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 sports idioms (baseball) that have become standard shorthand in the workplace. 

Accent Reduction idiom 1: From the Ground Up

Definition: To be with something at the very beginning, such as a business venture, and seeing it through the early developmental phases. Can also refer to the construction of a completely new piece of architecture.

Example: Bill Gates built Microsoft from the ground up, using only his skill and creativity.

Origin: This expression does not come from the dark age or not even from the 20th century. Instead, it was used by builders to define a building that was constructed. Similarly, business people use this term to define a business that was started with few or no resources whatsoever.   Accent Reduction


Accent Reduction American Idiom 2: Cut the Mustard

Definition: To achieve the standard required by your company or boss.

Example: John is truly a hardworking employee who strives to do his best at the workplace, but when his results are compared to those of his co-workers, he just can’t cut the mustard. He is always way too behind.

 Origin: this idiom was first recorded in a story written by O. Henry, a famous American writer who lived at the end of 20th century. In his story, Henry recalled that “When I looked around, there was a woman who exactly cut the mustard.” Some experts believe that this term comes from a standard 18th century cowboy expression, “the proper mustard”, which meant “the genuine thing”. According to other theories, this modern idiom comes from the military phrase “to pass muster”, meaning to pass a military inspection without reprimand. Nevertheless, cut the mustard is an extremely common business idiom used by managers and corporation CEOs.

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Accent Reduction Idiom 3: Passing with Flying Colors

Definition: To exceed all expectations, to do much better than expected.

Example: The test was pretty difficult due to its complexity, but I had a straightforward approach which allowed me to pass with flying colors.

Origin: this particular idiom has its origin in the early 16th century when sailing ships had to fly their own flag (which was usually colored) when passing by other ships in order to be identified as being part of the same flett or with opposing forces.  Accent Reduction


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 accent reduction 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.