English Idioms About Negotiation

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  • Post last modified:25/10/2021
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Learn English idioms about negotiation. Improve your vocabulary and start speaking like a native speaker.

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List of negotiation idioms

English idioms about negotiation

English idioms about negotiation. Advanced English learning. Online English lessons on Zoom at www.englishlessonviaskype.com #learnenglish #englishlessons #EnglishTeacher #vocabulary #ingles

Hi there, this is Harry and welcome to another podcast where I try to help you to get a better understanding of the English language. You will be able to have better conversations. You’ll be able to better understand your colleagues on Zoom conference calls. So whatever it may be, we help you with your grammar, your pronunciation. We look at phrasal verbs, idiomatic expressions, everything connected with the English language. 

Today, we’re going to focus on negotiation and English idioms about negotiation. Hopefully, you’ll get a better understanding, and perhaps you’ll be able to practise and use some of them in your next English conversation.

Intermediate to Advanced English Marathon

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

INSANITY: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Let’s go through them.

to bend over backwards

Meaning: to try to do as much as possible for the person with whom you’re negotiating


I’ve bent over backwards for that customer, and he still won’t agree. I’m really frustrated. 

Or you might say to the kids, 

I’ve bent over backwards to make you happy. I’ve sent you to a good school, why can’t you be happy?

So when we bend over backwards for somebody, we do all we can all in our power, try and help them, try to make them more comfortable. 

So in a negotiation, when we bend over backwards, perhaps we do a little bit too much. 

to play somebody at their own game

Meaning: when you play somebody at their own game, you do exactly as they’re doing; you mirror the actions that they take

Many car dealers have their own tricks to squeeze more money out of you, you’ve got to play them at their own game!

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to give ground 

Meaning: to relent a little bit; to retreat

They’re not going to agree on everything in the contract. We might have to give ground on one or two points.

We need to hold firm on those points that we don’t want to give any ground on.


to drive/strike a bargain/deal

We can drive a bargain. We can strike a bargain. So the words mean exactly the same. 

Meaning: to reach an agreement

We struck a bargain today, the building starts next week.

We’ve driven hard bargain. – meaning we’ve had lots of negotiation. 

English idioms about negotiation

English idioms about negotiation. Advanced English learning. Online English lessons on Zoom at www.englishlessonviaskype.com #learnenglish #englishlessons #EnglishTeacher #vocabulary #ingles

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to agree to disagree

Meaning: we use this expression to end an argument in which two parties are unable to reach an agreement; we’re not going to get an agreement, but we’re not going to fall out about it

You can’t get any agreement with the other party, you have your view, they have their view. You give your reasons why you support a particular view or opinion. They give their views as to why they support their particular position or opinion. And at the end of the day, you know you’re not going to be able to persuade them, and they know they’re not going to be able to persuade you. You shake hands and say, 

Okay, let’s agree to disagree. 

We’re not going to continue this row, we’ll just agree to disagree, and we’ll move on. 

Sometimes when we have negotiating points in a contract, it may be difficult to get everything agreed upon; and then some points we have to agree to disagree on. 

to be a party to something

Meaning: you are part of a negotiation, you’re part of a contract and partly responsible for it

So if I’m signing a new lease for an apartment, then I’m a party to that contract. On the other side, will be the landlord. So he signs on behalf of the owner, he is the landlord. So we are both parties to that agreement, I sign, he signs. 

It’s important to understand the contract. Once you sign it, as a party to that agreement, you’re accepting that you understand what is written in the document. 

English idioms about negotiation

to come to terms with something

Meaning: to eventually accept something

For a period of time, you didn’t understand something, or you didn’t accept it. After some negotiation or some period of time, you eventually come to terms and accept what is in the agreement.

The company came to terms with the agreement to avoid an expensive and lengthy legal process.

The kids weren’t happy for a period of time, but eventually, they came to terms with the move. 

Eventually, she came to terms with the fact that her husband is no longer here. 

to mend fences

Meaning: to restore a broken relationship; to make peace and get on with life

A fence is something you have around your garden. It could be a wall. It could be a wooden fence. It could be a metal rail. When something happens to it, and there’s some damage, we have to fix it.

I’m sorry for what I said. I shouldn’t have said it. Let’s not fall out any further over it. Let’s mend fences. 

English idioms about negotiation

to give way to somebody or something

Meaning: to stop arguing and allow someone to win that particular issue

It appears that the government has given way to pressure from MPs, trade unions and the media.

When we’re negotiating, it’s always good to be able to find a situation where both parties are happy. When we do that, we often use the expression 

to meet somebody halfway

Meaning: to find a compromise, particularly in negotiation on price

Let’s meet each other halfway; I’ll come up to £95,000. If you come down to £95,000, I’ll meet you halfway. We shake hands, and the deal is done. 

We extend a little bit of friendship by paying a little bit more than we really want to, but the other party also extends the hand of friendship by telling you they want the deal done. So they’re prepared to accept a little bit less than they had originally intended. 

And finally, 

to sign on the dotted line

Meaning: to formally agree to something by signing a document

When all your negotiations are done. All the compromises have been reached. You’ve agreed to disagree on whatever points. You’ve bent over backwards. You’ve met them halfway in the price. Now it’s time for you to sign on the dotted line. 

We’ve finally signed on the dotted line! We’ve got the keys. Let’s celebrate with a bottle of champagne.

So here are English idioms about negotiation. Let me give them to you one more time:

  • to bend over backwards
  • to play somebody at their own game
  • to give ground
  • to drive/strike a bargain
  • to agree to disagree
  • to be a party to something
  • to come to terms with something or somebody
  • to mend fences
  • to give way to somebody
  • to meet somebody halfway
  • to sign on the dotted line

I hope you’ve enjoyed this podcast episode.

And as always, if you want to contact me whether you can do so on www.englishlessonviaskype.com,

Very happy to hear from you. Very happy to hear from any of your colleagues or friends that you refer to us. 

If you want to have online English lessons on a one-to-one basis, we will be happy to help you. 

As always, thanks for listening. Join me again soon.

More information

For more information on English grammar rules, English collocations and English idioms, check out the links below:

English idioms about FRUITS

Phrasal verbs with AWAY

You can always study English advanced level at Learning English with the BBC.

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