B.E.L.L. Tips – Architecture

A building that looks like it is falling in itself.

B.E.L.L. Tips – Architecture

Issue #44

Learn English Here!

Tips and Tricks for Business English Language Learners (B.E.L.L.)


Each week I will send out some handy tips and useful exercises for adults learning to navigate and use the English language. Please feel free to share this newsletter with friends and colleagues. For more in-depth language coaching, use the link below to schedule a 1:1 consultation.

I find architecture to be fascinating! This is one of the reasons I love living in Europe. I can visit beautiful places with unique architecture that is thousands of years old. I can’t do that in the United States because the country is very young in comparison. However, my hometown of Las Vegas has a lot of interesting architecture like the building pictured above.

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Let’s explore some fun building and construction idioms for today’s vocabulary-building tip:

  1. A bridge too far = Going too far with something and it gets you into trouble or it fails.

Example: Speaking to me with that foul mouth is going a bridge too far, young man!

2. Back against the wall = You are in a difficult situation with no way out of it.

Example: My back was against the wall, I had to agree to the contract changes or lose the whole deal.

3. Bring the house down = Something that is outstanding and praised.

Example: The performance was amazing! It really brought down the house!

4. Burn your bridges = You’ve done something that is impossible to take back or do over.

Example: He has burned bridges at every agency in town. He will never get a job here.

5. House of cards = Something that is poorly thought out and will likely fail.

Example: I have seen many such careers fall like a house of cards in the cruel IT industry.

6. Talking to a brick wall = If you talk to someone and they do not listen to you, it is like talking to a brick wall.

Example: Talking to my teenager is like talking to a brick wall.

7. Born in a barn = Not having manners, like an animal.

Example: Chew with your mouth closed, you weren’t born in a barn.

8. Off the wall = something that is very different or unconventional.

Example: That presentation was really off the wall!


Understand the basics of prepositions with this video:

video preview

Reading Practice:

Notre Dame in Paris suffered a serious fire in 2019. Read the brief article below describing the progress of rebuilding this historic building:


Weekly Challenge

Here is some more practice with conditionals. Choose the pair that works best for each sentence below:

  1. If I ______ my own business, I ______ more stressed.

    • would have/would be
    • had/might be
    • had/will be
    • didn’t have/won’t be
  2. What ______ you do if you ______ in my position?

    • would/were
    • would/are
    • will/were
    • can/were
  3. If John ______ me today, ______ him the news.

    • calls/I would tell
    • calls/I’d tell
    • called/I’ll tell
    • calls/I’ll tell
  4. They said that if they ______ a bigger budget that ______ buying new laptops.

    • will have/they’d consider
    • would have/they’d consider
    • had/they’d consider
    • had/they’ll consider
  5. If Carla ______ such a good relationship with her supervisor, she ______ for another job.

    • hadn’t/might look
    • will have/might look
    • wouldn’t have/might look
    • didn’t have/might look
  6. If they ______ me a company car, ______ their offer.

    • offer/I might accept
    • offered/I will accept
    • offer/I’d accept
    • would offer/I’ll accept
  7. If my schedule ______, ______ earlier.

    • changes/I’ll must wake up
    • changes/I’ll have to wake up
    • changed/I’ll have to wake up
    • will change/I have to wake up
  8. If it ______ easier to obtain visas for foreign workers, my company ______ more software developers from other countries.

    • would be/might hire
    • will be/will hire
    • were/would hire
    • weren’t/won’t hire
  9. If our client ______ us an extension, ______ enough time to do the job right.

    • grants/we’ll have
    • granted/we’ll have
    • wouldn’t grant/we’d have
    • will grant/we’ll have
  10. If we ______ free shipping, ______ placing the order today?

    • will offer/would you consider
    • offered/you would consider
    • would offer/would you consider
    • offered/would you consider

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