English business jargon and slang terms QUIZ – the answers!

At last, the long-awaited answers to Tuesday’s business jargon and slang quiz
Answers to business quiz


a) Business Hiring Among Graduates
b) Big Hairy Audacious Goals
c) British Hiring And Grading

B) – BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals): no doubt pronounced, as an acronym, as “bee-hags!” This is a term used to describe a goal or objective in business that is very ambitious and will make the business concerned really stretch itself, but is a goal that will inspire everyone to work hard to achieve it.

2.Bust someone’s chops

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Business jargon and slang all the way to ZZZZ

The final part in our series on English business jargon and slang … although this is still a work in progress and is likely to be for years as more and more jargon and slang terms are devised in our business world!
Series on business jargon and slang
Under the weather: to feel under the weather means to feel unwell without any specific symptoms, or sometimes when you know what’s wrong with you but don’t want to share it with everyone else! Its origins are a little unclear, but generally seem to connect to sailors working on ships in rough seas where if they weren’t well, would be sent to the lower decks of the ship so that they were “under the weather,” so presumably they were less likely to be made sick by the rolling of the ship. There is also a theory that says the full phrase was “under the weather bow,” which is almost the opposite of the previous nautical connection: the weather bow is the part of the ship which moves and plunges the most, and if you’re under it you are like to feel unwell. All from the 20th century, though. [Read more…]

Get your business jargon and slang down to a TTTTTT…

You may know what most of these terms mean, but their origins are often very surprising. Here is the penultimate in this series, all starting with the popular letter “T…”

One in a series of articles on business jargon and slang

Does a “thought shower” allow you to “talk turkey” and “toe the line” about “the blue economy?”

Take pot luck: (or take potluck) is usually thought to be related to the US meaning, dating back to the late 19th century, where a large meal consists of individual edible contributions from all the guests. However the term goes back farther in time, to Britain in the 16th century, when to take pot luck meant to take your chances on what you get. Interestingly, both meanings of the term are still in use.

Take something with a grain/pinch of salt: to accept something for what it appears to be, but with some reservations as to its accuracy! This term comes from the days when much food was rather tasteless and in many cases might have been poisoned. The idea was that if you were to take such food with a “grain of salt,” or a “pinch of salt,” it made it easier to swallow. The first known reference to this goes back nearly two thousand years when Pliny wrote about it (“grain of salt”) in Naturalis Historia, back in 77 A.D. The term (also as “grain of salt”) was popular in England from the 16th century in examples like John Trapp’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments, in 1647, and F. R. Cowell (“pinch of salt”) in Cicero & the Roman Republic, in 1948. The amount of salt concerned with a “pinch” is obvious, and a “grain” is roughly .065 of a modern day gram. [Read more…]

Mind your Ps and Qs – English business jargon you love to hate

No matter how much we say we hate it, in business – and other areas of activity – jargon has become part of our lives whether we like it or not.

More English business jargon

Mind your Ps and Qs…

As we’re stuck with it, we may as well enjoy learning about its meanings and origins … so here we go with some more from my series. Enjoy…

From P to Q … business jargon for you

Pack rat: also “packrat” … a term in use in the USA since around the mid 19th century, meaning someone who hoards and keeps everything and can’t bear to throw anything away. Derived from the animal that takes small objects back to its nest and hoards them there. Can also be used as a verb, e.g. “he pack rats old newspapers saying he will read them again one day.” [Read more…]

Write a book or write a blog – or both

Sometimes an idea for a book might work better as a blog – which eventually can become a book (or more) as well. The two can work symbiotically for a classic win-win exercise … here’s how.

I was working with a group of writers the other day and one of them was discussing his ideas for a nonfiction memoir (book.) After a short time it became obvious that his concept was not just one book, but potentially three or four. To try to shoehorn that many angles into one book would have created a rather messy mishmash, and both my fellow author-tutor and I agreed that it wouldn’t work.

The poor guy looked a bit disappointed until I told him that his material would be perfect for a blog. Being an older man he wasn’t familiar with how that could work, but once we had explained it he went away with the URL for WordPress and a gleam in his eyes.

This is nothing new, of course. I’m sure you’ve heard of a number of books that started out as blogs. In fact in the USA they now have an annual awards process for blogs that became books called “The Blooker Prize,” with “blooks” being the ensuing hybrid.

One such “blook” even went on to become a “flook” starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams – a movie of the journal called “Julie and Julia” by Julie Powell, the true story of how and why she made every single recipe in the late Julia Childs’ cook book.

However it’s not always a matter of lifting a selection of blog posts straight into book format. Editing obviously is needed, and you may want to adjust content, too, once you have seen how it works in your blog.

Although Julie Powell’s “blook”was mainly singular and linear in nature, where I think the blog-rather-than-book-to-begin-with approach is especially useful, is for anyone who – like the man at the writing workshop – has more than one stream to the message they want to share. Here are some examples:


**Your poverty-stricken childhood in India

**Your career as an engineer in daunting circumstances

**Your success at overcoming depression

How-to book

**Organic vegetables and green growing

**The best way to plan and run an organic vegetable plot

**Recipes for delicious organic vegetarian cuisine

Modern history

**The allied armed forces’ activities in northern Europe during WW2

**The effect of the Nazi occupation on the local population in northern Europe

**The “warbrides” who went to North America after WW2

**How the influence of WW2 affected the “baby boomer” generation

As you know, a blog offers you the option not only to publish chunks of information in short, easily digestible posts, but also it lets you choose between making those posts linear or non-linear in content. You can even post consecutively about utterly different aspects of your theme, if you want to, then file them into categories which a blog supports easily.

Print books certainly can’t offer that kind of versatility and even eBooks, Kindle and the others aren’t anything like as flexible.

The other useful aspect of a blog is that it’s interactive – readers can comment on your posts and your ultimate book text grows and evolves organically. You will learn much more about your target audience this way than with pretty well any other type of research.

Your blog and book, properly configured and promoted, not only complement each other, but also help sell each other.

Much as you may think people won’t want to buy your material in book form if they can read it (or similar) for free online, it doesn’t work that way. Once you develop your book it will reach a slightly different or at least adjacent audience, for starters, and in any case people who may only dip in and out of a blog now and again will appreciate having everything together in one print or electronic volume.

Then, of course, the fact that you have gone into more than one stream of your material on your blog, you effectively will have laid the foundations of more than one book. Whether you actually go on to create more than one book will depend on how each stream of information is received by readers; a blog is a superb market testing tool.

What are your views? What experience do you have of blogs versus books? Please comment!

Blog or book, get writing brilliantly:

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write

“Business Writing Made Easy”…everything you need to know about writing for business in English

“How To Write Winning Non-fiction”…all you need to know to write a good non-fiction book and get it published

Children’s books? Sooo hard to get a publisher. But wait – there’s hope

Hundreds if not thousands of people have great ideas for children’s books and many of them are absolutely brilliant.

Trouble is, there is so much good stuff around that in the first instance, children’s book publishers AND relevant literary agents have the pick of crop dropped into their laps and can afford only to take on what they think will be not just good, but utterly sensational.

Children's books? Sooo hard to get a publisher. But wait - there's hope

The books are all based on the adventures of her dogs

Plus, these publishers think, at least, that they know what’s fashionable where in the children’s books market and to an extent can influence that according to their own whims. It’s a tough, tough market to crack.

However in this exchange between me and a friend whose friend has written some amazing stories for 7-10 year-olds, there may be light at the end of the tunnel…

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