet, we're going to put the first two presentations the other way round and start with Jane's.
      • It's not that she's mad with him. It's the other way round. He's mad with her.
      'To my way of thinking' means 'in my opinion'.
      • Jane is a better speaker to my way of thinking.
      • To my way of thinking, we need to find a better candidate.
      If you have no opinion between two choices, you don't mind 'either way'.
      • Drive, if you prefer. I don't mind either way.
      • We could meet here or there. Either way is good for me.
      'On the way' means that it is coming.
      • I have a new baby on the way.
      • She's on her way but got held up in traffic.
      If things have changed a lot, they have 'come a long way'.
      • We started out in one small office but we've come a long way since then.
      • We've both come a long way since I first met you as an office junior.
      When you give some information as incidental to the main conversation, you can introduce it by saying 'by the way'.
      • By the way, did I tell you that Leslie is going to Ghana?
      • By the way, I'm taking tomorrow off.
      If you have an idea that has become an obsession, you have a 'bee in your bonnet'.
      • He's got a bee in his bonnet about politically correct language.
      • She's got a bee in her bonnet about recycling.
      When somebody loses a boyfriend or girlfriend, we can tell them that there are lots more possible candidates with an expression about fish:
      • There are plenty more fish in the sea.
      • There are other fish in the sea.
      If you disclose a secret, you 'let the cat out of the bag'.
      • The President's visit was supposed to be confidential but somebody must have let the cat out of the bag.
      • He thought she knew the secret and so he told her and let the cat out of the bag.
      If you are in an environment or doing an activity where you know nothing, you are 'like a fish out of water'.
      • When they started talking about nuclear physics I felt like a fish out of water.
      • I couldn't understand anything I read or heard in Tokyo and I was a real fish out of water.
      If there is a difficult situation but you take action to confront it you are taking 'the bull by the horns'.
      • I decided to take the bull by the horns and go in and ask for a raise.
      • If he's not doing his job, you are going to have to take the bull by the horns and tell him.
      If somebody is very restless, they have 'ants in their pants' (often shortened in US English to 'antsy'.)
      • He can't keep still. He's got ants in his pants.
      • The long wait made the children antsy.
      A member of a family or other group who is embarrassing, undesirable or disreputable is called a 'black sheep'.
      • I was always considered the black sheep of my family because I was a socialist.
      • My uncle went to prison and is considered the black sheep of the family.
      'Until/till the cows come home' means 'for a very long time'.
      • They could argue until the cows come home and still not reach an agreement.
      • "I could dance with you till the cows come home. Better still, I'll dance with the cows and you come home." (Groucho Marx)
      In British English, for a very small space we can say that :
      • There is no room to swing a cat.
      (A cat was an old form of whip – not the animal!)
      If you behave stupidly, carelessly or in a very casual manner, you 'monkey around'.
      • Stop monkeying around and get on with some work!
      • Who has been monkeying around with this machine?
      If you are very suspicious about something, you 'smell a rat'.
      • They said they will honor the contract but I smell a rat.
      • He said he was qualified but I smelled a rat, checked up on him and found out that he wasn't.
      If something 'goes to the dogs', it is in a bad state or even ruined.
      • Since he took over as chairman, the company has gone to the dogs.
      • This part of town has really gone to the dogs in the last few years.

      If you search for something which is futile, pointless or unattainable, you are on a 'wild-goose chase'.
      • He sent us on a wild-goose chase for a book that isn't being published until next year.
      • She sent us on a wild-goose chase looking for their beach house.
      A small sum of money (perhaps just comparatively small) can be called 'chicken feed'.
      • The salary they were offering was chicken feed compared to what I could earn as a consultant.
      • You can only make chicken feed profits teaching English on the Internet.
      If money will prevent poverty, it will 'keep the wolf from the door'.
      • The salary won't allow me to buy very much but it should keep the wolf from the door.
