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to do something on a shoestring


Click below to listen to the phrase.

Choose the correct definition : a, b or c.

a) to do something with a very small amount of money

Well done ! That’s the right answer.

This expression ’on a shoestring’ is used to say that you do something with a very small or little amount of money.

French translation

faire quelque chose avec un budget très limité, avec des bouts de ficelles

How NOT to translate : *faire quelque chose avec un lacet de chaussure

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Examples in context

’How a local fitness gym opened on a shoestring in Maharashtra produced three of India’s Commonwealth medalists

The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow has given the people of Kolhapur, a city in southern Maharashtra known for its designer Kolhapuri chappals, a new enterprise to cheer about : weightlifting. Three out of the seven medals, which helped India bag the team championship in the sport, have come from its village, Kurundwad. There a nondescript private gym, named after the mythological Greek demi-god Hercules, has played a key role in the success of Chandrakant alias Mahesh Mali, Ganesh Mali and Omkar Otari - all of whom trained at the centre before making it big in Glasgow.’

The Daily Mail, 9th August 2014

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’How to start a business on a shoestring

Self-made millionaire entrepreneur Vince Stanzione proves you don’t need to spend a fortune to start a profitable business.

In a survey released this month by YouGov, two thirds of the 1,960 small business managers or owners quizzed cited debt and the state of the economy as the main reasons for not borrowing from banks. These figures are perhaps a sign of the times. However, the fact is that you don’t necessarily need to borrow money in order to set up a business. I’ve set up three multi-million dollar businesses on shoestring budgets. One of them, which I still own today, was set up with a small classified advert costing the equivalent of £70 and an answering machine in my spare room.’

The Guardian, 28th November 2013

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Everyday usage

The British-produced film was made on a shoestring.

The restaurant is run on a shoestring, so we can’t afford to take on any more staff.

b) to do something very quickly

Sorry, wrong answer. Please try again.

c) to do something with a large amount of money

Sorry, wrong answer. Please try again.


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