Death and business English

There I was, giving my afternoon class feedback regarding yesterday’s flag and national anthem session. Then somehow, talk turned to graveyards, skeletons, death and burials. As Brigitte remarked, the topic clashed with the warm and sunny afternoon weather. Besides, what use could these words have to a learner of English?

While agreeing that the subject of death was not the brightest thing to talk about, I had to point out that language is very versatile and that one could easily make connections to the business world. Let me explain what I mean.

  • You message your friend suggesting you meet up for a drink tonight and he/she messages back saying they can’t because they are working THE GRAVEYARD SHIFT. Exactly… your friend is working the night shift and so won’t be free to meet up
  • The school where I work usually operates from Monday to Friday and can be very busy with students, teachers and office staff. Every so often, lessons are held on a Saturday too. In these cases, even though the school premises is open, there is only a SKELETON STAFF. In other words, while most of the employees are enjoying the weekend, a small number of them are actually at school like on a normal workday
  • Some years back there was talk of installing wind turbines out at sea to help generate clean energy for this island. It is now clear that that plan is DEAD AND BURIED. The authorities have declared that because of the depth of the sea, it does not make economic sense to have off-shore wind farms. In plain English, the plan is no more.

Over to you …

Do you ever have to work the GRAVEYARD SHIFT? What is your job? Do you like working at night? And is there a SKELETON STAFF at the time or the regular number of employees like during the day?

More for you …

Did you read yesterday’s post – Flying the flag?

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