Tag Archives: business

To stick to your guns

to stick to your guns meaning

Photo credit: healthymessage.com

Today our landlord was showing new potential tenants around the flat and he touched upon the issue of parking, which has been a real nightmare for me ever since we moved here. The issue with parking is simple – there is none, so I end up paying at least a few quid every single day (ok, apart from weekends) to just be able to park my car. He was saying that all the residents have been applying to the Council to get parking permits, but they ‘stick to their guns‘ and insist that there is going to be no parking.

To stick to your guns‘ is an informal way of saying that  you refuse to change your mind despite what the others are saying or doing.

Below are some examples:

–  I have told my husband I won’t attend, but he says I should go out of respect for his parents. Do I stick to my guns by not attending? Or should I just attend, given it is only one hour of the year? (The Guardian)

– He has had most success where he has promoted choice in public services and ensured that private companies can compete with public authorities to deliver services. He needs to stick to his guns with this approach  (The Guardian).

– Made any resolutions for 2006? Broken them already? Or are you sticking to your guns? (BBC)

– But with America sticking to its guns, the Hatoyama administration is bound to upset one side or other (The Economist).

– Mr Zapatero wisely said this week that he would stick to his guns. But he is on the way out  (The Economist).

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To haggle

I recently watched the ever-so-popular Monty Python’s Life Of Brian and I can honestly say it was one of the funniest films I’ve seen recently. There was one word in particular I wanted to remember (and a great way to do so would be to mention it in this blog) -‘to haggle‘. There was a scene when Brian was fleeing from the Roman soldiers and wanted to buy a beard from a man in the market to disguise himself. However, the man wasn’t prepared to part with the beard without the haggling ritual (the transcript of the whole scene can be found here).

Below are some examples of this useful verb:

– In the markets of Cairo there are no prices on the items, and people are expected to haggle. While the presenter is haggling she emphasises how to say yes – na’am – and no – laa – in Arabic (BBC).

– We love Porte de Vanves it is a proper ‘broccante’ junk and antiques in equal amounts or one person’s junk is another person’s antique. But this is a place where you just don’t know what you might find and you don’t know what you might pay; this is a place to haggle and enjoy the bargaining. But mostly this is a long long street full of stalls with an amazing array of just about everything you can think of including the kitchen sink (Tripadvisor.co.uk).

– Smithfield [market] is both cheaper and friendlier to those determined to haggle (The Economist).

However, it is not only the price that can haggle over:

– Even if the governments could today agree on what to do, haggling over the details, holding referendums and amending constitutions could easily take three years. The delay in even starting that process is only making a difficult task harder (The Economist).

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Snowed under

snowed under meaning

Photo credit: go.to/funpic

Now, this phrase perfectly describes my state over the last two weeks and it will still be relevant for about two more weeks, as I’m working my way through a huge translation.

It is used to say that you have a lot of work to do.

More examples of this useful expression:

– I have been snowed under with requests for quotations, something that wasn’t happening a few months ago (BBC).

– Single women of Britain, if you didn’t already feel snowed under with advice to cut out carbs, drink less booze and deny yourselves most other treats this January, you might be interested to know that there’s one more area in which you should be reining in your appetites: your relationships with men (The Guardian).

– The nation’s theatres are snowed under with festive shows, but there’s still plenty else on offer for the grinches among us (The Guardian).

– Contrary to the beliefs of many Darwin scholars, the great evolutionist did not delay publishing his theory for fear of professional ridicule or social shame. According to a new analysis of Charles Darwin’s correspondence, the real reason was much more prosaic – he was snowed under with work (The Guardian).

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Canary in the coal mine

canary in the coal mine meanind

Photo credit: blog.une.edu.au

Today I was heading for some fresh air in the countryside with friends, but ended up… in a coal mine. These days it is a museum, but until recently it was a perfectly real coal mine. I won’t expand on what an utterly bizzare world it is down there. It’s just that on our way out I saw a cage with yellow canaries that reminded me of an expression ‘a canary in the coal mine‘.

Miners (or colliers) used to take canaries down into the tunnels with them so that if dangerous gases such as methane or carbon monoxide leaked into the mine-shaft, the gases would kill the canary before killing the miners (Wiktionary). It has acquired the meaning of ‘a warning of danger or trouble yet to come’ (Wiktionary).

Here are some more examples of how it’s used:

– Whatever one believes about global warming, there is no denying the fact that the earth’s polar regions are undergoing dramatic change as a result of climate change. That has led some to suggest that the poles are the canary in the coal mine as far as climate is concerned (The Economist).

– “Profitability is the canary in the coal mine. It causes a brand to be tarnished in the eyes of distributors who, because of sales cycle times, are extremely sensitive to obsolete inventory (The Guardian).

– For those few economists who spotted the looming recession in time last year, the canary in the coal mine proved to be the labour market. So what is it telling us now? (The Guardian)

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back-to-back meaning

Photo credit: Truus, Bob & Jan too!

Today I tried some acupuncture and I was lucky to get an appointment as the therapist said she had sessions back-to-back. This word is also heavily used in the business context – busy people have meetings back-to-back!

This means that things are happening one after the other, without a break.

Some more examples:

– The Knicks beat the Los Angeles Lakers, who won back-to-back championships in 2008-09 and 2009-10 (The Economist).

– Mr Leiken is a largely reliable guide to the varieties of Islamic belief and politics that are now reproduced in Europe, even if he can be a little clumsy with Arab and Asian names. He writes with eloquence, bringing to life the grim realities of the French banlieues and of the back-to-back houses of immigrant families in Leeds, where his requests for information met an impenetrable wall of silence (The Economist).

– It worries that it lacks the resources to fight two elections back-to-back, and will continue to push for an early poll (The Economist).

– For insurers as for Floridians, the recent pounding from four back-to-back hurricanes, costing $20 billion or so, has been highly unusual, as well as unwelcome (The Economist).

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Keep me in the loop

Deutsch: Nordwest Ecke der Loop in Chicago Eng...

Photo credit: Wikipedia

I’ve asked Jane to keep me in the loop, but she must have forgotten‘.

To keep somebody in the loop means to keep up-to-date and include them in the decision-making process.

Here are some more examples:

– We’ll be sending our newsletter weekly: it’s crucial to keep our subscribers in the loop.

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