English Lesson: Slang & Idioms At The Office

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English Lesson: Slang & Idioms At The Office

Working 24/7

Ted and Jenny work in the same office. Betty is their boss. Check out their conversation:

  • Jenny: Hey Ted! What’s up. You look bummed.
  • Ted: I am. I’ve been working 24/7 this week to finish the presentation for the big meeting next week.
  • Jenny: So how is it going?
  • Ted: Terrible. I showed it to Betty this week and she said it was no good. It really burns me up.
  • Jenny: No way!
  • Ted: Yeah, so now, I’m back to square one.
  • Jenny: That stinks. I’m sorry to hear that.

Now, let’s look at the slang and idioms used in the conversation:

Bummed means disappointed. We often use be, seem & look with bummed”

  • You look bummed.
  • Ted seems bummed today. I wonder what happened.
  • I’m bummed. My car broke down today.

24/7 (twenty-four/seven) means twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week. We use this both literally to refer to time, and figuratively to mean non-stop.

  • The convenience store is open 24/7 (literal meaning: the store never closes)
  • I’ve been working 24/7 this week to finish the presentation (figurative meaning: I have worked very hard and a lot of hours)

Burns [someone] up means makes [someone] very upset. We often use words referring to fire and high temperature to talk about being upset or angry.

  • The boss made me redo my presentation. It really burns me up.
  • Inconsiderate drivers really burn me up.

Back to square one means you need to do something from the beginning again. Even though you completed the task, you need to redo it.

  • The boss didn’t like my presentation, so now I am back to square one. (I have to redo my presentation)
  • I just assembled this des, but I am missing a part. I need to go back to square one. (I have to take it apart, and try to assemble it once more from step 1)

That stinks means “that’s too bad” or “that’s a shame.” We use that stinks when we respond to hearing negative or bad news:

  • Joe didn’t get the promotion? That stinks.
  • The restaurant ran out of my favorite dish! That stinks.

Practice questions: Answer the questions in a full sentence and be sure to use the key expressions in your answer:

  1. What has made you bummed recently?
  2. Have you ever worked 24/7?
  3. What has happened at work or school that burns you up?
  4. Talk about the last time you did something, but then had to go back to square one.
  5. Talk about a situation where you wanted to say, that stinks.

Thanks for studying with me today.  I hope you don’t have to work too hard!

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