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corner the market: meaning and explanation

The original meaning of this idiom was related to controlling the price of a particular commodity by buying most or all of the supply.

Nowadays, the idiom is used more generally. If a company corners the market, then they are much more successful than all of their competitors at selling a specific product or in a specific market. e.g. It only took the company a few years to corner the market in ethical smartphones.

Have a go at these micro-dictation exercises to hear this expression being used in context – how much can you understand?

Listening exercises

Dictation #1

Accent: Scotland

Our has to in cloud .
Our highly pricing has allowed to corner the in cloud based .

About the sentence

…our highly competitive pricing

Highly competitive is a useful collocation to use when you want to describe a low or cheap price in a positive way. e.g. We pride ourselves on the fact that our prices are highly competitive.

Dictation #2

Accent: North America

Dictation #3

Accent: England (RP)


Extra practice

Here are some questions/links to help you learn the new vocabulary:

  • Can you give an example of a company cornering the market? Or an example of a company attempting to do so, but failing?
  • What strategies can a businesses use to attempt to “corner the market.” How can a company gain a dominant position in a particular industry or niche?
  • What are the downsides to one company cornering the market?

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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