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Business English idioms of universal application
1. in terms of by taking as an example of; concerning; with regard to
*In terms of quality, our products are second to none.
*The new system, although more expensive to operate, is better in terms of efficiency.
*The costs of the earthquake can be counted in terms of billions, rather than millions, of dollars.
*The government has made its position clear in terms of its industrial policy.
2. to stem from to originate from; to be caused by
*Company losses stemmed from poor management.
*His success in politics stems from hard work and intelligence.
3.to trigger off to cause to bring about (an important or serious effect, often negative, sudden or violent) (Also to spark off; to touch off)
*The advertising film about the new car triggered off an enormous public response, so that demand for the product was greater than supply.
*The management decision sparked off a series of damaging strikes.
*The invention of the petrol engine touched off a revolution in transport.
4. last but not least introducing the next item on the list, which, although the last, is not less important than the others.
*We need to think about how much capital we want to raise, for what purpose and, last but not least, how we're going to get it.
*I’d like to thank everyone for their efforts, which have made the year such a successful one for the company - directors, managers, executives, office and factory staff and, last but not least, their respective wives and husbands, who play an unseen but nonetheless vital role.
*Now, coming to the end of my presentation, the last, but certainly not the least, of our options is to move our headquarters to a less expensive site, outside the capital, but keeping a small office in the city center.
5. give or take more or less (by an appropriate amount than a certain amount)
*The whole project is likely to cost about one million, give or take a few thousand.
*Give or take an hour or so, we should be in Dresden in about twelve hours.
*The salesman was only here for half an hour, so it's a very give-or-take estimate.
6. a safe bet almost one hundred percent certain (informal)
*If you want a good lawyer, mine's a safe bet - she gets to the bottom of the problem, gives realistic advice and doesn't let you waste money on a dead-end case.
*"Our sales in South America are down, although our customer relations are excellent. So, why?"
"In my view, it's a safe bet that our competitors have been active without our knowledge."
*As to the travel arrangements for your trip, although a car is convenient, there could be problems on the roads; your safest bet would be to go by train.
7. better safe than sorry it is better to be too careful than to take risks
*Everyone must wear a safety helmet when visiting the construction site better to be safe than sorry.
*Every stage of the process is checked three times, on the basis that it's better to be safe than sorry.
* Drivers are warned that the road conditions could be dangerous so, if your journey isn't really necessary, stay at home; better safe than sorry.
8. a dry (or dummy) run an experiment or trial of a machine or project under realistic (but not real) conditions
*Before launching a national market survey, the market researchers carried out several dry runs at local level in order to test the reaction to their questionnaire.
*Before making a presentation, it's a good idea to do a dummy run by recording yourself on video or cassette and checking the result.
9. by trial and error finding the right method or solution by the primitive process of making changes in measurements or calculations until finally there are no errors
*This is a dangerous chemical. Tests on it must be carefully thought out in advance; simple trial-and-error testing could prove fatal.
*The company doesn't have money to waste on testing by trial and error you must be more systematic in your approach.
10. to cut corners to follow a quick but risky route to an objective, especially by not performing all the usual stages of some process
*In this company we do not cut corners; we produce a high-quality, reliable product.
*He's a brilliant research chemist, but he cuts too many corners. One day he'll blow us all up.
11. hit and miss unsystematic; random; relying on chance; not properly thought out or carried out
*The experiment went wrong because of hit-and-miss methods.
*Your proposition is based partly on fact and partly on imagination - in other words, it's rather hit and miss.
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