Businesses ‘Feeling the Pinch’

Some useful English idioms for describing a financial situation

Listen and read the news item. Guess what the idioms mean,  then check below.

B.I.G.Co goes into the red

Profits are down this year for the multinational B.I.G. Co, and figures show the company is in the red. B.I.G.’s chief executive says, “A slowdown in the world economy means that a lot of companies are feeling the pinch. Many are cutting their expenses and trying to operate on a shoestring, but we’re big enough to keep going normally, and we’ll be back in the black next year.”


in the red – in debt, or earning less than spending
in the black – in credit, or earning more than spending

feel the pinch – begin to feel poor

on a shoestring – with very little money to spend

‘I know we’re on a shoestring, but this is crazy!’

funny cartoon

Practice: choose the right idiom.

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