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Organising Vocabulary

Everybody always needs to learn new vocabulary. Sometimes it’s the specialist words and phrases you need for an important meeting. Very often, you just want more words so you can contribute to and understand more in general conversation.

Before you can learn new vocabulary, you need to collect and record it. The most effective language learners establish a personal system for storing and reviewing new vocabulary.

Watch the video for advice on how to organise your vocabulary.

Special OfferVocabulary Organizer by Pete Sharma and Barney Barrett

Stratford Teachers have a special, summer offer.

If you book and pay for a course with us before the start of September, we will send you a FREE copy of Organising Vocabulary by Pete Sharma and Barney Barrett.

Use the Contact Us page to get in touch.

‘Growing’ your business

A crop of tomatoesStrawberry plants bearing fruit

Did you know, when we talk about business, we use a lot of idioms connected with gardening and growing?

How many garden and growing idioms can you find in these short conversations? Can you guess what they mean?

Listen to each conversation then try the exercise. The transcripts and answers are at the bottom of the page.


How many garden and growing idioms do you hear?

Money for advertising

The new contract

The interviews

Office closure


Can you match the idioms to their meanings?

1 plough money into a  to produce a result (especially after a long period of hard work)
2 perennial problem b  to separate out (a smaller group from a larger group / people who are less suitable from those who are more suitable)
3 bear fruit c  to go into a different direction/ business area
4 dig out d  to put (a lot of) time/money into a project
5 a crop of e  to result from
6 weed out f  to find something you have not used or seen for a long time
7 stem from g a group of people who achieve something or become known for something at the same time (eg graduates)
8 branch out  h  something which always exists, never seems to change

Transcripts and answers

WeedsCrop of applesa spade

Money for advertising

A: How was the meeting?

B: Well, the Board want to plough more money into advertising, but I think we should be spending it on getting the products right first!

A: Hmm, I know what you mean. It’s a perennial problem:  increase advertising without having any new products or develop new products but lack the budget to promote them!


The new contract

A:  Did you hear we got the Strathco contract?

B: That’s great – all that hard work has finally borne fruit.

A: Yes, I’ll have to go back and dig out the research I did right at the beginning  of the process – over a year ago!


The interviews

A: Have you finished all the interviews?

B: Yes, just did the last few this morning – there’s a really strong crop of graduates this year, so we’ve got lots of good candidates.

A: That’s good to hear –how many are we taking?

B: Only 10, so I’ve now got the difficult job of weeding out the less suitable ones.


Office closure

A: Have you heard they’re closing the Leicester office?

B: Yes – their results have been pretty bad for the last couple of years, haven’t they?

A: Yeah, I think it all stems from relying on one or two big clients and when they lost those contracts….

B: You’re right – we should make sure that doesn’t happen here.

A: Yes but we could also branch out into other areas of business …….



1d 2h 3a 4f 5g 6b 7e 8c


By Joy


If you have any questions or comments, leave a reply below.

Do you want to learn English idioms? Send us a message.


Business idioms

It cost an arm and a leg!
It cost an arm and a leg!

Idioms are fixed phrases with a specific meaning.

Our latest video looks at idioms about time and money that are common in the business world. After you watch, test yourself with the quiz.

Now test yourself. The answers are at the bottom of the page.

Quiz 1

Choose the correct definition for each idiom.

1. at the eleventh hour

  1. go at your own pace
  2. at the last possible moment
  3. very quickly

2. stony broke

  1. have no money
  2. do something quickly and cheaply
  3. very expensive

3. in no time

  1. not up to date
  2. very quickly
  3. go at your own pace

4. cost an arm and a leg

  1. in debt
  2. have no money
  3. very expensive

Quiz 2

Choose the correct idiom to complete each sentence.

1. Don’t rush. It’s better to ____ and get it right the first time.

  1. take your time
  2. cost an arm and a leg
  3. cut costs

2. They are so _____ .They don’t even use Facebook and Twitter.

  1. in the red
  2. stony broke
  3. behind the times

3. It’s no surprise the company went out of business. They’d been _____ for nearly 2 years.

  1. in the red
  2. behind the times
  3. at the eleventh hour

4. If you _____ now, it can sometimes be more expensive in the long-term.

  1. take your time
  2. cut corners
  3. cost an arm and a leg

by Barney


If you have any questions or comments, leave a reply below.

Do you want to learn some English idioms? Send us a message.



Quiz 1: 1. b, 2. a, 3. b, 4. c

Quiz 2: 1. a, 2. c, 3. a, 4. b

get – business: answers

On MondayFinancial problems, we posted a new video of Joy and Louise talking about problems in a company.

In that conversation they used get indifferent ways and in different idioms.

The activities page had three exercises.

You can download the answers to those exercises here.


If you are interested in learning English vocabulary with Stratford Teachers, send us a message.


get – business

This week we focus again on the verb get.

Get is a little word but has many uses in English. You can read about some of the meanings here.

Last time, you listened to Louise and Joy having an informal conversation on the phone.

This time, watch the video and listen to Louise and Joy talking about the problems at a company.

After you watch the video, download the activities. Try and do the first activity before you look at the transcript.


Download the activities.

Download the transcript.

Come back on Wednesday to see the answers.


By Joy, Louise and Barney


If you have any questions or comments, leave a reply below.

If you are interested in learning with Stratford Teachers, send us a message.