Are your relationships harmonious?
''We can improve our relationships with others by leaps and bounds if we become encouragers instead of critics.''
Maintaining good relationships is crucial not only in private life, all good businesses are based on trust and healthy relationships. How to talk about them? Find out more.
Maintain, Strengthen, Foster, Build up, Cement, Cultivate, Encourage, Establish, Improve, Promote
- they all mean more or less that we work on our relationship and build it.
The company strengthened its sales force after the merger.
We are improving relations with customers thanks to better communication.
They always try to maintain proper relations with their suppliers.
– mean that the relationship was disrupted somehow and now we want to bring it back to the previous state.
We managed to restore our relations with the customer who was dissatisfied with our delay in delivery.
Endanger, Sour, Damage, Disrupt, Jeopardise, Sever, Undermine, Strain – all mean more or less that we don’t do much or enough to keep the relationship or even do something negative to damage it.
A strike at our factory disrupted production for several weeks.
Poor after-sales service undermined relations with customers.
His lack of negotiation skills jeopardised the deal.
Cordial, Healthy, Harmonious, Good, Strong, Friendly
We have very healthy mother-daughter relationship.
Their relations were rather cordial.
Strained, Stormy, Broken, Failed, Rocky, Uneasy, Volatile
Their relations were stormy after the argument they had the other day.
Britain has rather volatile relations with EU.
Future Perfect Tense
Have you already set goals for the New Year? Are you good at keeping them? Some goals or resolutions are all the same each year, and we fail to achieve them. Here are the most common ones:
Original and Reviewed Resolutions:
I will have lost 10 kilos by the end of first quarter. --> I will have found a good gym by the end of January.
I will have started a new diet in January. -->I will have finished what I have in my fridge before I start a new diet.
I will have found a better job in 2020. --> I will have updated my CV by December.
I will have read at least 10 books in 2020. --> I will have bought at least 1 book in 2020.
I won’t have drunk any alcohol in 2020. --> I won’t have had a hangover each weekend in 2020.
Future Perfect tense – used to talk about action that will be finished before some point in the future.
Form: will have + Past Participle
Affirmative: I will have finished this report by 5 pm.
Negative: I won’t have finished this report by 5 pm.
Interrogative: Will you have finished this report by 5 pm?
And what are your goals?
Will you have started communicating in English in 2020?
Do you need help? Contact me.
HOW TO TALK ABOUT PROBLEMS AND DIFFICULTIES
Life is not a bed of roses, there are times when we need to face some difficulties. Some of them are small, some are much more important. How to talk about problems?
SNAG – a problem, especially a small one, hidden or unexpected
We hit a snag – we couldn’t pay for the shopping because there was not enough funds on the bank account.
SETBACK – a problem that delays or prevents something, makes the situation worse
The company suffered a major setback when it hadn’t been granted credit.
GLITCH – a problem that stops something working successfully
A few technical glitches made us put off the launch of our new product.
MORE IMPORTANT DIFFICULTIES:
STUMBLING BLOCK – a problem that prevents action or agreement.
Conflict within a team is often a stumbling block to positive cooperation.
PITFALL – an unexpected difficulty (often in plural – pitfalls)
There are many pitfalls while buying a house.
OBSTACLE – stops progress
A lack of qualifications can be a major obstacle to finding a job.
IMPEDIMENT – prevents free action, progress or movement
The level of red tape is a serious impediment to set up a new company in Russia.
DILEMMA – a situation which makes problems and you have to make a choice between things of equal importance
Job seekers face the dilemma of unsatisfying job against the risk of long-term unemployment.
ORDEAL – a severe experience, which is very difficult, painful or tiring
The refugees talked about the terrible ordeal they had been through due to the war.
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Change is inevitable (can't be avoided). People fear change as it usually comes unexpected and it is not easy to prepare for it. Resistance (being unwilling to do something) is something natural. Good managers are capable of overcoming resistance to change (fighting unwillingness) by preparing their staff for it.
Verb + change
to accept change - to stop resist
A lot of people find it difficult to accept change.
to bring about a change - to introduce
The government's advertising campaign is an attempt to bring about a change in the way we think about the environment.
to resist change - to be afraid and be reluctant to
It is natural that people resist change, as they don't want to leave their comfort zone.
to undergo change - to go through
Our company has undergone major changes over last few years.
