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to think outside the box


Click below to listen to the phrase.

Choose the correct definition a, b or c.

a) to be very shy

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b) to speak very openly

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c) to develop imaginatively

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If someone thinks outside the box it means they think beyond their limits and are often creative in developing ideas and thinking freely.

French translation

penser en dehors des cadres, sortir des sentiers battus, faire preuve de créativité, se servir de son imagination

How NOT to translate : *penser en dehors de la boîte

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Examples in context

‘Happy New Year’

‘But there are not many other obvious contenders, although if Mr Miliband wanted to think outside the box, the Public Accounts Committee Chair, Margaret Hodge has proved herself a formidable operator, and she would bring a campaigning record on tax avoidance and a deep knowledge of where government wastes money to the job.’

BBC News, 31st Dec. 2013

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‘Shopping collection at six London Underground stations’

’Transport for London (TfL) is working with the supermarket chain Asda to provide a collection service at six London Underground station car parks. TfL said the supermarket chain would park its vehicles in the car parks in order to provide the service to commuters. Graeme Craig, director of commercial development at TfL, said : "We have been working to improve the services on offer for our customers. It will give them a presence in smaller suburban locations. They had to think outside the box and look at third party access to reach areas". ’

BBC News, 30 Nov. 2013

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Everyday usage

We are not advancing, it is time to think outside the box.

You are really thinking outside the box. These are some really good ideas, I am very impressed.


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