Intermediate Business English Vocabulary Terms and Phrases

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English is the international language of communication in today’s global economy. Consequently, at a professional level, every learner must communicate effectively with native speakers and other learners from different cultures using an international language. Business English is the backbone of your communication success to further your studies and career.

As an intermediate learner, you can branch out to other specific purposes of English —one of those is Business English. Business English is one of the branches of English used in business contexts like finance, law, marketing, human resource, and other business situations. Your vocabulary as an intermediate learner will solidify your professional business vocabulary and comprehension.

5 Tips That Every Business English Intermediate Learner Should Follow Develop Strong Business Vocabulary Comprehension

Intermediate English language learners must have up to 3,000 words in their arsenal. Since English has a wide variety of words, from general to technical terms, learners must comprehend and use these words correctly.

Here are five tips you can practice to develop your business English vocabulary comprehension:

1. Don’t just read; write about what you read.

Intermediate learners develop their vocabulary comprehension by reflecting on and sharing what they read. This process makes their study productive and tests their understanding of the material.

2. Connect with people through social media.

Using social media properly to connect with native speakers and communicate with them helps intermediate learners adapt to the intricacies of business English. Good platforms to exercise comprehension are forums, blogs, and chat rooms.

3. Practice writing emails and letters.

Writing emails and letters are embedded in the corporate world. Intermediate learners benefit from practicing writing sample emails and letters early. This way, they can familiarize themselves with key business email words and phrases used in the office setting.

4. Speak in English daily.

Nothing beats speaking English daily to develop your vocabulary. Speaking trains your brain to think and construct sentences in English for effective communication. As your brain forms words into sentences like puzzle pieces, your understanding of the contexts of the words enhances

5. Exercise public speaking. 

Showcase your comprehension and build your confidence by seeking opportunities to speak in public. English students are encouraged to participate in activities that require public speaking. These include presentations, debates, interviews, conferences, and workshops.

English Frog Earth

51 Basic Business English Vocabulary Words for Intermediate Learners:

1. Workflow

Workflow is a sequence of activities (e.g., administrative, sales) that must be performed from initiation to the completion of a task. This guides employees and the organization as a whole to synchronize their movement and avoid skipping steps for a project.

Example of “workflow” in a sentence:

The company’s workflow consists of three stages: pre-production, production, and post-production.

2. Business travel

A business travel or business trip is an official trip taken by a person or group of people on behalf of a company. It usually involves traveling to another city or country for work. The purpose of business travel includes conferences, business meetings, branch inspections, and company retreats.

Example of “business travel” in a sentence:

I will be on business travel for one week for a client meeting overseas.

3. After-sales service

After-sales service refers to the customer or client support provided after a purchase of a product or service. Businesses use this strategy to guarantee that a consumer will be satisfied with their service and be one of their repeat customers.

Example of “after-sales service” in a sentence:

The impeccable after-sales service of the sales agent resulted in customers’ high satisfaction rate and improved recommendations.

4. Going Dutch / go Dutch

Going Dutch is an idiom derived from Nordic countries like The Netherlands, Denmark, and Finland, where splitting the bill or paying for one’s own expenses is a norm. This expression is commonly used in business dining situations to mean each person will pay for what they order.

Example of “going Dutch / to go Dutch” in a sentence:

Let’s go to Dutch for our business lunch meeting because I forgot to bring the company’s credit card.

5. Cultural fit

In the hiring process, human resources evaluate if an applicant can adapt to a company’s organizational values and work environment. Therefore, cultural fit means matching the company’s job requirements and work culture.

Example of “culture fit” in a sentence:

Aside from her robust work experience in business law, we choose to hire her among five applicants because she’s the most cultural fit for the company.

6. CV – Curriculum Vitae

The curriculum vitae (CV) is an individual’s summary of their professional experience, education, and awards and honors. Other sections in a CV include publications, presentations, and patents. Job applications usually require candidates to submit this document.

Example of “CV – curriculum vitae” in a sentence:

I submitted my CV for the senior accountant position. I’m confident my five-year experience and my certifications would qualify me for the job.

7. Ad hoc

Ad hoc is a Latin term commonly used in law and business environments. Its literal translation is “to this” however, it evolved to mean “for this purpose only”. For example, an ad hoc committee is a special group formed to accomplish a task. It will be dissolved after the committee’s goal has been realized.

Example of “ad hoc” in a sentence:

The event planner formed ad hoc committees for the business event. I will form part of the food committee.