      • We need to get in some immediate income to keep the wolf from the door.
      Sometimes when you lose patience with something, it is something very minor which causes this, even though you didn't lose patience when there were other more serious problems earlier. This is the 'straw that broke the camel's back'.
      • I know it wasn't a major problem but it was the straw that broke the camel's back as far as I was concerned.
      • When they told me I had to work on Christmas Day, it was the straw that broke the camel's back and I left.
      If somewhere is very dirty or untidy, we can say it is a 'pigsty'.
      • This room looks like a pigsty.
      • The factory was like a pigsty with materials everywhere.
      If you quarrel all the time with somebody, you ' fight like cat and dog' .
      • They fought like cat and dog over the decision.
      • They can't work together. They fight like cat and dog.
      The best or greatest thing is 'the cat's whiskers'.
      • Now he has been promoted, he thinks he's the cat's whiskers.
      • Don't start thinking you are the cat's whiskers because you are not.
      If you are very nervous or uneasy, there are a couple of expression using 'cat'.
      • He's like a cat on a hot tin roof.
      • She's like a cat on hot bricks.
      If you look dirty, messy or bedraggled, you 'look like something the cat brought/dragged in'.
      • Tidy yourself up. You look like something the cat brought in.
      • He turned up looking like something the cat dragged in.
      If you have absolutely no chance, you have a 'cat in hell's chance'.
      • We have a cat in hell's chance of getting the contract.
      • He has a cat in hell's chance of going out with her.
      If you are being teased cruelly by someone without knowing exactly what their intentions are, they are 'playing cat and mouse' with you.
      • They are playing cat and mouse with us about renewing the contract.
      • I don't have any time for these cat and mouse games.
      When you do something, often suddenly, that is generally disturbing or upsetting, you 'put the cat among the pigeons'.
      • The announcement of the takeover by Glazer has really put the cat among the pigeons.
      • We need to find a way to put the cat among the pigeons and shake them up a bit.

      If you are 'at the end of your tether' or 'at the end of your rope' (US only) you are so tired, weary or annoyed with something that you feel unable to deal with it any more.
      • He hasn't been able to find a job and is at the end of his tether.
      • That baby hasn't stopped crying all day and I'm at the end of my rope.
      If you are worried or upset about something because you have tried every possible solution and nothing has worked, you are 'at your wits' end'.
      • Nothing I've tried seems to work. I'm at my wits' end.
      • She can't get him to follow her orders. She's at her wits' end.
      If something keeps on repeating and it annoys you, it 'gets on your nerves'. (This is informal.)
      • His constant talking is getting on my nerves.
      • We don't work well together. We get on each other's nerves.
      If you 'add insult to injury', you make a bad situation even worse.
      • He was an hour late for the meeting and then, to add insult to injury, he spent twenty minutes on the telephone.
      • To add insult to injury, not only did she not come to the meeting but she then insisted that she had never been invited.
      'The last straw' is the last in a series of unpleasant events which makes you decide that the situation cannot continue.
      • Working in the company was not very nice so, when they asked me to take a pay cut, it was the last straw and I left.
      • The last straw was when he came back from lunch at 4.00. I sacked him on the spot.
      If someone keeps doing something and it is making you very angry, it is 'driving you round/around the bend'. (This expression is informal.)
      • Her constant moaning is driving me around the bend.
      • She rings me up every week trying to sell me something. It's driving me round the bend.
      Another similar expression is 'driving me up the wall'. (This expression is informal.)
      • The way she always arrives one hour late is driving me up the wall.
      • All these telephone calls are driving me up the wall.
      A similar expression, but more formal, is 'driving me to distraction'.
      • The way he whistles all the time is driving me to distraction.
      • Her insolence is driving me to distraction.
      If you are 'tearing your hair out', you are very frustrated.
      • I've been tearing my hair out trying to timetable this meeting.
      • I'm tearing my hair out trying to solve the problem.