Adjective + change
last minute change - very recent
I'm sorry for the last minute change in the agenda.
minor change - small
The problems of health service won't be solved by making minor changes.
noticeable change - significant
The has been a noticeable change in his attitude to work.
sweeping change - radical
The taxation system requires a sweeping change to help the poorest.
welcome change - wanted
Let's eat out, it will be a welcome change from cooking.
Read more about how to OVERCOME RESISTANCE TO CHANGE WITH TWO CONVERSATIONS from Harvard Business Review.
Are you resistant to change or do you welcome change?
Prefixes and suffixes give a new meaning to already existing words. Below, there are three prefixes which are commonly used:
MONO- meaning one
monochrome - a painting, drawing, photograph in a single color (monochromatic)
monologue - a long speech delivered by one person
monopoly - complete ontrol over the goods or services of an entire market
monoxide - an oxide containing only one oxygen atom in the molecule
SEMI- meaning half
semi-annually - occuring twice a year
semi-detached - about a house joined to another one on one side, having one shared wall
semicircle - half a circle
BI- meaing two/twice
bicycle - a vehicle with two wheels
biennial - happening every two years
bilingual - able to speak two different language
biped - a two-footed creature (e.g. humans)
Test yourself, choose the correct prefix mono/semi/bi:
1. Canada and the USA signed ......lateral agreement.
2. She gave a ......logue, nobody wanted to talk to her.
3. This industry suffers from a shortage of ....-skilled workers.
4. Christianity, Islam and Judaism are the main ......theistic religions.
5. Having a Greek father and Italian mother, he grew up ......lingual.
The answers are below.
1. bilateral 2. monologue 3. semi-skilled 4. monotheistic 5. bilingual
Employees may want to take some time off for different reasons, or they are entitled to a holiday from work. Below you will find some vocabulary describing different types of holiday and time off work.
STATUTORY HOLIDAY is fixed by law
MATERNITY LEAVE is a period when a woman is away from work to have a baby (but is still paid)
PATERNITY LEAVE is a period of leave given to a father when his partner has a baby
UNPAID LEAVE is when an employee receives no money
SICK LEAVE is when an employee is ill and cannot come to work
CASUAL LEAVE is given to an employee to help him/her deal with personal affairs
GARDENING LEAVE is a period of leave during which an employee is not allowed into the company offices, usually after being dismissed
SABBATICAL is a period of paid or unpaid time off work for the purposes of research, study or travel, usually used by teachers, professors
PUBLIC HOLIDAY is when all employees in the country are allowed to take a day off (BANK HOLIDAY - UK, LEGAL HOLIDAY - US)
UNAUTHORISED ABSENCE FROM WORK is when an employee is away from work without permission and without a good reason (AWOL - absent without leave)
TIME OFF IN LIEU (TOIL) is when an employee gets time off from work instead of pay for overtime
HOW TO TALK ABOUT NUMBERS THAT ARE APPROXIMATE
If you don't know the exact figure, or simply don't want to give it, for any reason, you can use the adverbs meaning 'more or less'. There is a wide array of phrases you can use to describe the value without giving the precise number. Here you'll find a handful of them.
ABOUT, AROUND, ROUGHLY, IN THE REGION OF
There were roughly 250 participants at the conference.
It will cost in the region of a 1.5 m dollars.
after a figure
Only 15 or so people came to the meeting.
Let's meet at 4-ish, shall we?
NEARLY, ALMOST, JUST UNDER, JUST SHORT OF, THE BEST PART OF
a figure that is slightly less than the one stated
The company sold almost 1,000 items.
We'll be working on this project for the best part of 1.5 years.
The share price was just under 6.5 dollars.
UPWARDS OF, JUST OVER, A LITTLE OVER, SOMETHING OVER
a figure that is more than the one stated
It will cost upwards of 20 grand a month.
They earned just over 2.6 m euro on this transaction.
colloquial noun phrases like A BALL-PARK FIGURE, A GUESSTIMATE
can indicate that a figure is approximate
I can only give you a ball-park figure.
Pleas bear in mind that this total is just a guesstimate.
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How are owners of big business called
How to say you are poor or in debt
Don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or would like to start your lessons.