8. Pitch

In marketing, a pitch is a proposal sent to a client or investor to convince them to buy your product or invest in a product or service. A sales pitch is a speech meant to persuade a customer. Meanwhile, an elevator pitch is a business idiom meaning a quick spiel to introduce yourself, make a point and connect with someone.

Example of “pitch” in a sentence:

Business people are busy people, so structure your pitch briefly but with a punch to grab their attention.

9. Landing page

A landing page is a part of a website that aims to get visitors to sign up for a new letter, event, or purchase a product. It is used for marketing purposes and conversion optimization. When one clicks a link to a marketing email, they “land” on the brand website’s landing page.

Example of “landing page” in a sentence:

I had to change the layout of my website’s landing page and use light colors to make my content visible to potential buyers.

10. Action point

Commonly used in business meetings, an action point means a task or goal that must be achieved following a meeting. An action point is assigned to one person or a group to accomplish. 

Example of “action points” in a sentence:

We need to discuss the next steps regarding the project. Write down the action points as soon as possible.

11. Black tie event

A black tie event indicates the business dress code and the type of occasion. It means a formal gathering where one should wear formal attire such as tuxedos and evening gowns. Examples of black-tie events are award ceremonies, charity balls, and corporate celebrations.

Example of “black tie event” in a sentence:

I want to give you a heads-up that the gala with the investors is a black-tie event. Please dress accordingly.

12. USB drive – Universal Serial Bus drive

A USB drive or flash drive (also called a thumb drive) is an external storage device that plugs into your computer’s USB port. It allows you to transfer files between computers. You can use them to store pictures, music, documents, and other types of files.

Example of “USB drive – Universal Serial Bus drive” in a sentence:

Can you transfer the folder of photos I have to edit to my USB drive?

13. Forward planning

One quality of an intelligent business person is foresight. Forward planning is a skill that enables a person to anticipate what might happen and prepare for any eventuality. One example of a

Example of “forward planning” in a sentence:

The L

The lack of forward planning caused the fiasco during the company event.

14. Rescind

Rescind means to cancel or annul a previously agreed upon contract, decision, or agreement. In business, rescinding an agreement usually involves the return of money paid for goods or services that were not delivered or provided.

During business meetings, the motion to rescind signifies canceling or nullifying a decision previously adopted by the board.

From an employer-applicant perspective, rescinding a job offer entails one party withdrawing from the agreement after it has been accepted.

Example of rescind in a sentence:

After thorough deliberation, I decided to rescind the motion to adopt the resolution to decrease the number of business students that can avail of our internship program.

15. C-Level executives

C-level executives refer to the highest positions in an organization’s hierarchy. The C-level executives directly influence decision-making and implementation. Chief executive officer (CEO), chairman of the board, president, and director are examples of C-level executives.

Example of “C-Level executive” in a sentence:

I was assigned to train the new executive secretary and introduce her to the C-level executives she shall interact with.

16. Business advice

Business advice is professional guidance from consultants, financial advisors, legal experts, and digital specialists. They help individuals or businesses make sound decisions. For example, a financial advisor helps client manage their personal finances, including ensuring they have enough savings to cover emergencies and retirement needs.

Example of “business advice” in a sentence:

My start-up company received a fortune from an investor, so I sought business advice from a financial advisor on managing the money to grow my business.

17. Pro bono

Pro bono came from the Latin expression pro bono publico. It means for the good of the public. A pro bono case, in law, indicates that the legal work performed by a lawyer is without charge or for free.

Example of “pro bono” in a sentence:

 The lawyer will represent and defend the child abuse victim pro bono.

18. Due diligence

Due diligence is the act of researching, verifying information, and checking the legality of a contract before making a decision.

Example of “due diligence” in a sentence:

I admit I’m still a business novice, so when I received the contract, I did due diligence and consulted a lawyer before signing anything.

19. In lieu of

Professional business emails usually use the expression in lieu of to mean “instead of” or “in place of”.

Example of “in lieu of” in a sentence:

We will send the interns to a corporate training program for them to learn Business English in lieu of giving them business textbooks

20. Resource speaker

Event organizers invite resource speakers during conferences, workshops, and trainings. They are persons who are considered subject matter experts called to deliver a presentation or speech to motivate, educate, and inform their audience.

Example of “resource speaker” in a sentence:

Her years of business experience and various successful business endeavors made her the most sought-after resource speaker.

