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


Accent Reduction Idiom 1 – Sick as a dog

Definition: Used to express that someone is extremely sick.

accent reduction Example: I can’t go to John’s party. I am sick as a dog and I will not have any fun anyway.

Origin: Some say this saying comes from the 1700s while others say it dates back to the 1500s. Back in the 1700s, it was very common to call something dirty, undesirable, or in the case of this saying, sick as a dog. This might have been due to the multitude of diseases that were spread by dogs and other animals. Dogs were also not immune to illness, as the lack of ideal food sources led them to eat nearly anything and then vomit afterwards.


Accent Reduction Idiom 2 – Crocodile Tears

Definition: To shed such tears as a false sentiment. That is, the display of emotion is fake and the tears are just for show. accent reduction

Example: Watch that baby shed crocodile tears to get out of eating vegetables!

Origin: A common allusion used during ancient times centered around the idea crocs shed tears of remorse as they ate their prey. This is somewhat true since crocodiles indeed do have lachrymal glands that can produce tears and lubricate their eyeballs much as humans do. However, they do not produce tears as a display of emotion. Early citations referring to this saying were made under belief that crocodiles really did shed tears of emotion.

It isn’t until the 27th century that a reference to the phrase in its current context is seen. In 1563, Edmund Grindal, the Archbishop of York and Canterbury, used the expression to illustrate insincerity.



Accent Reduction Idiom 3 – Happy as a clam

Definition: This is an idiom that is most often used to express just how happy and contented a person is.

Example: Ever since he started dating that lady from the pharmacy, Neil has been as happy as a clam and is never in a bad mood.

Origin: Taken at face value, this seems to be a very funny idiom because how can clams be happy? Some sources suggest that the very reason this idiom came to be was because open clams gave the illusion that they were accent reductionsmiling. However, the real meaning comes from the following saying: “as happy as a clam in high water” because clams are usually free from their predators when the tide is high.

This phrase gradually entered general US vernacular thanks to people who lived in the north Eastern part of the US in the early 19th century.


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