All Ears English Podcast - 1914: Make Business English Work Out with this Phrasal Verb

This is an All Ears English podcast, episode 1914.

Make business English work out with this phrasal verb.

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When your colleague has something going on at work that matters, you should ask them

about it.

Today, find out how to use the magical phrasal verb work out to check in with your colleague

and even transition the conversation into your social life.

Listen in today.

Hey there, Aubrey, how’s everything going today?

I’m great.

How are you, Lindsay?

I’m awesome.

I’m feeling great today.

And I am so excited about our new podcast, Business English podcast from All Ears English.

How’s it working out, by the way?

It’s working out great, Aubrey, because the point is, you know, we publish so much here

on All Ears English, which is fantastic.

But sometimes I know our listeners who are super focused on their careers, they want

to show just for Business English, and that’s what we’re giving them.

So guys, if you haven’t found our new Business English podcast from All Ears English, Aubrey,

how can they find it?

Yes, you need to search All Ears English in the search bar, wherever you listen to podcasts,

and all three of our podcasts will show up.

Look for Business English and make sure that you follow it, especially if you work in English,

or will it sometime in the future so that you have all those episodes in one place.

Yes, good stuff.

So today I’m excited because we are answering a student question.

I love it when we bring our student, our listener questions in on the episodes.


And you guys will notice that I asked Lindsay, how’s that working out?

Which is a very native, natural way to say, is it working?

Is it successful?

And that is the phrasal verb that we’re focusing on today.

So let’s read this question and dive in.

This is a really good one.

All right, here we go.

So our listener, what is this listener’s name?

Do we have their name?

No, unfortunately, it was a listener on WeChat in China.

And we get great comments and questions, but unfortunately, you guys don’t always leave

your name.

So shout out to this Chinese listener, we don’t have the name.

All right, good stuff.

So here she says, can you girls explain how to use the phrase workout?

I heard others say this phrase in different situations, and I was wondering how to use

this phrase correctly.

Thanks in advance, Chinese listener on WeChat.

All right.

Oh, guys, this is so fascinating.

Because as soon as I started, I know a lot of them, but I thought, oh, there are quite

a few.

And I did a bit of a deep dive.

There are so many phrasal verbs, just for workout, or there’s so many meanings for that

one phrasal verb, right?

Oh, we love this.

As native speakers, we love this phrasal verb.

There’s so much we can do with it.

We can be sarcastic, we can be straightforward, we can be professional, right, Aubrey?

So what are we focusing on today when it comes to this one?

Yes, we are going to focus in on the meaning that means be successful.

There are lots of meanings for this phrasal verb.

You’ve definitely heard it used to mean to exercise, to make calculations.

But today we’re talking about one meaning, which is to have success.


And I think that it really applies in the business world because we often want to check

in with our colleagues on how something is going, right?

Yes, exactly.

So you guys are, yeah.

If you know they’ve set a goal or they just did a presentation, this is such a great way

to connect to ask them how it worked out.

Yeah, I love it.

So let’s go into it, Aubrey.


So first we use this three different ways, this phrasal verb, the meaning of being successful.

And the first is to make predictions.

So for example, you might ask, Ooh, do you think it’ll work out?



Or how do you think that’s going to work out?



And then the answer might be, it’ll all work out or it’ll all work out.

That sounds really natural.

It’ll all work out.

It’ll all work out.


That’s quite a pronunciation wise.

That could be a little confusing for our listeners.


Really, it’s it will.

It will all work out.

But we always squish these together in that contraction.

It’ll all work out.


I love it.

What else, Aubrey?

And then you’ll definitely hear also that’ll instead of that will work out.


Do you think that’ll work out?

Oh, yeah.

That’ll work out.


I love it.

So good.

That’ll work out.

Or do you think it’s gonna work out?

I use gonna all the time and I actually type it in text messages too.

Sometimes I wonder, should I type this in a text message even to friends?

It seems kind of weird, right?

But I do.

And it’s just natural.

It’s what I want to say to sound friendly.


And I probably wouldn’t put it in a business email, especially if it’s not a coworker,

you know, very well, maybe a new client, but we say it all the time to a new client.

I would still be like, you know, are you going to come to happy hour?


And we get.



And maybe we should come back to another episode on that.

You know, going to when should you use gonna?

When should you not?

When should you write it?

When should you not?

But here’s the phrase with work out, guys.

I think it’s gonna work out or I don’t think it’s gonna work out.

Now, could this be to talk about relationships?

We use it a lot that way, right?

If someone is just starting a relationship, you might ask someone and you think it’s going

to work out and they say, I don’t think that’s going to work out or they say not a match,

not a match.

That’s the big phrase now.



So the second meaning is discussing results, right?

So this is where if someone has done a presentation, you might want to ask them how it went.

You’d say, how’d that work out or how did it work out?


How did it work out?

Or and I would respond by saying what?



