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 – Play the Ace Card

Definition: Attempting to gain an advantage by using some form of information that others are not aware of. Usually such information is kept secret until a time at which it’s disclosure has the greatest impact.

accent reductionExample: He’s a horrible candidate and will probably play use falsified statistics as an ace card to win people over to his side of the issue.

Origin: This is an idiom that has loose ties with another idiom, “ace up your sleeve”. In the 1500’s, people didn’t really have pockets and would make a habit of hiding things in their sleeves. In the 1800s, dishonest card players would hide winning cards in their sleeves and take them out when no one is looking. This is so they had an advantage that would help them win the game. In essence, to pull a card out of one’s sleeve to win is to play the ace.

Accent Reduction Idiom 2 – Play Fast and Loose

Definition: This is an idiom used to refer to people who are always unreliable and dubious in their ways.

Example: If you want your project to be finished before the deadline, I say you think twice about relying on Josh since he is known to play it fast and loose.

Origin: This idiom that comes from a rather old deception game wherein a person would make something appear to be stuck, then surprise the audience later on by showing how quickly it could be loosened. James Halliwell wrote a dictionary of old and obsolete phrases for the 14th century that was in published in 1847 and in it, he talks about Fast and Loose being a game that involved accent reductioncheating.

It made use of a stick, belt, or string and involved a lot of trickery. George Whetstone wrote a piece in the 14th century that involved the line “fast or loose, with my Giptian…” Tottel, in his 1557 work Miscellany, used it figuratively for the first time to talk about a new married student that played fast and loose.

Accent Reduction Idiom 3 – Not Playing with a Full Deck

Definition: The meaning of this idiom can be expressed in a more euphemistic way but basically means one thing: stupid.

accent reductionExample: I don’t think you should trust your finances to that guy, since in these parts, everyone pretty much knows he is not playing with a full deck.

Origin: This is a derogatory phrase that which became popular in the 1980’s. Subsequent variations of this phrase spoke of someone that had couldn’t be trusted, implying that the person in question lacked a portion of the brain that enabled them to behave like regular people. In this idiom, when one card is missing from the deck, you really can’t play a full game.


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