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Your New 6 Idioms About Problems [Podcast]

We're back with 6 new idioms to describe problems! Listen to these communication phrases and idioms to use in daily conversations. Pay attention to the examples and try to create your own sentences. Oh, and read the full transcript below!

#1 In over my head

Definition: Being too involved in something; having more difficulties than one can manage.

  • "When I started this job, in the beginning, I felt like I was in over my head. There was just so much going on!”

#2 To put out fires

Definition: To deal with emergencies rather than ordinary day-to-day tasks.

  • "I spent too much time putting out fires today with our servers that I didn't even have a chance to send my new proposal."

#3 A can of worms

Definition: To create a complicated situation in which doing something to correct a problem leads to many more problems.

  • “Some managers are reluctant to change the policy now because they don't want to open a can of worms."

#4 An uphill battle

Definition: A hard struggle; a very difficult task.

  • “Starting my own business truly is an uphill battle."

#5 To cross that bridge when we come to it

Definition: To deal with a problem when it occurs and not spend your energy worrying about it before it happens.

  • “I'm a bit concerned about her ability to handle this big problem, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it."

#6 Have my work cut out for me

Definition: To have a good amount of work or a difficult task challenging situation that I know is standing in front of me.

  • “I knew I had my work cut out for me when I saw all the incoming emails from angry customers."
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Idioms About Problems - Transcript Episode 16

If you are learning English, including new English words and expressions will help you with effective communication. Remember to check out our other episodes on how to make small talk, how to deliver engaging presentations, how to speak English fluently, and many more: visit the podcast website. Listen to it on your favorite platform:

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Welcome to Talaera Talks, the business English communication podcast for non-native professionals. My name is Paola and I am co-hosting this show with Simon. In this podcast, we're going to be covering communication advice and tips to help express yourself with confidence in English in professional settings. So we hope you enjoy the show!

Hello, and welcome to another Talaera Bit. My name is Simon and I'm your host today. If you've been following along with the previous bits, you know that what I'll do is take some expressions and put them into a story or into some kind of context that you can take away from and understand. Then afterwards, we'll go through the terms one by one, and we'll discuss what they mean. So let's get started.

Today we are talking about problems. Now, this will be part one of problems followed by part two of problems which Paola will take over after this episode. So that's something to stay tuned for.

I recently started a new job. And honestly, at the beginning, I felt like I was in over my head, there was just so much going on. And it just seemed like the whole day I was just putting out fires left and right. It just seemed like everything, every situation that I came across was almost like a can of worms. When I tried to fix something or tried to do something, then more issues would happen. It was pretty clear to me from the start that in this new job, it was just going to be an uphill battle to try and get all the things that I wanted to get done through. Finally, I had to come to the realization that you just need to take one problem at a time. And if you see something that might be a problem, you just need to cross that bridge when you come to it. Needless to say, I have my work cut out for me in this new position.

So let's start with the first one we talked about. In over my head, if you're in over your head, that's a feeling of, Okay, I'm involved in something that's really too much for me to handle, it's really too difficult. And I'm not sure how to Yeah, how to fix it, how to handle it.

Putting out fires, when you're putting out fires, we say this to describe that we have all these different problems that are coming. And our our whole job is just to kind of solve problems left and right. All these little fires pop up these problems, and we have to go in and just fix them.

A can of worms. When you think about a problem being a can of worms, you open the can and then what happens the worms go everywhere. So if you think about that, you start to fix one problem, but then that becomes several problems.

An uphill battle, an uphill battle, if you think about if you're fighting uphill, that makes it much more difficult than if you were just trying to solve a problem on a flat surface or fight a battle on a flat surface. So an uphill battle is really where you're having to struggle against yet unfavorable circumstances, these tough situations.

I talked about that eventually, I got into the mindset of with problems, I'm just going to have to cross that bridge when we come to it. So this is another way of kind of saying, you know, we will deal with this problem when it occurs and not spend our energy and focus worrying about right now when we can't control anything or when something hasn't happened yet. So a lot of times, you know, you'll think about Okay, I have this situation and what if this happens, what if this happens? What if this happens, you can say look, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

And then the last one, I really have my work cut out for me. Here what we were saying is Yeah, I have my work cut out for me, which means I definitely have a good amount of work or a difficult task challenging situation that I know is standing in front of me. So today we covered six expressions that you can use when discussing problems.

Now in the upcoming episodes, the upcoming Talaera Bit, Paola is going to go ahead and discuss expressions we can use to overcome problems. So go through, go back and listen again and see which ones you can pick up in that first segment that I discussed.

And again, you're going to learn it by applying it in your everyday life and thinking, Man, I this problem is just a real can of worms, or, you know what, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. So go ahead and try them out. And again, stay tuned for the part two, where we'll discuss expressions that you can use around overcoming and solving problems. So that was it for me today. Thank you all for listening. I hope wherever you are, you're doing well and you're happy and everything's going all right. And again, keep learning.

And that's all we have for you today. We hope you enjoyed it, and remember to subscribe to Talaera Talks. We'll be back soon with more! And visit our website at for more valuable content on business English. You can also request a free consultation on the best ways for you and your team to improve your communication skills. So have a great day and keep learning!

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