IDIOM CONNECTION

Lesson 60

Negotiation Idioms and a Union

Introduction

Do you know any unions and companies or other organizations that have recently had problems with their negotiations?

Reading

The union and the post office began negotiations for a new contract but the negotiations quickly bogged down. The two sides seemed to have no common ground and they were unable to reach an agreement. The union wanted a large salary increase but the post office rejected this idea. The post office did not want to give the union any more money and they were sticking to their guns over this issue. Both sides were standing their ground and the negotiations soon reached a stalemate. The union and the post office had painted themselves into a corner. Finally, the government had to use its power to force the two sides to reach a deal.

Reading Questions

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

1. What quickly bogged down?

2. Who seemed to have no common ground?

3. Were the two sides able to reach an agreement?

4. Who was sticking to their guns?

5. Were both sides standing their ground?

6. Did the negotiations reach a stalemate?

7. Who painted themselves into a corner?

8. Who used its power to force the two sides to reach 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. A bog is an area of land that is usually wet and muddy. It is difficult to build houses and roads there. If you try to walk through a bog you will have a difficult time walking and you will make no progress. What do you think that to bog down means in the following sentence?

The project was very difficult and I quickly became bogged down with it.
a)    began to work very quickly
b)    slowed down and made no progress
c)    decided to stop working

Your answer:   ___  out of 1

2. If you are standing on ground that is common to you and to other people then you are on common ground. If you have common property, then you have property that is shared by everyone. What does common ground mean in the following sentence?

The two negotiators seem to have no common ground.
a)    opposite opinions
b)    arguments
c)    similar opinions

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

3. The airline workers could not reach an agreement with their company.
a)    complete an agreement
b)    agree how to begin the negotiations
c)    begin the negotiations

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

4. Many years ago, on military sailing ships, the sailors were told to stay near their guns even when they were being attacked. What does to stick to one's guns mean in the following sentence?

The man is sticking to his guns in his dispute with his company.
a)    trying hard to end
b)    refusing to change his ideas in
c)    very angry because of

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

5. When an army stands its ground in a battle, it means that they stand and fight in order to defend the ground where they are standing. They will not move. What does to stand one's ground mean in the following sentence?

I decided to stand my ground in my fight with my company.
a)    talk about many things
b)    refuse to change my position
c)    try not to become angry

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

6. In the game of chess, there are some situations where there is no winner and no loser. Therefore, no more progress can be made. This is called a stalemate. What do you think that to reach a stalemate means in the following sentence?

The negotiations between the two countries soon reached a stalemate.
a)    stopped
b)    went very well
c)    did not begin

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

7. If you are painting the floor in a room and you keep painting the floor until you are in a corner then you will not be easily able to move because the floor is covered by wet paint. You have painted yourself into a corner and you are in a difficult situation where you cannot escape. What does to paint yourself into a corner mean in the following sentence?

The negotiator painted himself into a corner with his demands.
a)    was in a very good position
b)    got into a very difficult position
c)    was not serious

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

8. The buyer and seller finally reached a deal in their negotiations.
a)    agreed to do business
b)    decided not to do business
c)    stopped talking

Your answer is: ___  out of 1



Match the Sentences

Choose the best answer for each sentence:

1. I was bogged down with my project at work.
a)    The project was progressing very well.
b)    The project was not progressing well.

Your answer:   ___  out of 1

2. There was much common ground between the two groups.
a)    The two groups did not have a good relationship.
b)    The two groups had a good relationship.

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

3. I was not able to reach an agreement to buy the car.
a)    It was difficult to negotiate for the car.
b)    It was easy to negotiate for the car.

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

4. The manager never sticks to his guns when he tries to change company policy.
a)    The manager always continues with something that he starts.
b)    The manager never continues with something that he starts.

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

5. The negotiating team decided to stand their ground in the negotiations.
a)    The negotiating team was flexible during the negotiations.
b)    The negotiating team was not flexible during the negotiations.

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

6. The negotiations between the two companies reached a stalemate.
a)    The two companies completed their negotiations.
b)    The two companies did not complete their negotiations.

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

7. I painted myself into a corner in my dispute with my boss.
a)   I was in a difficult situation with my boss.
b)   I was in a good situation with my boss.

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

8. We reached a deal to buy the new product.
a)   We will buy the new product.
b)   We will not buy the new product.

Your answer is: ___  out of 1




Grammar Focus

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

1. Our team was ______________ with the computer project.
a)    bogged over
b)    bogged up
c)    bogged down

Your answer:   ___  out of 1

2. We had no ____________________ with the other team.
a)    common grounding
b)    common ground
c)    common grounds

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

3. It was difficult to _________________ with my company.
a)    reach a agreement
b)    reach a agreements
c)    reach an agreement

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

4. The manager always __________________ when he makes a demand to the workers.
a)    sticks to his guns
b)    stuck to his guns
c)    sticking to his guns

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

5. We ________________ yesterday in our dispute with the salesman.
a)    stood our ground
b)    stand our ground
c)    standing our ground

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

6. The two groups quickly __________________ in their negotiations.
a)    reached stalemates
b)    reached the stalemate
c)    reached a stalemate

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

7. I do not want to ______________________ during the negotiations.
a)   paint myself into a corner
b)   paint myself into corners
c)   paint myself into the corners

Your answer is: ___  out of 1

8. We could not ___________________ with our supplier.
a)   reach a deal
b)   reached a deal
c)   reaching a deal

Your answer is: ___  out of 1




Discussion Questions

Answer the following questions using the idioms from this section:

1. Do you sometimes get bogged down in the details of planning a trip?

2. Have you ever been bogged down in a project?

3. Do you have much common ground with your friends?

4. Do you know any groups or people who are negotiating but have no common ground?

5. Can you easily reach an agreement when you are having a dispute with someone?

6. Do you know any athletes who could not reach an agreement with their team?

7. Do you know someone who always sticks to his or her guns when they say something?

8. Do you know someone who never sticks to his or her guns when they say that they are going to do something?

9. Do you always stand your ground when you are arguing with someone?

10. Do you know someone who will never stand his or her ground in an argument?

11. Do you know any recent negotiations which have reached a stalemate?

12. Have you ever been involved in some negotiations which reached a stalemate?

13. Have you ever painted yourself into a corner in an argument?

14. Do you know any groups who painted themselves into a corner while negotiating?

15. Do you think that you could always reach a deal if you were a negotiator?

16. Do you know two organizations or countries that cannot reach a deal in their negotiations?

Role Play

Student A: You are a travel company owner. There are thirty people who work for your travel company. They have a union. The union is negotiationg with the travel company for a new contract.

Student B: You are a travel company union representative. You are negotiating with the company for a new contract. The union wants a higher salary, longer holidays and one free airline ticket every year for each employee.

Lesson 60