IDIOM CONNECTION

Lesson 53

Negotiation Idioms and a Sports Contract

Introduction

Do you know any sports teams and players that had problems when they were trying to negotiate a contract?

Reading

From the beginning, the professional athletes decided to drive a hard bargain in their contract negotiations with the team owners. The players were hard-nosed during the negotiations and they showed no flexibility. They refused to give ground on the issue of free agents. However, the team owners closed ranks and decided to draw the line on this issue. Neither side would give in. The negotiations went down to the wire just before the start of the new season. Finally, both sides compromised and they were able to hammer out a deal and start the new season as planned.
a free agent is a player whose contract has ended and who can now sign a contract with a different team

Reading Questions

Answer the following questions. The answers can easily be found in the reading above.

1. Who decided to drive a hard bargain with the team owners?

2. Who was hard-nosed during the negotiations?

3. Did the players refuse to give ground on the issue of free agents?

4. Did the team owners close ranks?

5. Did the team owners decide to draw the line on the issue of free agents?

6. Did either side give in at the beginning of the negotiations?

7. Did the negotiations go down to the wire?

8. Were both sides finally able to hammer out a deal?

Making Connections and Idiom Meanings


Some of the idioms have another meaning or are connected to another meaning. Use this information to help you choose the correct meaning for each of the underlined idioms:


1. One meaning of drive is to try hard to do something in order to reach a goal. Hard bargaining is when you are trying to get all of the advantages for yourself. What does to drive a hard bargain mean in the following sentence?

The union negotiators always drive a hard bargain.
a)    bargain hard in order to get most of the benefits
b)    take a flexible approach to bargaining
c)    drive carefully to their bargaining sessions

Your answer:   ___  out of 1

2. The man is a very hard-nosed negotiator.
a)    relaxed
b)    serious and inflexible
c)    interesting

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

3. When an army gives ground it gives back some of the land or ground that it has taken. When you are negotiating you can also give ground. What does this mean in the following sentence?

The bank manager would not give ground during the negotiations.
a)    negotiate hard
b)    go back from his position
c)    speak slowly

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

4. A rank is the grade or level of someone in the military. When soldiers close ranks, it means that the ranks move close together in a military formation. What does to close ranks mean in the following sentence?

The managers closed ranks in order to support the company president.
a)    joined together in order to support
b)    divided themselves into groups in order to support
c)    asked many questions to

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

5. One theory about the origin of the expression to draw the line is that it comes from tennis where you would draw a line that you are not permitted to cross when you are playing. What does to draw the line mean in the following sentence?

The company will draw the line and make a limit and become more strict with their lateness policy.
a)    decide on a limit
b)    begin negotiations
c)    talk to the employees

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

6. The boy decided to give in and let his friend have the ball.
a)    not stop fighting
b)    stop fighting and do what his friend wanted
c)    become angry

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

7. A string or a wire is used to mark the finishing line in a horse race. When a horse race goes down to the wire, the race is decided at the very end of the race? What does to go down to the wire mean in the following sentence?

The negotiations for the new contract will probably go down to the wire.
a)    finish much before the deadline
b)    continue until the last minute
c)    continue tomorrow morning

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

8. To hammer means to hit something. You often use a hammer to hit nails when you are making something. What does to hammer out an agreement mean in the following sentence?

The two businessmen are trying to hammer out an agreement.
a)    make an agreement
b)    cancel an agreement
c)    begin to negotiate

Your answer is: ___  out of 1



Match the Sentences

Choose the best answer for each sentence:

1. The businessman always drives a hard bargain when he negotiates.
a)    The businessman is very relaxed and flexible.
b)    The businessman is a serious and hard negotiator.

Your answer:   ___  out of 1

2. The man was very hard-nosed during the negotiations.
a)    The man was very flexible during the negotiations.
b)    The man was not flexible during the negotiations.

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

3. Nobody would give ground during the meeting.
a)    Nobody at the meeting was flexible.
b)    Everybody at the meeting was flexible.

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

4. The boys closed ranks to support their friend.
a)    The boys worked together to help their friend.
b)    The boys did not help each other to help their friend.

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

5. The company will draw the line and will not permit the employees to use social media at work anymore.
a)    The employees probably never used social media much at work.
b)    The employees were probably using social media too much at work.

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

6. The customer was very determined so finally the salesman gave in regarding the sales discount.
a)    The salesman probably gave the customer a discount.
b)    The salesman probably did not give the customer a discount.

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

7. The workers on the project are going down to the wire.
a)   The project will be finished near the deadline.
b)   The project will be finished much before the deadline.

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

8. The players and the team owner hammered out a new agreement.
a)   The players and the owners made a new agreement.
b)   The players and the owners did not make a new agreement.

Your answer is: ___  out of 1




Grammar Focus

Choose the word or expression that makes each of the following sentences correct:

1. The car salesman tried to __________________ when he was selling the car.
a)    drive hard bargains
b)    drive a hard bargain
c)    drive the hard bargain

Your answer:   ___  out of 1

2. The businessman is very ________________ in his approach to business.
a)    hard-noses
b)    hard-nose
c)    hard-nosed

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

3. The team owner would not _________________ in the dispute with the players.
a)    give ground
b)    give grounds
c)    give a ground

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

4. Most countries ___________________ in order to support the trade deal.
a)    closed up ranks
b)    closed ranks
c)    closed the ranks

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

5. The managers ____________________ at discussing the new policy.
a)    drew the line
b)    drew up lines
c)    drew down the line

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

6. The union would not _______________ in their dispute with the company.
a)    give over
b)    give out
c)    give in

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

7. Everything went __________________ before the city made a decision about the new stadium.
a)   down to wires
b)   down to the wire
c)   down a wire

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

8. The players and managers could not ____________________ a deal to make a new contract.
a)   hammer out
b)   hammer in
c)   hammer over

Your answer is: ___  out of 1




Discussion Questions

Answer the following questions using the idioms from this section:

1. Do you know anyone who drives a hard bargain when they negotiate?

2. Would you drive a hard bargain if you were negotiating for something?

3. Would you give ground in a situation where you were right and the other person was obviously wrong?

4. Has anyone ever given ground when you were arguing with him or her?

5. Do you think that you would be a hard-nosed negotiator if you were negotiating for something?

6. Do you know any hard-nosed negotiators?

7. Have you ever closed ranks with a group of people about something?

8. Do you know any situation where a group of people closed ranks?

9. Do you ever draw the line when you are in a dispute with someone?

10. Did anyone ever draw the line when you were asking for something?

11. Do you give in easily when you are in a dispute?

12. Do you know anyone who will never give in during an argument?

13. Do you know any negotiations that went down to the wire?

14. Have you ever done a project and you had to go down to the wire to finish it?

15. Have you ever worked hard to hammer out a deal with someone?

16. Do you think that it is easy to hammer out most details in most negotiations?

Role Play

Student A: You are a famous football player who is bargaining for a new contract. Your contract will end in three months. You must negotiate a new contract. You must negotiate the salary - $5 Million to $9 Million per year; the length of the new contract – three to six years; and a signing bonus - $1 Million to $2 Million.

Student B: You are a football team owner who is trying to negotiate a contract with the player. You are a very hard-nosed negotiator and you do not want to pay too much money.

Lesson 53