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Thursday, November 14, 2013

To Sweeten the Pot

Idiom: to sweeten the pot; used as a verb

First Example:
Joseph: Jamal turned down the job offer. 
Olivia: What?! I thought he wanted that position.
Joseph: He does, but he said it's not worth it.  He said it's too much work for not enough money.  But the CEO won't let me increase the salary any more.
Olivia: Is there any other way you can sweeten the pot?
Joseph: What do you mean?
Olivia: Well, you can't give him more money, but maybe you can offer a few more vacation days, or maybe offer him Mark's office since he's leaving.  
Joseph: That's a pretty good idea.  I'm gonna go see what I can come up with.

Meaning: The expression "sweeten the pot" means to make something more desirable.  The expression originally comes from gambling; when players make new bets, they will sometimes say they are "sweetening the pot" as they throw chips in.  This means the pot (i.e. the money that will be won by the person with the best hand) is larger and therefore more desirable to all players.  But while the expression is still used in gambling, the expression is now used in everyday conversation, as seen above. In this example, Joseph offered Jamal a new position, but Jamal turned it down because he didn't think it was worth it. Olivia suggests that Joseph "sweeten the pot" by adding additional incentives like vacation days and a new office to the offer that Jamal might want but that won't cost as much as a salary increase.  

Here's another example:
Natalia: Could you help me move this weekend?  I'll buy you pizza.
Cole: I don't know; you have a lot of stuff.  Isn't there any way you can sweeten the pot a bit more?
Natalia: Ok, then I'll take you to that new seafood restaurant you've been wanting to try.  The meal and drinks will be on me.
Cole: Deal!  What time are we packing the truck?

In this case, Natalia offered to buy Cole pizza if he helped her move, but Cole asked her to "sweeten the pot," meaning he wanted more for his help.  She then offered to take him to a more expensive dinner, which he accepted.


Note: this idiom is related to LSI's upcoming Las Vegas trip over Thanksgiving weekend.  For more information, contact the Marketing Department or ask the front desk at your school.

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