work etiquette concept - rules and code of conduct and the word "idioms"

Idioms: Workplace ethics

Worksheet overview

This Business ESL worksheet is dedicated to 12 idioms used when discussing workplace ethics and different ethical and unethical behaviour at work. Students will practise them using conversation questions, a survey, and debates. You can combine it with other business worksheets such as “Idioms: ambition” and “Idioms: goals”.

The first 4 idioms (work one’s fingers to the bone, go the extra mile, lead by example, pull one’s weight) are introduced through a short text about strong business ethics. To practise them, students complete 5 sentences with the correct idiom and then discuss the sentences in pairs or small groups.

Next, a text about unethical behaviour at work introduces 4 more idioms (throw someone under the bus, pass the buck, sweep under the rug, cut corners). To practise, students take a look at 4 situations and decide which idiom can be used to describe each one.

The rest of the idioms are introduced through a short dialogue (stab someone in the back, go above and beyond, keep your nose clean, play by the book).

After that students complete a survey about their experiences, and share their ideas and examples with the rest of the class or a partner.

Finally, students take a look at 4 scenarios and engage in a debate according to the situation described.

You can use the conversation cards to review and practise these idioms.


Teacher’s lesson plan
Student’s worksheet

Student’s interactive PDF

This worksheet works well in combination with the following lesson plans

Show more
0 0 votes
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments