Expressions used in Everyday Spoken English in Social and Professional contexts

back to the drawing board

back to the drawing board
Meaning(s)
1) start planning something again
  • How to MemorizePopularity HighProfessional LowSocial
    • that plan didn't work so we need to go back to the drawing board
  • Analysis
    The literal use of a drawing board is to prepare a design, plan, or blueprint. Therefore, this expression refers to the need to revise or begin something again, typically as a result of a previous failure. Its use is very common in a professional context, where it is usually said after a setback. The need to go 'back to the drawing board' may arise as a result of a failure, but it often provides the opportunity to learn important lessons and then come back stronger, and more successful than before. For that reason, the term does not always mean a disaster or something entirely negative. A phrase with a similar meaning is 'back to square one.'
  • Professional Examples (Basic)
    1. Our marketing strategy was a total failure. We need to go back to the drawing board and think of something else.
    2. I was certain that I was going to get that job, but it wasn't to be. Oh well, back to the drawing board.
    3. We will be testing the new product tomorrow to see if we have resolved the issues with it. If not, it will be back to the drawing board.
  • Social Examples (Basic)
    1. Our plan to move out in September fell through so it's back to the drawing board.
    2. Toilet training our son with this method is not going well, we have to go back to the drawing board and try something else.
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