Photo: Pixabay

Photo: Pixabay

Have you ever heard or seen these expressions – back and forth‘, ‘by and large‘, ‘safe and sound‘, ‘out and about‘, ‘more or less‘?

These are known as binomials. Binomials in English are two words that are linked by a conjunction (usually and/or) and used together as a fixed expression. The word order is fixed which means that you can’t say ‘forth and back‘ or ‘large and by’. Most languages, as far as I know, have similar expressions.

In this post, I’d like to share 12 binomial expressions commonly used in English including in Business English. The examples I’ve shown relate to a business context.

1. Give or take – more or less than the amount or time mentioned.
A: How long will it take you to complete this report?
B: It should take me a week, give or take a couple of days.

2. Goods and services – the products and services that are produced for sale.
The cost of household ​goods and ​services ​fell in the fourth quarter of 2015.

3. Hustle and bustle – a lot of noisy activity
After a busy week, I like to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city at the weekend.

4. Null and void – no longer legally acceptable
The contract between our two subsidiaries was declared null and void by the courts.

5. Pros and cons – the advantages and disadvantages of something
We need to weigh up the pros and cons of merging with XO before we can make a final decision. 

6. Short and sweet – not too long or complicated
Lucy’s presentation was excellent- short and sweet, just how I like it.

7. Sick and tired – unable to tolerate a situation any longer
I am so sick and tired of listening to Alan’s complaints about regulation. It’s the world we live in and he needs to just accept things as they are.

8. Sink or swim – to be left on your own to succeed or fail
This business is exciting but it can be nerve-wracking too for you can sink or swim in an instant.

9. Sooner or later – definitely some time later, although you don’t know when
If you keep ignoring your clients’ needs, sooner or later they will abandon you and go elsewhere.

10. Take it or leave it -often used in negotiations when you tell the other side that you will not make them a better offer
This is my final offer – take it or leave it.

11. Ups and downs – the good and bad aspects of an experience
Like all online businesses, we’ve had our ups and downs over the years.

12. Wait- and- see (adjective)this expression used in business is used as an adjective. A wait-and-see situation is where a business isn’t sure what to do and decides to wait.
The company has decided to take a wait-and-see approach while there is uncertainty in the currency markets.

What other binomial expressions do you know or use in English? Try and use the above expressions next time you use English whether spoken or written.

I hope you found this post useful. If you did, please share it and don’t forget to subscribe to my blog to receive more posts like these in your inbox.

Ciao for now



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