Business Writing Essentials


Idiom is the proper way to say something, because once upon a time it became the accepted way to say something. There are thousands of idiomatic phrases. Don't even try to memorize the few idiomatic phrases below. Read them out loud to let your mind record the sounds of the word combinations. Then repeat the ones in bold, because they are idioms many people get wrong, and because you may be tested on those.


intends to do X

try to see if X

[bad: try and see if X]


based on X

[bad: based off of X]

[bad: based around X]

centered on X

concerned about X

independent of X

in search of X

modeled on X


associate X with Y

compared X to Y (re: similarities)

compared X with Y (re: differences)

not only X but also Y

[bad: not only X but Y]

not so much by X as by Y

not the X but the Y


one and the same

[bad: one in the same]

exact revenge

[bad: extract revenge]

because X

[bad: being as X]

somewhat X

[bad: kind of X]

We are all handicapped by the comfort of ignorance. Some people at work are complacent about their ignorance of proper English. They whine like little girlie men: "That's how people talk where I grew up!" Ignore their ignorance. Write correctly. Don't look back.

Lesson: Idiom
Module: Usage
Course: Business Writing Essentials