BEP 210 – Business English Idioms: Colors (1)

In this Business English Pod lesson we’re going to look at business English idioms related to colors.

Every culture attaches special meaning to different colors. But different cultures attach different meanings. Take the word “red” for example. In English, when we say “in the red,” we mean in debt or operating at a loss. But to Chinese, “red” indicates good luck or gains in the financial markets. So, in English it’s negative, but in Chinese it’s positive. It could be pretty easy to make a mistake, either in speaking or in understanding.

In English, we can find idioms related to almost any color. But two colors are more common than others: black and white. In most cases, black comes with a negative meaning and white comes with a positive meaning. In most cases, that is. In this series we will see one idiom using the word “black” that has a positive meaning.

In today’s lesson, we’ll hear a conversation between Mike and Rachel, two colleagues at a large company. We will hear them casually discussing some of their recent experiences at work. And in their conversation, you will notice many idioms related to color. Try to keep a mental note of the idioms you hear, and we’ll go through them in the debrief to explain what they mean and how you can use them.

Listening Questions

1. What kind of mood was Mike in earlier in the day?
2. What did Dan do at a party?
3. What does Mike say is one positive outcome of the situation?

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