Yeah, it worked out or it didn’t.


Oh, it didn’t really work out.

And I love how we as native speakers like to say really, right?

It didn’t really work out.

We add that really in all the time to feel natural.

I don’t know.

Just to add kind of a filler word, I guess.


And it sort of takes the sting out of something instead of saying it didn’t work out.

I’d be like, oh, it didn’t really work out.


I love it.

Yeah, it does.

It does.

For sure.

OK, so we’ve talked about discussing results, guys, making predictions, write those things


Now there’s a third bucket.

What is it, Aubrey?


It’s asking about goals or about something new, like maybe something a new purchase.

So first of all, you might say if it’s like a goal, you might say, how’s not eating sugar

working out or how’s reading every day working out right?

Someone has told you a goal they’ve made and you’re going to say, how’s blank working out

to ask them about that goal?


And then there’s kind of a more skeptical side of this, just as a bonus for our listeners.

The phrase, how’s that working out for you?


Very sarcastic.

What is that just as a little asterisk for our listeners?

What does that mean?

When I say that, how’s that working out for you?


What does that mean?

If I told you something that you know is either destined to fail or I’m doing something you

don’t agree with, right?

And you’re going to be like, yeah, how’s that working out for you?

I know it’s not going well, but let’s be real here.


So that’s a little different from what we’re sharing now.

It’s in the same kind of meaning, but it’s putting a layer of skepticism on it, which

is again, supernatural.

You’ll hear it, but it does mean something different than someone earnestly checking


How’s that going?


How’s that working out?

I can think of a good example.

I’m getting up at 4 a.m. to work because I’m awake anyway, so I’m like, I may as well use

this time.

I’ll wake up at four and can’t fall back to sleep.

But I feel like a friend said this to me recently.

I was telling her that and she was like, how’s that working out for you?

Because then she was like, are you going to sleep at 7 or 8 p.m. because there’s no way

you can stay up late if you’re getting up at four.

Or maybe she thinks ultimately it’ll catch up with you in a couple of weeks, you’ll crash

and it just won’t be sustainable.

So there is a layer that is a way to express skepticism.

But let’s get back to the more earnest ways of expressing this.

Yes, for sure.

So this also works with new things that you maybe have purchased, like, you know, how’s

that new car working out?

Or how’s your new boyfriend working out, right?

There’s all kinds.

You can add anything here and then someone would be like, oh, it’s not really working


Or yeah, it’s working out great.


Is there anything we need to know, Aubrey, grammatically speaking, in terms of our grammar

when we answer this?



And I think it’s really important here that in order to sound more natural and native,

if someone says to you, like, how’s not eating sugar working out?

It is very unnatural to answer eating sugar is not working out, right?

You always want to replace the noun or the gerund or the noun phrase with a demonstrative


So either this or that, right?

You’d always say, oh, that’s not working out.

To repeat that noun feels repetitive and very unnatural.

Yeah, and I mean, I think that’s generally true across so much of the English language,


We don’t, it’s too repetitive.

If we’re repeating the same thing the other person just asked us, we’re wasting their



And if you’re studying for the IELTS exam, the examiner is listening for this specifically.

If you’re repeating vocabulary instead of using a pronoun, that would be much more native

and natural.

That’s a skill that you are specifically being tested on.

Oh, that’s a good point.

Guys, check out our third podcast.

We now have three podcasts at All ears English.


IELTS energy podcast with Jessica and Aubrey two days a week.

Good stuff.

All right.

Anything else about let’s give a two more sample sentences for our listeners in this

in this way.



So I might say like, how’s drinking more water working out again?

Like I know someone set the goal of drinking more water.

I recently set this goal.

So I would like for a friend to kind of give me that.

What’s that word when you you want to be accountable to someone like an accountability, accountability,



Like, you know, how’s not drinking water working out?

Are you able to do it?

How’s drinking more water working out?


Yeah, for sure.

No, I love that.


You have to bring a big jug up to your office and have it sit there all day is is the way

that’s right.

It has to be very handy.



And it has to work really well.


Easy to pour.

Easy to do.

Here’s another example.

How’s that new car working out?


So this is, you know, these are standard everyday ways of saying this.


But in just a minute, we’re going to talk a little bit about business English and how

this might fit into our work worlds.



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OK, Aubrey.

So in the business world, which I know a lot of our listeners are there, what do we need

to know?

Yeah, this is so perfect for talking about anything that can be successful.

So we use this a lot in business English.

It’s such a great way to build relationships.

If you know someone has a pretty high stakes interview meeting presentation to ask them

ahead of time that prediction, you know, how do you think it’s going to work out?

Are you ready for afterward to ask them how it worked out?


You know, there’s something about on this show, whether it’s in the business world or

our daily lives, it’s connection connection.

And when your colleague knows that you remember that you had a proposal today or you had that

presentation, even if they weren’t there and were involved, that’s super valuable, right?

