” Peace and Quiet. Now that’s something I haven’t heard in a long time.”
Ever heard of expressions like “more or less”, “ups and downs”, “peace and quiet”?
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 so if you tried saying “less or more” or “quiet and peace” you would receive some strange looks from proficient speakers of English.
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Why bother learning binomials?
A very good point. Let’s not bother then.
The trouble is…. binomials are practically second nature to proficient speakers of English. In other words, they come naturally to them so if you want to sound natural when you communicate in English, you need to add binomials to your vocabulary basket.
The bad news is there are hundreds of binomials and simply learning a list of binomials can be extremely tedious (boring)
The good news, on the other hand, is binomials are not too difficult to learn. All you need to do is learn a few each day (in their right context) and try to use them in your writing or spoken English.
Having said lists are boring, I am going to share 11 expressions with you.
However, I am going to tell you a story that includes these 11 binomials.
Your task is to guess, from the context, the meaning of each binomial and share it with me in the comments box.
The other day, I arrived at the office around 7am. I know it’s early but I am fortunate because I can pick and choose when to arrive at the office. So, sometimes I get in at 10 am and other times it’s at 7am.
Anyway, that day I needed to get some odds and ends finished before an important meeting. I was working quietly away when Jason burst in ranting and raving about our new client. I am not too sure what his problem was, but I had to try and calm him down.
Now I like Jason. He is one of our newer recruits and I must say that since joining our firm, he has progressed by leaps and bounds in a relatively short time. But he can get rather emotional. He often sees things as black and white. There are no grey areas in his world!
Anyway, once I managed to calm him down he told me what his issue was with our new client. He has been dealing with the new client for a few months now and I tried to explain to him that sooner or later, he was going to have to find a way to work with this client. He can’t have this all or nothing attitude with all his clients.
Back to my meeting. I don’t know about you but I do love my meetings to be short and sweet. That way you have the rest of the day to get the real work done. I hate those meetings where we keep going to and fro with ideas without coming to any real conclusions on anything.
My job involves a lot of corporate entertainment where we have to wine and dine our key clients. Some people think corporate entertainment is a waste of time and a poor return on investment. Too much money is wasted for very little reward.
I don’t agree especially when there’s a potential problem. If you work on your clients by entertaining them, making them feel special you will slowly but surely solve all outstanding issues you may have with them.
Over to you
How did you do? Can you guess the meaning of these binomials? Share your ideas with me and I’ll tell you if you’re right and correct you if you’re not. What other binomials do you know and love using?
Then, pick the ones you like and try and incorporate them in your business writing or conversation next time. If you want feedback from me, all you need to do is share your sentence and I’ll answer you.
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Ciao for now
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