Expressions used in Everyday Spoken English in Social and Professional contexts

(take/pick) up the slack

take up the slackpick up the slack
1) do the thing(s) that someone else is unwilling or unable to do, gather up or work on whatever is left undone or unused
  • How to MemorizePopularity HighProfessional LowSocial
    • I need you to pick up the slack
  • Analysis

    You might hear someone talking about taking up the slack at the end of a rope or line, but this is in terms of gathering what is left unused. If you pick up the slack from someone's work, it means that you are doing the things they were unable to do, either due to their lack of abilities or their time constraints. This expression is mainly about tasks, so in this context, it is less likely to be used in social situations (unless you're talking about tasks or complaining about work!).

  • Professional Examples (Basic)
    1. The work just wasn't being done to a sufficient standard, so the manager stepped in and took up the slack.
    2. We're short-staffed tonight, so I'm going to need you to pick up the slack.
    3. Emily is an incompetent and unreliable member of the team, which means the rest of us are always taking up the slack.
  • Social Examples (Basic)
    1. Whenever I'm feeling ill my family are fantastic at taking up the slack and looking after me and my children.
    2. I am tired of being expected to take up all the slack with housework and jobs in the house.
  • Further Suggestions
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