      If you say that you 'will kick yourself', it means that you will be angry with yourself for missing an opportunity.
      • I could have kicked myself for wasting time earlier when I found out I'd missed the plane by only five minutes.
      • If I don't buy one now and they sell out quickly, I'll kick myself.
      If you are 'out of your depth', you don't have the necessary knowledge, experience or skill to deal with a particular situation or subject.
      • When she started talking about quantum physics, I felt completely out of my depth.
      • I'm an engineer. I feel out of my depth when we discuss accounting problems.
      If you are on 'the crest of a wave', you are being extremely successful or popular. If something is popular, you can try to 'ride (on) the wave'.
      • James Blunt is on the crest of the wave in the UK at the moment. You can hear his music everywhere.
      • He became successful riding on the wave of using British actors as villains in Hollywood movies.
      If you don't get any training before you start a job or activity, you are 'thrown in at the deep end'.
      • Everyone was off sick so I was thrown in at the deep end.
      • The best way to learn the job is to be thrown in at the deep end.
      If you are struggling to spend less than you earn, you are trying to 'keep your head above water'.
      • Since they increased my rent, I've been struggling to keep my head above water.
      • With the new sponsorship, the team should be able to keep its head above water.
      If a company has to stop business because of losses, it 'goes under'.
      • The company couldn't afford to pay its suppliers and it went under.
      • In this economic climate, a lot of businesses will go under.
      If you are in a very difficult situation, you are 'in deep water'.
      • If the bank doesn't give us this loan, we could be in deep water.
      • He was caught stealing from his company and now he's in deep water.
      If you 'make a splash', you get a lot of public attention.
      • We need to make a splash by holding a cocktail party for journalists.
      • She made quite a splash when she wore such a small dress to the film premiere.
      If a noise is 'drowned out' , you cannot hear it because of other noises.
      • The sounds of the telephone were drowned out by the noise from upstairs.
      • His speech was drowned out by the chanting from the demonstrators.
      If you 'test the water', you try to find out what people think about an idea or a situation before you take action.
      • Before you decide to sell your house in England and move to Spain, why not go there for a trial three months to test the water?
      • This is a big project. We should test the water before making such a large investment.
      If a situation is 'sink or swim', it either fails or succeeds.
      • Either this works or we are all out of a job. It's sink or swim.
      • You'll get no training here. It's sink or swim.
      If you 'dive into' something, you do it without really thinking about what you are doing.
      • He dived into the project with a lot of enthusiasm but not much thought.
      • Let's take our time. There's no point in diving into this without thinking.
      If you are 'treading water', you are staying in the same place without making any progress.
      • I'm just treading water, waiting for a job with a better salary.
      • People lose motivation if they think they are just treading water in their careers.
      If you have absolutely no knowledge of something, you have ‘no idea’ about it.
      • I have no idea what caused my computer to crash.
      • I have no idea where she is.
      If something is not at all surprising, it is ‘no wonder’ that it happens.
      • You are only wearing a small tee-shirt. No wonder you are cold.
      • He’s always late for work. It’s no wonder that his boss is unhappy with him.
      If it is impossible that something will happen, there is ‘no way’ it will happen.
      • There’s no way I’m letting you borrow my new Porsche.
      • If you go to the interview in jeans, there’s no way that you’ll get the job.
      Another way of saying this is to say that there is ‘no chance’ it will happen.
      • I have no chance of getting the promotion.
      • There’s no chance of us catching the plane now.
      If something is serious or difficult, it is ‘no joke’.
      • Addressing 5000 envelopes by hand will be no joke.
      • With six people off with flu, working here is no joke.
      If a situation is unpleasant or difficult, it is ‘no picnic’.
      • Bringing up six children is no picnic.
      • It’s no picnic running a company in France.
      If you have no evidence of something, you see ‘no sign’ of it.
      • I see no sign of an economic upturn.
      • There’s no sign of any improvement.
