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

A few cans short of a six pack

Definition: This is normally used to indicate that someone is not very smart; stupid.

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Example: He failed all his subjects and made enemies of all his friends. He really is a few cans short of a six pack!

Origin: This saying is a variation of the “an X short of a Y” saying which is quite common in the English language. Some other examples include “a few keys short of a keyboard” and “a few sandwiches short of a picnic.”


Accent Reduction Idiom 2

A Dark Horse

Definition: This idiom is used to denote someone who was of no previous importance but rose to a place of prominence.

Example: Shane came out of nowhere and won the golf tournament, a true dark horse. accent reduction

Origin: This idiom originally was a parlance used in the world of horse racing. A dark horse was usually a racer that punters did not pay attention to and wasn’t easy to place odds on come racing day. Benjamin Disraeli notes that the earliest known use of the phrase was back in 1931 in The Young Duke.


Accent Reduction Idiom 3 Blow your own trumpet

Definition: This idiom refers to people who act in a boastful and self-promoting manner.

Example: Maybe you should wait for others to take notice of your actions before you blow your own trumpet?

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Origin: The present form of the term started in the 19th century as noted by Anthony Trollope in his work, Australia and New Zealand (1897). The use of the word “blows” is also very interesting because in US slang, it means that something is worthless or bad. Other versions include “toot your own horn” and “beat your own drum.”


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.