I haven’t written a post on business idioms in a long time. It’s probably because I’ve concentrated sharing business idioms with you in short videos as part of my Business Idioms and Coffee To Go series. If you haven’t checked out my video series yet, I’d encourage you do so.

[spacer height=”20px”]

Why learn business idioms?

[spacer height=”20px”]

Business idioms are a great way for you to understand spoken English when you’re communicating with native and proficient speakers of English. You don’t have to use them  but understanding them will certainly help you in your business communication in English.

Understanding business idioms also helps you when reading business material because idioms are often used in business articles.

[spacer height=”20px”]
In today’s post, I want to share 10 business idioms that have the word “long” in them. The examples I give all have a business context to them.

#1: Long Story Short

This is used when you don’t want to give all the details of something.

“Long story short, we’ve got 24 hours to go back with a better offer”.

[spacer height=”20px”]

#2: A Long Shot

Something you try but may not be successful

“It’s a long shot, but we could try and ask them for an extension to the deadline”.

[spacer height=”20px”]

#3: Take A Long,Hard Look At Something

Examine something carefully to improve it for the future

“If you want to keep your position here, you’re going to have to take a long, hard look at your relationship with your co-workers.”

[spacer height=”20px”]

#4: To Be Long In The Tooth

To be too old for something

“I am flattered by your offer, but I am too long in the tooth to take on (accept) this new role. I’ve had enough. I want to sit back and enjoy my last few years here.”

[spacer height=”20px”]

#5: Go A Long Way

To be very successful

“That was a job well done. If you continue to work this way, you’ll go a long way in this company”.

[spacer height=”20px”]

#6: Have Come A Long Way

To have advanced and improved over time

“When you think back to our humble beginnings 20 years ago, we’ve come a long way and for that you can be proud of your achievements.”

[spacer height=”20px”]

#7: Go Back A Long Way

If people go back a long way, they’ve known each other a long time.

Andrew: “How do you and Tom know each other?”
Charles: “Oh, Tom and I go back a long way, in fact, to our days at Durham University.”

[spacer height=”20px”]

#8: Not By A Long Shot

Not in any way

“This report is not comprehensive enough. Not by a long shot. You’re going to have to rewrite it, I’m afraid.”

[spacer height=”20px”]

#9: Long On Something and Short On Something

Having too much of one quality and too little of another.

“His proposal is long on what he wants from us and short on what he’s willing to give us.”

[spacer height=”20px”]

#10: A Long Face

When you look sad

“Hey, why the long face? You’ve single-handedly won the most lucrative contract for the company this year. You should be celebrating.”

[spacer height=”20px”]


Over to you

[spacer height=”20px”]

Choose the idioms you like, write them down in your notebook, think of a similar idiomatic expression in your native language and make a note of those too. That way the English version becomes more meaningful.

Then create your own sentences with those English idioms in a business context. If you want me to correct them, email them to me at shanthi@englishwithatwist.com and I’ll send you my feedback.

Remember it’s only through personalised practice you’ll improve your Business English communication. It’s only through personalised practice you’ll own your learning.

[spacer height=”20px”]

Good luck!

Ciao for now


[spacer height=”20px”]

Have a business idiom you are not sure about?

[spacer height=”20px”]

I am in the process of recording more Business Idioms and Coffee To Go videos to add to the series. If there are particular business idioms you’d like me to teach and share, share them with me at shanthi@englishwithatwist.com or in the comments box below and I’ll prepare a video.