Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Are you competitive at work?

In today’s episode, learn how to share your thoughts on competitiveness.

You will then be able to bring it up in a conversation in English.

This is a great way to connect!

Are you competitive?

Michelle asks Lindsay if she is a competitive person.

Lindsay answers that she’s not a very competitive person, especially with sports.

She plays tennis but prefers to do it more for fun rather than to compete.

Michelle is similar.

She enjoys just finding the fun in things.

She gave bowling as an example.

Though she is a terrible bowler, she still goes to play with her friends.

It’s the fun that makes her keep coming back.

Discussing competition

In today’s episode, you are going to learn how to talk about being competitive.

Lindsay and Michelle will teach words and expressions for expressing yourself in a competitive atmosphere.

This is important, especially in the business world.

You may need to describe your environment or prepare someone for a competitive situation.

This topic is also a very good way to connect with someone.

Today we’ll share vocabulary you need for this conversation.

You can check out episode BE 237: Is it More Important to Lead or Follow? for more vocabulary related to today’s topic.

#1: Cutthroat

This is an adjective that describes something or someone as very competitive.

The literal meaning of this word can be daunting but it’s just imagery to show how difficult a cutthroat situation can be.


  • Things may seem calm around here, but it’s actually a pretty cutthroat environment. Everyone wants to be the best.

#2: Dog-eat-dog

This means the environment is very competitive.

If you’re in a dog-eat-dog office culture, it means the people will do what it takes to win.

Natives often mishear this idiom and say or write “doggy dog.”


  • Be careful around here. It’s really a dog-eat-dog industry, so be careful who you trust.

#3: Fiercely competitive

This can be used to describe a person, a company or an environment that is highly competitive.


  • I’m fiercely competitive, so it’s a good thing you are on my team!

#4: Fighter

This refers to a person who is competitive and also very strong and resilient.

It can also be used when someone is going through a tough time or an illness.


  • She’s a fighter. She will get through this and find a new job.


This vocabulary is great for talking about competitive atmospheres or people.

Lindsay and Michelle share a roleplay to show you how these phrases can be used in a conversation.

In this scenario, Michelle is joining Lindsay’s team at work.

Michelle: So excited to join you on your team!
Lindsay: Thanks!
Michelle: Anything I should know?
Lindsay: Well… to be honest, it’s really cutthroat around here. I, myself, am fiercely competitive, so the environment can get pretty intense- but in a good way. I think you’ll fit right in.
Michelle: You know I’m a fighter when it comes to work!
Lindsay: Definitely- that’s why you were chosen for this team. Trust me- it’s pretty dog-eat-dog here, but you can handle it!
Michelle: Thanks!


Competition can be tricky, especially with work relationships.

Now you know how to talk about it!

Take note of the vocabulary in today’s episode and choose a few phrases to try out when the opportunity comes to talk about competition.

Never miss a chance to share your insights!

Don’t let a lack of vocabulary be a hindrance for you to build connections in your workplace.

What other vocabulary do you want to learn that will help you express yourself in the business world?

Share it in the comments below.

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