Phrasal verbs for business: N and O

to nag at

to repeatedly complain or criticise: The boss keeps nagging at me to find more clients, but I’ve already found more than anyone else.

to nail (something) down

to understand fully: I want to nail down exactly how this new legislation will affect us.

to achieve something: Well done everybody, I’m really glad we nailed that project down.

to narrow (something) down

to reduce the number of options: We’ve got over fifty potential sites for the new office premises, so let’s narrow down our options and produce a short list.

to nip out

to go somewhere for a short time: Sorry, Mr Matthews is not available right now. He’s just nipped out of the office for a moment. He should be back in 10 minutes.

to nose out

to discover (secret) information: I heard a rumour that the competition is planning to start operations here. John – see what you can nose out about it.

to note (something) down

to write brief information: What I’m going to say next is important, so please note it down.

to open up

to start talking freely about something: I didn’t think she would tell me anything about the merger plans, but after a couple of glasses of wine she really opened up.

to allow access to the market: Since the sanctions were lifted the country has opened up for foreign imports and investment.

to opt for

to choose: Fiona prefers the red one, but I would opt for the blue.

to opt in

to choose to join something: The country opted in to the free trade area in 1996.

to opt out

to choose not to join something: Britain chose to opt out of the Schengen zone.

The compound noun “opt-out” means an option not to take part in something.

to order (somebody) around

to tell somebody to do something in an unpleasant way: I hate the way the boss orders me around all the time.

to own up

to confess: You know who broke the coffee machine? It was Michael – he owned up yesterday. He put the beans into the wrong container and completely jammed it.


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