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English Idioms and Idiomatic Expressions 


from:   'shape up or ship out'   to:  'xerox subsidy'

  • shape up or ship out
    • This expression is used to warn someone that if they do not improve, they will have to leave their job.
      "When Tom started neglecting the customers, he was told to shape up or ship out."

  • show someone the ropes
    • If you show someone the ropes, you teach or explain to them how to do a particular job.
      "The manager is busy showing the ropes to two new trainees."

  • another string to your bow
    • If you have another string to your bow, you have another skill or possible course of action if everything else fails.
      "As well as her excellent qualifications, she's got another string to her bow to help her find a job. She speaks fluent Chinese."

  • tricks of the trade
    • This term refers to a clever or expert way of doing things, especially in a job.
      "He's a tough negotiator; he knows all the tricks of the trade."

  • waiting in the wings
    • If someone is waiting in the wings, they are waiting for an opportunity to take action, especially to replace someone else in their job or position.
      "There are many young actors waiting in the wings ready to show their talent."

  • walking papers
    • If you are given your walking papers, your contract or a relationship has ended.
      "After causing a diplomatic incident, Carter got his walking papers."

  • work to rule
    • During a conflict, when employees decide to do only the minimum amount of work required by company rules, and refuse any overtime, etc., they work to rule.
      "In protest against the new measures, the employees decided to work to rule."

  • worth one's salt
    • Someone who deserves respect because they do their job well is a person who is worth their salt.
      "Any inspector worth their salt would have checked the papers carefully."

  • xerox subsidy
    • Th term 'xerox subsidy' refers to the habit of using the photocopier at work for personal use.
      "A certain percentage of photocopies are in fact xerox subsidies."

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