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 – The Big Cheese

Definition: An idiom used to refer to a top or important person in an organization.

Example: Rumor has it that the big cheese is in the conference room about to sign important documents.

Origin: The very first use of this idiom was recorded back in 19th century London where people would say “he’s the cheese!”, “It’s quite the cheese!”, and just “the cheese”. They used the phrases to say that something or someone was of the best quality, first rate, and good.  It was also used to denote that something was pleasant, advantageous, and genuine. This was noted by John Camden Hotten which he defined in his 1859 Slang Dictionary.

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Accent Reduction Idiom 2 – Have the Floor

Definition: An idiom that means someone will have the right to address an audience exclusively.

Example: I am done with my speech! It is time for the guest of honor to have the floor.

Origin: This idiom derives its meaning from the legislature where members are given the right to speak without interruption by standing up and occupying the floor space designated for speech. accent reduction


Accent Reduction Idiom 3 – Walking Papers

Definition: An idiom that means notification of dismissal. Usually used when someone is fired from a job but can also refer to dismissal from other commitments.

Example: I regret hiring that lazy person! Make sure he gets his walking papers at the end of the day.

Origin: Giving someone “walking papers” is a very old American idiom that was first used back in the 1800’s. Back then, this was the term they used instead of flat-out saying that someone just got fired but these days, the idiom is also used on social situations. It is generally used to refer to moments when someone is told to go away or to get lost and never come back.

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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.