How to use the word “account” (part 2)

Meanings of “account”

As I said in the previous post, the word “account” can mean a variety of things. Below is a list of common meanings and uses of the word.

As a noun

a bank account

a record of financial transactions

a client, e.g. The firm advises key account BP on North Sea assets exchange. (In this sense “account” can also act like an adjective, e.g. an account manager.)

a course of business dealings / a business relationship, e.g. Who’s in charge of the BP account?

a description / narrative, e.g. He gave us a fascinating account of his boat trip up the Zambezi.

an estimation / judgement, e.g. He gave a good account of himself = he was impressive, e.g. in a job interview

a restaurant / hotel bill, e.g. Put it on my account = charge it to my bill

As a phrasal verb

account for
1. give an explanation of / answer for, e.g. IT are unable to account for the missing computers.
2. explain / cause, e.g. The failure of the car’s brakes accounts for the accident.
3. consist of a specified amount of, e.g. Rent accounts for 30% of monthly expenditure.

Idiomatic uses

on account of – by reason of / because of / due to

on this account – for this reason

on someone’s account – on someone’s behalf

take account of something / take something into account – consider / make an allowance for

keep account of – keep a record of / follow closely

hold someone to account – hold someone responsible

call someone to account – ask someone for an explanation

be accountable for – be responsible for

of / having no account – of / having no importance (of some account – important)

by all accounts – in everyone’s opinion

on all accounts – in any case / under any circumstances (on no account – under no circumstances)

on account – to pay “on account” means to make a partial payment of an undefined sum. The rest of the sum will be paid later, or an amount will be refunded if an overpayment was made. E.g. The company has already paid the bulk of this year’s tax on account.

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