Work in an office? Learn key office vocabulary with these words, phrases, and idioms.

Today, let’s focus on office terminology. I want to highlight 18 essential office items that everyone should be familiar with in English.

Whether you’re working in an office, school, or cubicle, these items are commonly encountered. Being able to discuss office equipment, in addition to grasping other office vocabulary, phrases, and idioms, is a crucial aspect of business English and can greatly assist in navigating the office environment.

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Office Vocabulary

Below is a compilation of frequently used office supplies:

  •   Pencil sharpener 
  •   Duct tape 
  •   Pencil cup
  •   Marker 
  •   Scissors 
  •   Hole punch
  •   Stapler 
  •   Desk calculator 
  •   Dossier
  •   Printer 
  •   Coffee machine 
  •   Office drawer 
  •   Filing cabinet
  •   Whiteboard
  •  Agenda = an appointment diary 
  •   Tape measure 
  •   Paperclip
  •   Post-it notes 
  •   Cutter 
  •   Fax machine
  •   Cell phone

Apart from these terms, it might be beneficial to familiarize yourself with some work-related idioms.

I’ve selected a few intriguing expressions related to work. I encourage you to grasp them and incorporate them into your English conversations.

 To pull your socks up – This signifies “putting in a significant amount of effort and working diligently.”

Example: That wasn’t a difficult task, so we didn’t pull our socks up to accomplish it.

 Roll up your sleeves –A commonly known phrase that signifies “getting ready to put in substantial effort.”

Example: It’s not easy work to do, so you have to roll up your sleeves.

 Learn the hard way –This expression signifies “gaining knowledge from one’s errors.”

Example: I used to learn the hard way.

To get your feet under the table – This expression signifies “swiftly adjusting to new roles or tasks and acquiring the ability to do something unfamiliar.”

Example: This time Kate quickly got her feet under the table.

To keep the nose to the grindstone –This extensive phrase indicates “putting in a diligent effort and focusing on the current task.”

Example: My husband keeps his nose to the grindstone when he works.

These phrases are straightforward, so familiarize yourself with them and employ them with assurance. For additional assistance, refer to our article on “English for the office” or consider enrolling in Preply Business for corporate English training.

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