Phrases used in news often contain metaphors
for example if two people are involved in struggle in courts of law they are involved in a legal battle, but they are not literally fighting. There are plenty of different metaphors connected with sport, fire, water or war which are commonly used in news reports to make articles more attractive.
a tight corner - a difficult situation
The CEO has got himself into a tight corner when he admitted to spending company's funds on private trips.
moving the goalposts - unfairly changing the rules during a course of action
The government is accused of moving the goal posts in terms of fiscal policy.
foul play - behaviour that is unfair
The competition was accused of foul play.
a level playing field - a situation in which everyone has the same opportunities.
The Ministry of Employment want a level playing field for all employed.
the ball's in someone's court - people wait for the action of the others because they have done what they could
I help her in any possible way, now the ball's in her court.
spark - cause something to start or develop
The company is trying to solve the problem of work overload as it can spark further workers' burnout.
a blazing row - a very nasty argument
My parents had a blazing row last night.
burning - very strong
He had a burning desire to succeed in his new role.
blaze a trail - do something no one else has done before
Our scientist made a breakthrough and blazed a trail for others in the field.
a storm of protest - a lot of people express strong feelings against something
There has been a storm of protest over the new legislation.
flood - appear in large numbers at the same time
Before Christmas we are usually flooded with orders .
a drop in the ocean - a very small amount compared with what is needed
The money the hospital gets from the government is a drop in the ocean.
a sea of something - a large amount of something
She looked out over a sea of smiling faces.
Sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath and a glass of wine.
We all know this feeling of being tired in the morning right now in autumn. We want to sleep! We don't want to go to work or school. All we want is to stay in bed a bit longer. Not everyone can afford to sleep long enough, yet sleep is very important for our health and if you are deprived of it, you may suffer both physically and mentally.
How to talk about sleep
to crash out
to go to bed (informal)
I'm tired, I'm going to crash out.
to doze off
to fall asleep for a short time, without an intention
The lecture was so boring that I dozed off.
to hit the sack
to go to bed (informal)
I need to get up very early tomorrow. I'm going to hit the sack.
to nod off
to fall asleep, often in a sitting position
While watching a match I nodded off and didn't see the final.
to wake up later than intended, usually as the result you are late for something
Your boss will fire you if you oversleep again.
to lie in / to have a lie-in
to intentionally stay in bed and get up at a later time than normal
I'm so tired today that I think I will have a lie-in. It's Sunday, after all.
to sleep over
to sleep the night at another person's house
Mum, can I sleep over at Mary's tonight?
to be sound asleep
to be sleeping deeply
Be quiet! The kids are fast asleep.
to toss and turn all night
to sleep badly moving and changing position in bed
I spent the whole night tossing and turning - I couldn't stop thinking about today's exam.
to be wide awake
to be completely awake
It's two o'clock in the morning and I'm wide awake as I am still working on my presentation.
not to get a wink of sleep
not to sleep at all (especially all night)
My husband was snoring so badly that I couldn't get a wink of sleep last night.
Problems with sleep
Many people suffer from different problems connected with sleep. Here are some of the most common ones:
If you have insomnia you feel as if you don't get enough sleep at night, or you may have trouble falling asleep.
The noise that is produced while breathing.
It is a disorder that causes excessive daytime sleepiness.
Sleepwalkers can do many activities which may be dangerous, for example leaving the house while they are asleep.
If you are sleep deprived, it may have negative impact on you private and professional life. Watch Arianna Huffington and discover the power of sleep: How to succeed? Get more sleep.
When you are poor or in debt:
abject poverty - terrible poverty
Half the people in this country are living in abject poverty.
to live from hand to mouth - to barely manage financially
Many people are so poor that they live from hand to mouth.
can't make ends meet - find it difficult to manage financially
On a salary like his, it's not surprising that he can't make ends meet.
to be heavily in debt - to owe sb/the institution a lot of money
We are heavily in debt to the bank.
an outstanding debt - a debt that you have not paid
You must pay these outstanding debts immediately.
to be overdrawn - to be in debt to the bank because you have spent more money than you have in your account
Mary is $100 overdrawn at the bank.
to pay off/clear your debts - to pay the money you owe
We'll buy a new care once we have cleared our debts.
to be short of money - to have very little money
I'd love to go, but I'm a bit short of money at the moment.
- teacher of English
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