carrot and stick

carrot and stick


  • mixture of rewards and punishments
  • to use a reward to appreciate someone’s work and punishment to demotivate certain behaviours
  • to reward someone if they do thing you want and punish them if they don’t
  • a tactic to convince people using pleasure and fear

Example Sentences

  1. He said the carrot and stick approach is in effective when it comes to management.
  2. Some schools prefer the carrot and stick method when it comes to education.
  3. The government wanted to introduce a carrot and stick method to reduce crime.
  4. She used the carrot and stick method to win the support of people.
  5. When Dealing with Afghanistan, US agreed on implementing a carrot and stick policy.
  6. Being a Boss she need to apply the carrot and stick approach effectively to discipline her junior team members.


There is no record of this idiom found in the Aesop’s fables or the uncle Remus folk tales, the origin is a bit of a mystery to us. A possible scenario that is linked with the idiom is that such an expression may have become common use amongst donkey cart drivers. They used carrots as a source of motivation for the donkey to move and the stick to enforce it if the donkey didn’t comply with their demands. Hence, it is currently used in the same manner as well.

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Idiom of the Day

put your foot in it

Meaning: say something (by mistake) that upsets, humiliates, or embarrasses someone

Example: Carla put her foot right in it when she congratulated her neighbour on being pregnant. It turns out she's not expecting but had just put on weight. Read on


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