The English language has some interesting expressions with the word “business” – and not all of them have to do with companies or work. Let’s learn 10 of these phrases and how to use them.
1. let’s get down to business
This phrase simply means “let’s start working seriously.” For example, if you’re doing a group project with other students, and the other students are chatting about unrelated topics, you could say “let’s get down to business” to express the fact that it’s time to begin doing what you need to do (the project).
2. funny business
This expression refers to dishonest/deceptive action. For example, if there’s a politician who was involved in corruption and using money illegally, you can say, “He’s been involved in some funny business, so I won’t vote for him.”
3. business as usual
This means the typical, ordinary way of doing things – nothing is different from normal activity. For example, the leaders of a country might be trying to change the laws about health care, but in the hospitals it’s business as usual. This means the hospital workers are continuing their normal work; nothing has changed.
4. back in business
Saying that someone or something is “back in business” means it has returned to normal activity after a period of time when that was not possible due to malfunction, repair, or other bad conditions.
For example, if your computer stops functioning and you call a technician to fix it, he might work on it for a while and when he’s done he might say, “Okay, we’re back in business!” – meaning the computer is fixed and is now working normally.
5. [someone] means business
This means that the person is very, very serious about something. For example, maybe you and your roommate don’t really clean the apartment very well. One day your roommate gathers the cleaning supplies and says that you’re both going to spend the entire afternoon cleaning everything. You could say, “I could tell by the expression on her face that she meant business.” (she was not joking, she was serious about wanting to clean very thoroughly)
6. [do something] like nobody’s business
If you can do something “like nobody’s business,” it means you can do it extremely well, extremely quickly, or extremely easily. For example, “I’m not a great cook, but my husband can cook like nobody’s business” = he is very talented at cooking.
7. It’s none of your business
This phrase means “it’s not your concern” and is a way to tell someone to stop inquiring about or trying to interfere in your life or affairs. For example, if someone is asking you lots of questions about a personal or private topic, you can say “It’s none of your business.”
8. Mind your own business!
This is similar to the previous phrase – it’s a more forceful way to tell someone “focus on your own life, not on mine.” For example, if your friend is constantly asking about your sex life and you’re getting annoyed by such personal questions, you could tell your friend, “Mind your own business!” because you want them to stop trying to get information about your life.
9. make it one’s business to [do something]
If you “make it your business to do something,” it means you decide to take on a certain task/responsibility. Again in the example of a group project, you could say, “I made it my business to check the paper very carefully for spelling mistakes before we turned it in.” This is a responsibility that nobody gave to you; you decided to do it deliberately.
10. go out of business
When a company “goes out of business,” it means it has no more money to continue operating, so it must shut down. For example, when computers became common, companies that manufactured typewriters went out of business.