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 – Whole-hearted

Definition: Completely and sincerely devoted, determined or enthusiastic; Marked by complete earnest commitment

Example: The woman gave her whole-hearted ‘yes’ even before the man blurted out his proposal.

accent reduction Origin: Although people may think that the term ‘whole-hearted’ came first and has since given birth to the terms ‘half-hearted’ and ‘faint-hearted’, it may come as a surprise that it was actually introduced to the language much later than the two. ‘Faint-hearted’ was first used in 1440, ‘half-hearted’ was first used in 1611, and ‘whole-hearted’ was first used in 1801.

In the medieval times, the heart represented everything that a person stood for. In fact, a person’s demeanor was often seen as an interpretation of how his heart felt. This then became the root of the expressions ‘faint-hearted’ and ‘half-hearted’, describing lack of courage. Eventually, the expression ‘whole hearted’ was born to give a similar interpretation of one who has more courage and manliness than the faint-hearted or half-hearted individual.


Accent Reduction Idiom 2 – The whole nine yards

Definition: The entire amount; Everything; As far as possible

Example: The guy went the whole nine yards just to impress the girl of his dreams.

Origin: Much speculation surround the real origin of the term the whole nine yards. Some claim that it has been in use since the medieval times, while others believe it started during World War I. However, the earliest proof accent reductionin print came in May 1907. It appeared in an Indiana newspaper called The Mitchell Commercial in a statement that read: “The regular nine is going to play the business men as many innings as they can stand, but we cannot promise the full nine yards.”

It was once again used in the same newspaper a year later in the statement: “He will catch some unsuspecting individual some of these days and give him the whole nine yards.”

Accent Reduction Idiom 3 – The whole shebang

Definition: The whole of something, including everything connected to it

accent reductionExample: I didn’t see how the whole shebang went down, but it sure was epic.

Origin: As an entire phrase, ‘the whole shebang’ was first used in 1872 on the Sedalia Daily democrat where it says “Well, the Democracy can flax the whole shebang, and we hope to see our party united.” In this statement, the term ‘shebang’ is being used to define the whole of something in general terms. Looking back at its history however, shebang was also used to replace the word ‘vehicle’. This is possibly in reference to the sightseeing buses in the UK, which were called charabancs (pronounced as sharra-bang) in the 1800s.


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