Business English

Share:Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

English Language in the Work Place

The language used in business and professional contexts is very different from the language used in social situations.

Business English has its own vocabulary and expressions that you will need to use and recognise in order to communicate successfully with your work colleagues, give instructions and understand your boss!

 

An office job will demand knowledge of the English words for certain office equipment, such as photocopiers, computers, fax machines, printers and items of stationery.

Business meetings will contain formal language. In work situations, it is important to be aware of polite ways in which to greet and leave someone.

It is also important to learn how to make appropriate comments to precede interruptions and to communicate agreements, disagreements and negotiations.

 

Office vocabulary:

  • Computer; computer screen
  • Monitor; mouse; keyboard; space bar; return key
  • Photocopier; fax machine; printer, telephone
  • Pen, pencil, eraser (or ‘rubber’ in British English), desk, table, chair
  • Filing cabinet
  • Library; journal; periodical; instructions
  • Paper clip; stapler; hole punch; drawing pin (or ‘thumb tack’ in US English);
  • Notice board; rota; shifts
  • Water fountain; coffee machine; lunch break
  • Suit; tie; uniform

office stationery

Computer-related vocabulary:

Internet, PC, e-mail, monitor; mouse; keyboard; computer program; database; spreadsheet; word processor; software; hardware; content management system (CMS)

Business vocabulary:

  • Dispatch; goods; services
  • Redundant; pay cut; disciplinary
  • Salary; wages,
  • Pension, redundancy payout, retirement
  • Debt; profit; turnover; loan
  • Curriculum vitae (CV); resume
  • Appraisal; review; pay rise; promotion
  • Meeting; conference; agenda; minutes
  • Memorandum (memo); contract;
  • Manager; supervisor; workers
  • Health and Safety
  • PA (personal assistant)
  • PR (public relations)
  • RRP (recommended retail price)
  • to delegate
  • to manage
  • to supervise
  • to oversee

Useful everyday English phrases for work

Business English also extends to the kind of language you use in the office to talk to colleagues. At work, we often use more formal English than at home. Here are some examples of phrases to use in formal situations at work:

Greeting in person:

Hello, nice to met you

Good morning, how are you?

Saying goodbye in person

Goodbye, it’s been nice meeting you

Goodbye, I hope to see you again soon

business English greetings

Greeting on the telephone

Hello, (insert your name) speaking. (e.g. ‘Hello, John Smith speaking’.)

Hello Mr X, it’s good to hear from you again. (In reply to their greeting)

Finishing a conversation on the telephone:

I look forward to speaking with you again soon

It’s been nice talking to you

 

Cutting a conversation short

I’m sorry, but I need to go (to a meeting) now. Would it be possible to finish our conversation later?

Business Meetings

The language, phrases and vocabulary used in business meetings can seem very different from language in other contexts.

Politeness

At work, politeness is especially important in our dealings with colleagues. Speakers of English as a foreign language may find it difficult to know how to politely refuse an invitation in English. Useful phrases for dealing with business situations in a polite way.

Business English

Using Tenses in Business English

It can be useful to use different tenses to talk about yourself in the past, present and future in a business or work context. For example, you may want to tell someone about your past achievements, current plans or hopes for the future. Example sentences using different tenses.

Useful English word partnerships/collocations:

  • to hold a meeting
  • to chair a meeting (to take charge of a meeting)
  • to turn a corner (head in a new, more positive direction)
  • to form a partnership
  • to give a speech
  • to take a pay cut
  • to make / be made redundant
  • to make/strike a deal
  • to make a promise
  • to issue/give a warning
  • to fill out a form
  • to attend a meeting
  • to make a profit
  • to be in debt / to get into debt
  • to take out a loan
  • to cash a cheque
  • to bank some money
  • to place an order
  • to take an order
 

Confusing words in Business English

Some words in English have more than one meaning. Here are some examples of words related to business that have multiple meanings:

  • Form

– to form something (our of something else)
– an official question sheet you fill out)

  • Inflation

– when something is blown up with air
– the rise in the cost of living/goods per year

  • Uniform

– Regular, all looking the same
– Special clothing worn at work

work uniform

  • Turnover

– to turn over (verb): e.g. to read the next side of a page of a book or document.
– money, the amount of sales a business has made, usually measured annually.
the number of staff leaving and being replaced.
– a kind of pastry/cake, e.g. an apple turnover.

  • Liquid

– a free-flowing non-solid material such as water
– financial assets which are available cash and not tied up in
property or business

  • Minutes

– a measurement of time, there are 60 minutes in an hour
– the written notes taken in a meeting to record what happens

Read more about business English.

 

Related Articles

Share:Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *