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 accent reduction 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 achieve accent reduction goals, here are three idioms that have become standard shorthand in the workplace.


Accent Reduction Idiom 1 – Pin Money

Definition: A small allowance or small amount of money that can be given or earned by an individual.

accent reductionExample: Elena’s  pin money could help in times of need. You never know when accidents can happen these days.

Origin: “Pin money” was initially an archaic term referring to a woman’s small allowance used to buy herself some clothes and other accessories. In the more recent years, the idiom has been used to refer to any small amount of money which may be used for incidental purposes. The term can be seen in writings as far back as the 16th century. “The Testamenta Eboracensia – A Selection of Wills from the Registry at York”, dated 1542, had the phrase “I give my said doughter Margarett my lease of the parsonadge of Kirkdall Churche…to by her pynnes withal.” It was J. Keble who first used “pin money” explicitly in “English Republic” in the sentence “On difference between him and his lady about settlement of 200 I. per annum, pin-mony in case of separation.”

Accent Reduction Idiom 2 – As Poor as a Church Mouse

Definition: An idiom expressing extreme poverty.

Example: With his tattered clothes and not being able to eat for several days, Louis is really as poor as a church mouse.

Origin: Back in the 1600s, churches did not have kitchens or pantries for cooking or storage of food, which would imply that a mouse living in a church would not find any food lying around the place. Mice would often find residence in cellars, restaurants, or groceries and would only take up residence in churches when there is no other choice. The original saying was “as hungry as a church mouse”, but through time it was eventually changed to “as poor as a church mouse”. Today, it is used to describe a poverty-stricken man. accent reduction


Accent Reduction Idiom 3 – Bet Your Bottom Dollar

Definition: A big gamble that a person hopes will result in a favorable outcome. Betting one’s “bottom dollar” means a person is ready to put everything at stake.

accent reductionExample: I will bet my bottom dollar that Lancaster will win the campaign. I have a lot of confidence in him.

Origin: The phrase has American origins, with it first being cited in “La Crosse Independent Republican” in September of 1856. The exact statement was “I’m goin’ to vote for you—you can bet your bottom dollar on that!” “Betting the bottom dollar” could imply confidence in something a person intends to do, even with high stakes involved. A phrase called “top dollar” is also present, but it refers to a very expensive price.


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