Expressions and Idioms: To Be In The Black/Red/Broke

November 8, 2017 - Priscila Pereira

1 Comment

Hey, friends!

It is a new day! I want to share three very nice expressions with you today.  Learning expressions is always fun. Native speakers use expressions and idioms all the time. That’s why you need to dedicate some time to learning new expressions. 

By using expressions when you are having conversations, you will sound more like a native speaker, because they use these expressions all the time. Therefore, make sure to read all this post and learn some cool expressions about money.

In this post, I am going to show you 3 very simple expressions related to money. Well, related to “NOT” having money.


How about the room, any chance? Please
Pretty please.
Oh, well, since you said "pretty please," I'll see what I can do.
We should be clear.
We can't pay.
We're broke both of us.
But I'm sure you heard that somewhere.

By watching this short scene from 2 broke girls you can have an idea of what "to be broke" means.  You can use this expression
to say you don't have any money. You have NO money. In the scene, Carol says:
We canNOT pay or we are broke (we don't have money to pay....)

Let's see more examples:
Susie: Hey Jack, are you going to the pub with us tonight?
Jack: Oh, not really! I'm kinda broke, so I will pass.

In this exmple, Jack says he is “kinda broke” which means he is “broke”, he has no money to go to the pub. So he will
“pass” (which means, he will not go)

Another example:
I can’t use my credit card this month. I am really broke!
In this example, I say that I can NOT use my credit card, because I have no money.



If you are in the red, you are broke! Haha! ok, did it sound confusing? I know. Let me explain. If you say you are “in the red” it means you don’t have money. It is a different way to say you are broke. Additionally,  you can  use this expression to describe your “bank account”. If your bank account is “negative”, that is to say, you owe money to the bank (you have to pay the bank), you can say you are in the red.

Look at some examples:

I can’t believe I am in the red again. The bank will charge me so many fees because of that.

In this example, I say that my bank account is “negative” again ( a more technical term would “overdrawn” which means to take more than you have in your account),consequently, I will have to pay “fees” to the bank. I am in the red, I have no money or I am in debt.


Jame is always in the red. He doesn’t know how to manage his money.

Do you have a friend like that? In this example, I am talking about Jamie who has “money problems”. He doesn’t have money, or he is in debt because he doesn’t know how to take care of his money, how to manage/handle his money.

Our company is still in the red. If we end another quarter in the red, we  will be in serious trouble.

In this example, I am talking about a company that is in the red and how this will be a big problem if it keeps on happening. You can use “be in the red” to describe the financial situation of a company too.


Do you have any idea of what this expression means? I love expressions with colors. Well, in the previous expressions I showed how to say you have NO money. How about we end this post with a “positive” expression?

To be in the black means that your bank account has money! Yay!! or it can also mean you  have some money, that you are NOT in debt! It can also mean a business  is NOT in debt.  So if a company is in the black, it is good! It means the company has no debt. If you are in the black, it is good too! It means you are NOT in debt!

Let’s see some examples!

I am finally in the black! It took me 1 year, but I finally paid all my loan! I am free!

In this example, I am saying that I finally have NO debt because I finished paying for my loan (loan is money you borrow/take from the bank)

After 2 very difficult years our company has finally made significant profits! We are in the black again!

In this example, I say that the company is in the black again (the company has money again or is debt free) after 2 long years!

How about you? Are you broke? In the red? In the black?

Let me know in the comments!

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Thanks, friends!

Teacher Prix

Priscila Pereira

Starbucks and TV Series lover: juggling with teaching, blogging, and a YouTube life! I’m teacher Prix and I want to help you talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime in English! This blog is for English speakers who are looking for an effective blog. Get inspired by hundreds of different posts for all English levels, so that you can finally learn English easily and effectively on the internet.

One thought on “Expressions and Idioms: To Be In The Black/Red/Broke

  • Priscila Pereira

    April 30, 2018 at 14:07

    Hey, Alejandra! How are you? I’m so happy to read your comment! Keep dedicating yourself and pretty soon you will be an awesome English speaker! Thank you so much for your feedback 🙂


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