Business English Idiom of the day

When you are involved in international business and you communicate often with native speakers of English,  you will continuously encounter business English idioms.

Mother tongue English speakers have the luxury of the global business lingua franca being English.  Therefore,  English natives are not very motivated (and not as good as other nations) to learn foreign languages.

So,  unfortunately they do not understand how difficult it is and how much effort is required to learn a new language.  Therefore,  native speakers often use phrasal verbs and idioms (which are super difficult for a non-native speaker to learn) in business communication, because they do not modify their vocabulary to aid or help their business partner,  who is, after all, speaking in a second language!

So,  bearing that in mind, it is a good idea to learn some common business English idioms,  so that you will not be at a disadvantage when negotiating on the telephone, or participating in a video conference call.


to be snowed under

MEANING: to be very busy because of having too much work to complete


1. I’m sorry,  I won’t be able to finish the report today because I’m snowed under with the end of year fiscal report.

2. John emailed me earlier to say that he wouldn’t be able to attend the meeting as he’s snowed under with the Gantt charts, which have got to go out to the client this afternoon.

3. Sorry for my late reply. Last week was my first week back after my annual leave and I was cemetery snowed under with a huge backlog of emails.


Another idiom with a similar meaning is: to be under the cosh

This has the added flavour of ‘being under lots of pressure’  because of an excess of work to do

It can be substituted into the above sentences without a problem. However,  to be snowed under is more commonly used.


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