It’s common knowledge globally that speaking English as a second language can open doors to better job prospects and can make you a more competitive employee in the business world. It’s no surprise then that English is considered, for many, the official language for global business. Whether you’re working in Japan at a German company or working at a Spanish company in France, you will hear the countries choosing English to communicate across borders.
Most of us start learning English in junior high or high school. We have a textbook, we repeat after the teacher and we memorize vocabulary lists for English vocabulary quizzes. Unfortunately, even in language classrooms today, we don’t learn a lot of the words in context. Instead, we just translate the words directly. But, if you want to make sure you not only learn new vocabulary but also learn the correct way to use it, make sure you learn the word using a full sentence. In this way, you’ll gain the confidence to use new words in real life, at the office, and with friends.
What Business English Vocabulary is Used Most?
You don’t want to read Shakespeare to learn modern words. That’s why we suggest reading exactly what other business people are reading on a daily basis: The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Financial Times, and BBC Business. These English newspapers and websites will ensure you are not using words that are no longer being used today. But remember, some of these sites will also use words that even common English speakers don’t know. We always recommend asking a native speaker, “Hey, do you use this word a lot? Do you know what it means easily? Can you tell me if it’s used with friends or more with business colleagues?”
Most people are familiarized with the specific terminology of their work field, especially technology and science vocabulary – it is commonly used in English worldwide. But, business vocabulary can be a challenge, and it can be based on what company you work for too. Here are 30 words that will help you enrich your expressions in your conferences, meetings, and video calls.
30 Commonly Used Business English Words
You can use it to say you are highly pleased. Besides, it conveys that you are happy in a very professional way. Some examples are:
I’m delighted to be here.
Delighted to meet you, Ada.
Just like it suggests, it’s perfect to introduce a summary. For example:
To summarize, we face an imminent strike in our Elkhart facilities.
Ideal to explain your purpose formally. An audience that values straightforwardness will certainly appreciate it.
With these strategies, we intend to redefine our digital marketing campaign.
Useful to provide examples or ask for evidence. Plus, it’ll make your coworkers a bit jealous of how you speak.
Can you illustrate that with a real-life case?
It might seem obvious, but, in most cases, it’s interchangeable with the word “give.” Also, it’s a great choice to ask for further information.
Could you provide more details on the video games market research? Or, which services do you provide?
Synonymous with “question” or “doubt.” You can incentivize someone to participate in a meeting with:
Let’s address this query to Sam.
Synonymous with opinion. Excellent to ask a coworker for his opinion.
Can we get your input, Leonard?
You use this adjective to ask or talk about responsibility within your work environment. Some examples are:
Under whose responsibility was the test conducted?
Nina is accountable only to the managing director.
The prediction of the future. Clear examples are:
My forecast for the upcoming season is X.
Experts are forecasting an economic recovery.
The range of the subject covered in a conversation or the opportunity for doing something.
That’s outside the scope of our meeting.
There’s not much scope for imagination in this project.
It means to move away from the main subject in speech or writing, as in:
I need to digress for a moment here.
Shall (modal verb)
It replaces ‘will’ in sentences where the subject is ‘I’ or ‘we’. You have:
Shall we leave the final decision for this afternoon’s session?
I shall look forward to meeting you next week.
To understand something. You can say:
I’ve grasped the explanation from beginning to end.
It means to express that something is true or will happen. For instance:
The building will doubtlessly be finished this November.
We use it to emphasize something.
We will certainly increase our turnover within the next quarter. Now, let’s celebrate!
Something able to be made, done, or achieved.
The project is perfectly feasible. So we only need financing.
Describes something not able to be achieved.
Total quality will be unattainable without a well-trained workforce. Therefore, we need to hire a coaching company.
The consumer’s behavior is erratic. Thus, my advice is to diversify us.
Meaning “in a gradual way.” Example:
If we are lucky, sales will move steadily for the next couple of months.
To increase in number over a period of time.
Interest has accrued in my savings account.
Meaning a sudden increase.
Interest rates surged to twenty-five percent because of inflation fears.
Synonymous with “to weaken.” Example:
Robert‟s influence in the company will wane once people get to know him.
Ideal to describe a sudden fall.
If the price of copper dives further, we’ll be out of business.