      If there is no evidence or justification for something, there is ‘no reason’ for it.
      • There’s no reason to be so pessimistic.
      • There’s no reason to take your anger out on me.
      If there is no reward or objective in doing something, there is ‘no point’ in doing it.
      • There’s no point in working hard when the shop is closing down on Friday.
      • I see no point in asking her as she always turns down our invitations.
      If something is very probable or highly likely, there is ‘no doubt’ about it.
      • No doubt the American relay runners are very unhappy that they dropped the baton.
      • He wants to see me and no doubt is going to ask for a better salary.


    'close down' = to shut
    • We have closed down the small local branches and created bigger regional offices.
    • The factory closed down in the 1970's because it was too expensive to produce here.
    'fight against' = to make an effort to stop something happening
    • All the workers fought against the closure but the plant was no longer profitable.
    • The unions have been fighting against the proposed changes as they think it will mean job losses.
    'go back on something' = to change an agreement
    • We had come to an agreement but now she has gone back on it.
    • The company promised to review the situation but went back on its word and didn't.
    'put back' = to postpone, delay in time
    • They promised to make a decision today but it has been put back until next week.
    • My visit has been put back until a later date when it will be easier to plan.
    'fall behind' = not risen as fast as, fail to do something as fast as required
    • We have fallen behind schedule. It won't be completed on time.
    • Our salaries have fallen behind the national average with the small increase we have had.
    'turn down' = to refuse, not accept
    • We offered a two per cent increase but it was turned down.
    • We offered him a much higher salary but he turned it down and didn't join our team.
    'fill in for someone' = to replace someone during an absence
    • I need to brief the person who will be filling in for me while I am on maternity.
    • I filled in for Jamie while he was on holiday.
    'back someone up' = to support or to help
    • Whenever there is a dispute with someone in my team, my manager always backs me up.
    • Nobody backed him up when he said he had been discriminated against.
    'work out' = to calculate
    • I don't know how much holiday I have left. I need to work it out.
    • We need to work out how much this is really going to cost.
    'drag on' = to last a long time, go on longer than anticipated
    • The negotiations are dragging on. I think we'll never reach an agreement.
    • The meeting dragged on and on. I thought I'd never get home. 

    'get on' = to have a good relationship
    • I don't like my boss. We just don't get on.
    • The atmosphere is terrible. He doesn't get on with his co-workers.
    'follow up' = to find out more about or take further action on something.
    • Before we offer her the job, we need to follow up on her references.
    • The training is followed up by regular refresher courses over a six-month period.
    'set up' = to arrange for an activity or event to happen
    • I'd like to discuss it further. Can we set up a meeting?
    • I've set up interviews with the remaining three candidates.
    'make up' = do or pay extra to cover a difference.
    • I'd like to leave early on Friday. I'll make up the time next week.
    • There was an error in your expenses. We'll make up the difference next month.
    'hand in' = to give something
    • He's leaving at the end of the month. He has handed in his resignation.
    • I haven't handed my time sheet in yet. I must do it now.
    'work out' your notice = to continue working through the period after you have resigned.
    • They asked him to leave immediately. He didn't have to work out his notice.
    • He negotiated a deal so he didn't have to work out his notice and could leave sooner.
    'sort out' = to resolve
    • We don't know who is going to replace Sue. We have to sort it out soon.
    • I have finally sorted out the error on the time sheets. It's all correct now.
    'carry on' = to continue
    • We still haven't found a suitable candidate. We'll have to carry on looking.
    • Until we get the new software installed, we'll have to carry on using the old.
    'back out' = to decide not to do something previously agreed.
    • They had agreed to do it but then backed out.
    • He had accepted the post but backed out at the last minute so we're considering other candidates.
    'go with' = to adopt or support an idea or plan.
    • I think your idea is a good one. I think we should go with it.
    • We're not really sure which agency to go with. We don't think any of them are really what we are really looking for.