That you can go to them and check in.

When someone remembers something that was important to you, it really feels like the

relationship is deeper, is more meaningful if they care to remember and are willing to

take the time to ask you about it.

You got it.

So as you said, Aubrey, anything like proposals, plans, goals, presentations, you might have


Maybe you are doing a salary negotiation and you shared that with a colleague, right?

Maybe that or an interview.

You’re interviewing at another company.

All sorts of things.



I would definitely hope that a close colleague or friend would ask me how it went if I had

a meeting about something important like that.

I love it.

So good.

So guys check in with people using this.

We have a role play, Aubrey.

Should we do it?

This is going to be good.

So Lindsay and I are coworkers.

We’re just leaving a meeting that I led.

I’ll start us out.

I wasn’t sure how that’d go, but I think it worked out.


You did a great job.

Thank you.

I’m a little worried about meeting the annual goals.

I hear you.

I think it’s going to work out though.

Speaking of goals, how’s your goal of running every day working out?


It’s not really working out.


If I set that goal, it definitely wouldn’t work out.

I kind of love this, how as coworkers, we pivot from talking about how the meeting went,

how my presentation went, and then say, speaking of goals, how’s your goal of running every

day working out?

This is so native.

I do this all the time.

Oh my gosh.

It’s so normal for native speakers of English to move in and out of topics and they might

come back to the work thing, right?

They come and often they don’t even do that transition.

Speaking of, sometimes they just go break straight to the other topic, which is I know

what we want to help you guys with, right?

To hang in there, to get to the moment of connection.

So let’s review what we did here, Aubrey.


So first I say, I wasn’t sure how it’d go, but I think it worked out.

This is very native to say about something you did.

It would be, you don’t want to brag.

You don’t want to sound like you’re not humble.

There are a lot of things you can’t really say comfortably.

Like I did really well.

I think I did a great job.

What you can say is, I think it worked out.


Because there’s something about that that’s taking the emphasis off of you and more onto

the whole endeavor, I guess, or the presentation itself.

If you’re not braggy, you’re not bragging about yourself.

You’re just saying, yeah, I think it worked out.

I think it went well.

So I think it’s a nice way to be assertive, but also humble in a way.

You know?




So let’s see.

What else did we say here?

And then you said, because I said, I’m worried about the annual goals.

And you said, I think it’s going to work out though.

And we definitely could say, I think it’ll work out.




I think it’ll work out.

I think it’s going to work out.

And then we did the flip to the personal life.


Speaking of goals, how’s your goal of running every day working out?


I mean, it’s not really working out, meaning I’m not really doing it.

I’m struggling.



It’s not happening.


And there’s something convenient.

That’s why I love this episode.

And I love this phrasal verb, because there’s something more comfortable and less vulnerable

about not about not saying I’m not doing it.



We don’t need to beat ourselves up and say, no, it’s not really working out.

It’s like, I’m not going to the gym, everyone.

I’m just not doing it.


It’s not working out.

And it could be a little more vague to like other things could be going on, right?

Maybe the family is getting in the way.



And this is a real skill to not have TMI.


You don’t need to share that the families you don’t need to share why you’re not doing



You can just be like, it’s not working out.


And then you said, yeah, if I set that goal, it definitely wouldn’t work out.

So you’re empathizing with me trying to mirror my difficulties and making which I think is

also a real skill to show empathy this way.

If someone has set a goal and they let you know it’s not working out, especially if it

is true for you to say, oh, same.

If I set that goal, it probably wouldn’t work out.


I love it.

I love it.

So what’s the takeaway?

What is the key way we want our listeners to remember today for working out?



This is such a great way to make connections with coworkers, especially at work, but also

friends, everyone in your life to use the phrasal verb workout to discuss success.

Ask about results of goals.

Ask about new purchases.


These are all such fun things to talk about and are great ways to build those deeper connections.

Yeah, guys, keep in mind, you know what your colleagues are doing, what’s going on in their

work day.

Maybe they’re on another floor, but you meet them for lunch a couple of times a week, right?

Make sure they know that you know what’s happening in their work lives, and then you could transition

into their personal lives right there in that conversation.

And this phrasal verb works for it all.

It’s actually kind of amazing.

It’s sort of an amazing word.

It is.


And don’t stress out about phrasal verbs.

There are, I think there are like 21 phrasal verbs for the verb work, and there are like

six meanings for work out.

So the listener on WeChat that posted this, you’ve probably seen it used all these different


This is really helpful to focus on one way, perfect how you can use the one meaning, then

move on to the next one.

Don’t let yourself get confused.


Don’t get overwhelmed, guys.

Good stuff.

Super inspiring, Aubrey.

Thanks for hanging out today to show us, you know, how this phrasal verb works.

Yes, of course.

I think it worked out.

It did work out.

I think that worked out great.

All right.

I’ll talk to you very soon.

Have a good one.

You too.



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