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 – Turn up trumps

Definition: To be able to do something exceedingly well, especially when positive results are not expected.

accent reduction Example: The Konrad twins were able to turn up trumps when they pulled their prank right before leaving school.

Origin: The phrase “come up trumps” is a variation of the older phrase “turn up trumps” and both can be used interchangeably. “Turn up trumps” has been used since the 17th century and in this context, trump is actually a variation of the word “triumph,” which also happened to be the name of a certain card game which was played during the 17th century. Around the 18th century, “turn up trumps” began to be used more figuratively. It simply meant being successful in a more general sense –as being able to turn up trumps in the game would inevitably lead to victory.

Accent Reduction Idiom 2 – A turn up for the books

Definition: An unexpected pleasant turn of events; associated with good fortune.

Example: The McCormac family had been so poor for years that when the father won the lottery, it was certainly a turn up for the books.

Origin: Since the 1820s, the phrase “turn up” was used to refer to surprises or good fortune. This phrase was used when referencing dice or cards which “turn up” during the course of a game. A favorable turn up may mean winning the game or good fortune.   accent reduction

In 1859, it was John Camden Hotten who defined this phrase in the book called A Dictionary of Modern Slang, Cant and Vulgar Words. His definition of this phrase had been “an unexpected slice of luck.” The complete phrase is the idiom “a turn up for the books,” which refers to a good stroke of luck for bookmakers. Today, it is used to refer to a general sense of good fortune.


Accent Reduction Idiom 3 – Turn of phrase

Definition: A distinctively written or spoken expression or the ability to express oneself well. The ability to articulate one’s self through words.

Example: This fifth grader has a great turn of phrase which allowed her to win the regional essay writing competition.

accent reductionOrigin: The language scholar John Palsgrave was the first to put the word “phrase” into print and given how he used it in French texts, “phrase” refers to “a small group of words which expresses a single notion.” Therefore, “phrase” can be understood as a writing style or manner of speaking that succinctly expresses specific ideas . A “turn of phrase” involves the use of words to express a commonly held sentiment in a creative way.

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