Accent Reduction Tips

Many of our clients at Accent Pros, who come in for accent reduction sessions, have advanced degrees and have excellent command of the English language. Given the evolving state of the English language; however, they may not understand informal slang and phrases that are regularly used in the workplace, and on various popular social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Occasionally our clients will understand the meaning of an idiom, but use it in an improper context, which could potentially have embarrassing consequences. In our continuing efforts to  feature only the most relevant and practical terms when helping you on your goals, here are three idioms that have become standard shorthand in the workplace.

Accent Reduction Idiom 1: Daily GrindAccent reduction

Definition: The daily grind refers to something that you do every day that is typically considered repetitive and boring.


Example sentence: Trying to get that American accent at the workplace is hard but I just accept it as part.


Origin: The term “daily grind” originated in Anglo-Saxon England, describing the process of grinding grains each day to make flour. This was a repetitive activity, yet a necessity for survival given that flour is normally an ingredient in at least one food item per meal.

Accent Reduction Idiom 2: In the Black

Definition: When you are in the black then it means that you are in a positive balance with your work account or your business is making money. That is, it does not owe anything.

Example sentence: Our business is in the black because we grossed $7.5 million last year and owed $6.9 million in expenses and loans, leaving us extremely stable at this point.

Origin: While this idiom suggests that it refers to people writing their financial debts in red ink instead of black or blue ink to show that they are in a negative position, this idiom originated in 1926 from George H. Maines and Bruce Grant’s Wise-crack Dictionary. The publication said that someone who is losing money is in the red, while being in the black is to actually get money. Therefore, it is a relatively recent idiom in comparison to other well known English idioms.

Accent Reduction Idiom 3: Break Your Back

Definition: This refers to when you put a great amount of effort towards accomplishing a goal and often get little in return for the work. Thus you feel emotionally and physically spent.

 Accent reduction

Example sentence: You have to break your back if you want to be more successful when working. You cannot just go and assume that you cannot go places without a little bit of effort.


Origin: It is not fully clear as to where this idiom first came into use. However, it is known that the idiom is based off of the stress or pressure that comes with working. It is known that working very hard or doing too much at a given time can cause a person to break one’s back. This can cause substantial pain over time but it is all to make sure all of the work that has to be done at a given time can be completed. In fact, if you work very hard to get an American accent on this site then you are clearly trying to break your back right now.


Accent reduction: Idioms Series

Accent Pros has a continuing series on Accent reduction tips, including common English phrases and American idioms.  Be sure to check out other blog posts to find your favorites.  Ready for a complimentary accent reduction tutorial or a free accent screening?  Check out our on-line accent reduction courses available to students with Accent reduction goals all over the world. For consistent access to our idioms series and other Accent reduction tips Like us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter