You’ve probably heard the term “business English” during your studies, but maybe you’re unsure of what it means. English has been used as the international language of business for years, however, this doesn’t really explain what it means.
Read on to learn more about what business English is and when to use it.
A Simple Definition
Business English is a specialized part of English language teaching and learning that focuses on elements of English pertaining to commerce, trade, business relations, professional settings, and international language standardization.
While this definition provides an overview of business English as a concept, a few examples will be helpful to see how it might be differentiated from other broad concepts, like “conversational English.”
How Is It Used?
Business English can be used in a wide range of settings and formats. It’s best distinguished from other forms of English by the environment and way in which it is used.
Here are a few examples of when it might be used:
How Is Business English Different from Other Specialized Forms of English Learning?
Though we have provided a definition and examples of how to use business English, you may still be wondering how it is any different from other kinds of English. Naturally, since all forms of English fall under the same language umbrella, there is plenty of overlap.
However, there are a few key characteristics that help distinguish it as a distinct form of communication:
This is perhaps the most important and distinguishable element of business English. This form of English often includes words, phrases, and idioms that are specific to business settings and formats. We will go into greater detail about business English vocabulary below.
Tone, both in written and spoken English, are very important in business settings. Business English is typically more formal and professional than casual, conversational English. This also has an effect on word choice and even grammar.
For example, slang, contractions, and other elements of casual language are not as common in professional English conversation or writing.
Business Vocabulary Words
Below you will find examples of common words, phrases, and idioms you can add to your business English vocabulary. Though not all of these will be relevant in every business setting, you will likely find that many of these terms apply in a wide range of business situations and environments.
30 Common English Words, Phrases, and Idioms for Business
Helpful Resources for Learning Business English
Finally, there are a number of great resources available online to help you learn business English. Here are just a few to get you started: