Business English is a very important part of the English language that is not usually taught in the academic environment. So if you want to learn business English you might have to take a special course for it. It will help you speak better in more formal places like the office, and acquire specific vocabulary and phrases used in a business environment.
But apart from classes, you can also learn business English more quickly by watching Netflix! You just have to choose one show that has something to do with business. One of the best series that will help you achieve this goal is House of Cards – a very popular show that will keep you on the edge of your seat while improving your English skills.
How to Learn English with House of Cards
Here are some tips on getting the most out of watching House of Cards on Netflix.
Use the Subtitles
Since this is a show about politics, there might be some unknown words for you. So even if you already know English, it would be good to turn on the subtitles to learn those new words. Once you are more into the story, and already know the characters and some important business and political words, you can stop using subtitles.
When this happens, your listening skills will improve even more. Remember that subtitles are best for beginners. As you advance in your language journey, you shouldn’t be afraid to watch TV without them.
Learn Vocabulary through Context
When you don’t know a word, you look it up in a dictionary. That’s not bad!
But when watching TV, the fewer words we look up, the better. Learning through watching a television series is context-based learning. That means that you’ll probably understand the meaning of the words by paying attention to the show. Even if you don’t get something, it’s okay, keep watching; one word won’t make you lose the thread of the story.
Repetition Helps you Learn
After finishing the series, watch it again! Or at least your favorite chapters. Repetition will help you secure what you learned: pronunciation, accent, and vocabulary.
The Benefits of Learning English with House of Cards
We know that learning by watching House of Cards will be entertaining because you’ll be watching an interesting show. But beyond the fun factor, there are other language-learning benefits that come with watching this series.
The most obvious benefit is that you’ll gain vocabulary. Though the main goal is to learn English business vocabulary, you will also learn everyday words and tons of American English expressions.
If you’re from another country, you’ll understand more about all the U.S. government positions and how they work.
You’ll improve your listening skills. You’ll hear many different characters speak, and that will get your ears used to the sound of English. It’ll prepare you for a real-life conversation in English; you’ll be able to understand what native English speakers say.
Your pronunciation will absolutely improve. If you only read the words, you will not know how to pronounce them. You can look up phonetics on the internet, of course. But if you watch the show, you’ll learn pronunciation in a fun way.
Gradually, you’ll start picking up the word sounds. Plus, you’ll also hear and improve your accent. English connects a lot of words in a row, so it’s best to listen to the real dialogues, rather than learn how to pronounce words on their own.
Immersed in a Good Story
You’ll be immersed in a story full of secrets and betrayals while learning new and sometimes difficult English words and expressions. But don’t worry about the difficulty. The good news is that you’ll be learning through context because you’ll see how and in which situations the characters use the words. So you’ll truly understand the meaning of your newly acquired vocabulary.
25 English Business Words from House of Cards
Here are some important business English words you will hear when watching House of Cards.
- Fine print
- Selling price
- Make it work
- Currency manipulation
English Business Phrases Used in House of Cards
Here are some business phrases that you’ll hear on House of Cards and that you could also hear in your workplace. If you know what they mean, you’ll understand when your boss, colleague, or business associate uses them. And you might even use one of these expressions yourself.
Beyond our means.
This is perfect to say that something is too expensive for you. For example, in business, an investor may say that he/she can’t fund a project because the money that the CEO asks for is beyond their means.
A drop in the bucket.
This expression means a very small amount. So, you can use it in any finance or economy business project.
Make an offer.
This is used to propose something, especially to offer a certain amount of money. It can be used a lot in business commerce. For example: in a scene in House of Cards they say, “I never make an offer more than twice.”
I’ll call you back.
We’ve all used this phrase when talking on the phone with someone. It is also very useful when talking to a business partner, and suddenly a problem that needs an immediate solution arises. With it you’re telling the other person that you care about your conversation and, therefore, you’ll call back.
If you know the person you’re talking to very well, you can just say the phrase; it’ll sound informal but kind. But if you don’t know the person very well, then you can add his/her last name at the end, and maybe avoid the contraction. It’ll be more formal. For example, “I will call you back, Mr. Park.”
In exchange for…
This is a good phrase for negotiations. In a meeting, you might have to make deals with different people. The counterpart might ask for something. But for both parties to get what they want, you can ask for something too by saying this phrase. Or you can simply use the phrase to make an offer and demand from the beginning of the meeting. For example, “We’ll give you 50% of our profits in exchange for three-quarters of the company.”
How exactly may I help you?
This might sound a little rude, especially if you read it with the House of Cards main character’s voice (Frank Underwood) in your mind. But you can get rid of the “exactly”, and it’ll sound nicer. It’s a good question to ask when someone in the office or a on business call needs something from you.
Let me make you a proposal.
This is perfect for a counteroffer. When negotiating, you might get some offers that are not very beneficial to you. Use this phrase to make a kind transition into the presentation of your proposition.
I’d have to run the numbers.
To run the numbers means to calculate the finances, to see how much money you have or will need to do something. It’s a classic phrase used for business, especially in the area of economics since all kinds of projects need money.
What is the order of business?
Order of business is an expression used to refer to the things that you need to discuss in the meeting. You usually start talking about the most important topic.
So, if you’re the boss, you start by greeting everyone in the assembly and then present the order of business. If you’re the right hand or the assistant of the boss, you might be asked by him/her what the order of business is.
Learn Business English Vocabulary More Quickly with TruFluency’s Customized Classes
If you want to improve your English skills more, you can take private English classes with a TruFluency tutor. We have customized lessons; this means that we focus on helping you achieve your individual language goals. So, if you are looking to gain more business vocabulary, we can make that happen.
We are focused on language fluency. So, you will not only acquire new words but also learn how to pronounce them and apply them in a real conversation.
All of our teachers are native speakers and will teach you things you’ll actually use in the business place. We have different monthly subscription packages: 4, 8, or 12 classes a month.
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