Cut Corners

Most Important Level 2

"to cut corners" / "cutting corners"

Meaning: to do something in the easiest or cheapest way by not doing something important and usually produces a negative result

Why does it mean that?

This idiom means that we are not doing something the proper way. We are taking a shortcut or leaving out an important step in order to make it easier or to save money.

Imagine that we are on a sports team, and our coach tells us to run around a soccer field. If we do not completely run around this area then we are "cutting corners". We are not doing the task in the proper way. We are literally cutting the corners.

When do we use it?

This is a negative expression. It means that a shortcut is being taken in order to save time, money, or energy. However, this short cut will hurt the final result. So, we usually this expression to complain about how something is being done or to explain why the results were not good.

This is most commonly used in business or office situations. However, it would be appropriate to use this anytime we are working on a project or in a group.

How do we use it?

We use this expression in many different kinds of sentences.
  • Our boss is cutting corners by ordering cheap material.
  • Our company always cuts corners. That is why our products are not good.
  • If we want to create a great product, then we cannot cut corners.
  • Don't cut corners if you want to be successful.
  • His work is never good because he always cuts corners.
  • Stop cutting corners.
  • The project failed because we cut too many corners.
  • Lazy people cut corners.
  • She doesn't cut corners to save money. She cuts corners because she is lazy.
The more English idioms and expressions that you know, the easier it will be for you to have conversation in English. If you study these free English lessons about commonly used English expressions and idioms consistently, then over time you will build a solid English vocabulary that will help you speak English fluently.