IDIOM CONNECTION

Lesson 58

A Business Contract and Some Sports Idioms

Introduction

1. Do you know any large construction contracts?

2. Do you know any large construction companies?

Reading

We thought that our company had the inside track to get the new construction contract. No other company was in the running. From the beginning, it was smooth sailing for our company and everything looked good. This changed when a small construction company came out of left field and decided to also bid on the contract. It was usually par for the course to have some competition in the bidding process so we were not surprised at this. However, this small company had a bad reputation and did not do business on a level playing field. The contract was not a safe bet for our company anymore and we would have to rethink our plans. However, at this stage of the game, we had already made much effort and we would continue to work hard to win the contract.

Reading Questions

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

1. Who thought that they had the inside track to get the new construction contract?

2. Was another company in the running to get the contract?

3. Was it smooth sailing from the beginning for the company?

4. Who came out of left field?

5. Was it usually par for the course to have some competition in the bidding process?

6. Did the small company usually do business on a level playing field?

7. Was the contract still a safe bet for this company?

8. At this stage of the game do they want to continue trying to get the new contract?

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 following idioms:

1. In a curved racetrack the path on the inside is the inside track. A horse or runner has an advantage when running there. What does to have the inside track mean in other situations?
a)    to have an advantage
b)    to have a disadvantage
c)    to be in a bad situation

Your answer:   ___  out of 1

2. In horse racing, two horses are in the running when they both have a chance to win. What does to be in the running for something mean?
a)    to be running somewhere
b)    to be competing for something
c)    to stop your plans to do something

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

3. When you are sailing a boat and it is smooth sailing, then the sailing is easy and uncomplicated. What does smooth sailing mean in other situations?
a)    causing a big problem
b)    proceeding with no problems
c)    looking for a problem to solve

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

4. Which of the following does to come out of left field mean?
a)    to happen as expected
b)    to be unexpected
c)    to happen as planned

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

5. Par is an amount or level of something that is considered to be average or equal. In golf, the par for a course is the expected number of times that a good player is expected to hit the golf ball to get it in all the holes. What does par for the course mean in other situations?
a)    to be an unexpected event
b)    to be expected in a certain situation
c)    to be very unusual

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

6. If two teams are playing on a field that is not level, then one of the teams will have an advantage that is not fair. What is the meaning of on a level playing field?
a)    a situation where everyone has an equal chance
b)    a situation which includes many people
c)    a situation where one team will easily win

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

7. A bet is when you risk money on the results of an event or a competition. What does a safe bet mean?
a)    a certain bet
b)    an uncertain situation
c)    a good idea

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

8. What does at this stage of the game mean?
a)    after an activity is finished
b)    at this point in an activity
c)    before an activity begins

Your answer is: ___  out of 1



Correct or Incorrect

Which of these sentences uses the idiom correctly? Which uses it incorrectly? Why?

1. The man has the inside track for the job. He has almost no chance to get the job.
a)    Correct
b)    Incorrect

Your answer:   ___  out of 1

2. The boy is in the running for the award at his school. He cannot get the award.
a)    Correct
b)    Incorrect

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

3. It will be smooth sailing for the company when the negotiations finish. Things should proceed well.
a)    Correct
b)    Incorrect

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

4. The president's decision to leave the company came out of left field. It was unexpected.
a)    Correct
b)    Incorrect

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

5. It is par for the course that the sales manager sells the most products in his company. It is always expected.
a)    Correct
b)    Incorrect

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

6. The two negotiating teams are on a level playing field. Their power is unequal.
a)    Correct
b)    Incorrect

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

7. It is a safe bet that the union will accept the new contract offer. The union will probably not accept the offer.
a)   Correct
b)   Incorrect

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

8. At this stage of the game the company will not invest more money in the project. The company is not going to invest more money in the project.
a)   Correct
b)   Incorrect

Your answer is: ___  out of 1




Grammar Focus

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

1. The girl has __________________ to get the job.
a)    inside tracks
b)    the inside track
c)    some inside tracks

Your answer:   ___  out of 1

2. The woman is __________________ to get the new job.
a)    in a running
b)    in running
c)    in the running

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

3. The meeting was very long and difficult but it was ______________ after we discussed the main problem.
a)    smooth sailing
b)    smooth sails
c)    smooth sailed

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

4. The new policy by the government came ________________ .
a)    out in left field
b)    out of left field
c)    out for left field

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

5. The woman is always late for work. It is __________________ .
a)    par for course
b)    par for courses
c)    par for the course

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

6. The company expects ___________________ when it tries to get a contract.
a)    a level playing field
b)    level playing fields
c)    level playing field

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

7. It is _________________ that the company will not be able to continue doing business.
a)   safely betting
b)   the safe bets
c)   a safe bet

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

8. The company is not doing well and _________________ it is probably too late to continue in business.
a)   at these stages of the game
b)   at this stage of the game
c)   at the stages of the game

Your answer is: ___  out of 1




Discussion Questions

Answer the following questions using the idioms from this section:

1. Did you ever have the inside track to get a good job?

2. Do you know anyone who always seems to have the inside track to get what he or she wants?

3. Have you ever been in the running for an award?

4. Do you know any companies that are in the running to get a big contract?

5. Was it smooth sailing for you during your last year in school?

6. Is it basically smooth sailing for you at the moment?

7. What event in your recent past has come out of left field?

8. Do you know any government policies that came out of left field?

9. Is it par for the course that you sometimes have no money?

10. Is it par for the course that someone you know is often late?

11. Do you think that public companies are playing on a level playing field with private companies?

12. Do you know anyone else who is not playing on a level playing field?

13. Is it a safe bet that you will get a great job in the future?

14. Do you know anything that is not a safe bet now?

15. At this stage of the game, would you like to stop studying English?

16. Do you know any sports teams that, at this stage of the game, have no chance to win this season?

Role Play

Student A: You are trying to get a contract to provide food services for businesses in the downtown area of your city. You have the inside track to get a good contract. You are presenting your bid to a company.

Student B: You are the company that is looking for someone to provide food services for companies downtown. You are asking questions about the bid to get the contract.

Lesson 58
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