Meaning to fall perpendicularly. Example:
Our reputation will plummet if the press finds out that we made a mistake.
When something is a part, step, or result of something else.
Let me expand on Bob’s plan. It will entail a drastic change.
It means that something is forcibly necessary. Hence, your boss could tell you the following:
Wearing a tie is compulsory at this office.
You use it to change to another subject. So, it can help you a lot.
Incidentally, Rosemary called today.
Used to express something possible.
Can we conceivably believe that you will not make another mistake, Thomas?
Meaning that something is capable of being done or used.
We do agree that it is viable. Now, is it possible with only three men?
How to Get the Most out of Your New English Vocabulary for the Office
To become fluent in any language it’s not necessary to have a gifted memory or any special skills; we all were successful at learning our first language. That means, we can learn a second language! The best way to learn is by learning in context, so that you can experience the vocabulary or the phrase in a real situation. Simply put, you can match the words or phrase to the situation, just like you did when learning your first language. For example, if you hear the word OUCH after someone hurts themselves, and then they maybe cry a little and make a sad face. You will then associate the word OUCH with pain, tears, or a bad experience. Even if you don’t know the translation, you can apply the situation to the word. You can use reasoning from clues and commonsense knowledge. Below, we break down the steps for you to comprehend your English business environment seamlessly.
Step 1. Understand the Function of Your New Words
When facing a new word, learn its class or part of speech. Words can be nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions, determiners, or exclamations. While you don’t need to know this by heart, just get an idea of where it goes in a sentence or what word it is after or before. Take any of the words from our list above, for example. Is it a noun, a verb, an adjective, or something else? Can you use it both as a noun and as a verb? Or does it only have one usage? Does it have multiple uses?
Step 2. Put the words in a sentence, then in a paragraph
Words acquire meaning when used in connection to other words. You’ll probably use a lot of the technical vocabulary in reports, emails, and corporate texts. To gain confidence for a real-life situation, make sentences (even if only in your head). Then, write paragraphs. Play with it and adjust it to your real-life communication needs. Try telling a story with the new words, or associating them with something that often occurs at your workplace. In this way, you can practice the different uses and meanings of those words. Plus, you might realize the existence of idioms or collocations with the vocabulary you are learning. If you’re working with an English tutor, make a list of common phrases you want to say at the office, and make sure you’re saying those correctly.
Step 3. Follow the context clues
Just like it happens in your native language, you will find words that you don’t understand whenever you read, listen or talk to someone in English. Do not panic! Whether written or spoken, words and sentences relate to what surrounds them. Body expressions, tone, formats, and familiar vocabulary will give you clues to understanding a text or conversation. Keep not only your ears open, but also your eyes, so you can see how people are reacting around you.
Step 4. Use monolingual dictionaries
If context clues aren’t working for you, you can check a dictionary. However, we do recommend a learner dictionary or even the website WordReference. This is a great technique to stop the translation in your head when you are learning English. A thesaurus, Collins, Longman, or Oxford dictionary for learners can be your best friend. As a result, your fluency will improve considerably.
Step 5. Be exposed to an English-speaking environment
This is a crucial step in your language learning process. If the only moment you get to speak English in the office is every three to six months, do not feel discouraged. You can immerse yourself in English without having to seek out people (although real conversation is best). Choose something that you like within your work field. Let’s say, Supply Chain Management. Read about it, watch documentaries, and listen to related podcasts as you make notes on the words whose meaning you’re unsure about. Later, check them in the dictionary and go through steps 1 and 2. Since you’re passionate about what you chose, you’ll surely remember a few more things than you would if you read about something you don’t like.
Step 6. Get used to communicating in English
In order to vastly improve your speaking skills, you must talk with others in English. If you have coworkers that speak English well, try meeting up with them to get some practice. However, if you are shy or you don’t have an easy way to connect with them, there are other options for you. You can practice with the mirror, record yourself, join a language exchange community, or hire an English tutor. Finally, celebrate your achievements! No matter how big or small they are, you’ve worked a long way to your desired English level.
With these TruFluency tips, you will be able to think, write, and speak more naturally in English. Plus, you will learn while having fun and boosting your motivation. Book a trial lesson with one of our English coaches for as low as $35. Every class is customized to your exact needs, so no time is wasted on irrelevant information you won’t be using!