21. Subscription model

A subscription model is a business model that allows users to pay for access to content on demand. This business model receives revenue from monthly or yearly subscriptions from its customers. Netflix and Spotify are examples of businesses that have a subscription model.

Example of “subscription model” in a sentence:

Please prepare a business presentation detailing how our subscription model for an AI language learning app works.

22. Market research

Market research is an integral part of any business strategy. It seeks to understand consumer behavior by examining factors that affect the demand for a particular product or service. These include price, location, competition from similar products, substitutes, and economy.

Example of “market research” in a sentence:

Performing market research is my forte because business teachers at my university taught us a wide range of market research strategies.

23. ATM – Automated Teller Machine

An automated teller machine (ATM) is a device that allows customers to perform bank transactions without human intervention. ATMs are used for cash withdrawals, deposits, balance inquiries, money transfers, and bill payments.

Example of “ATM” in a sentence:

I will withdraw money from the ATM before I proceed to the old bookstore that only accepts cash to buy English books.

24. Streamline or Streamlining

Streamlining is a technical term in business workflows. It is an efficient way of doing tasks to save time and money. It includes reducing the number of steps involved in completing a task, eliminating unnecessary processes, and improving efficiency.

Example of “streamline or streamlining” in a sentence:

To have an accessible business, ensure streamlining your processes, like your customer relationship management.

25. Seed money

In finance, seed money refers to the entrepreneur’s initial capital to start a business venture. It can be provided as loans, equity investments, or both. Seed money from investors can be hard to come by; therefore, it usually comes from family, friends, and an entrepreneur’s pocket.

Example of “seed money” in a sentence:

 As a business builder, you should know how to allocate your seed money to grow your business successfully.

26. Contingency plan

A contingency plan is a kind of business plan that outlines the course of action a business would take during unprecedented situations. For example, if a company has poor sales performance, they need to create a contingency plan to increase its sales. A contingency plan is also known as a “worst-case scenario” plan.

Example of “contingency plan” in a sentence:

Our project manager assigned us to propose a contingency plan in case our marketing strategy fails to meet its goal.

27. Burn rate

Burn rate refers to the measurement of which a company spends its cash or “burns” its money. If the company’s monthly expenditure is higher than its revenue and available cash then, it is at risk of going out of business.

Example of “burn rate” in a sentence: 

The CEO convened the finance department to craft a business plan to decrease our burn rate —cutting overhead expenses is among their strategies.

28. Consumer show

Consumer shows are events that allow consumers to interact with products to learn about them. Business professionals and companies showcase their products, inventions, and designs to sell them to the attendees.

Example of “consumer show” in a sentence:

Tech enthusiasts flocked to the consumer show, where they featured products like solar panels, folding phones, and electric snow bikes.

29. Business Competitor

A business competitor is any company that competes directly against you in your market. Direct competitors sell products or services similar to each other. Meanwhile, indirect competitors provide complementary goods or services.

Example of “business competitor” in a sentence:

Although our business competitor has negative customer reviews compared to us, we should not be complacent. Let’s ensure our product stays on top of the market.

30. Niche

On a personal level, a niche refers to a job or skill that a person specializes in. Examples are data analytics, life coaching, and graphic design.

In the business industry, a niche market is a part of a larger market with a specific consumer and product. For example, the clothing industry is a general market; its niche markets are minimalist office wear, sportswear for kids, and vegan clothing.

Example of “niche” in a sentence:

I’m trying to change careers and focus on the UI/UX design niche to future-proof my career.

31. Commercial 

In advertising, a commercial is a product promotion paid for by a business. It is a type of advertisement that runs on television and radio. On the other hand, commercial business generally encompasses enterprises that sell materials, products, goods, and services to generate profit.

Example of “commercial” in a sentence:

Advertising: The banking commercial is so quirky yet compelling that it trended over Twitter.

Business: It’s hard to find a commercial building that won’t break your bank to lease.

32. Give my / your two cents

To give your two cents is derived from the English idiom “my two pennies’ worth.” It means weighing in on a topic or giving your opinion during a discussion.

Example of “give my / your two cents” in a sentence:

I’d like to give my two cents about this situation. I think we have to work on personalizing our email campaign to attract more customers.

33. Board of directors

The Board of Directors is the highest policy-making body elected by shareholders of the company. They direct the activities of an organization, including overall management of the company, financial performance, strategy, and policies.

Example of “board of directors” in a sentence:

The board of directors will decide if we will push through the expansion in Asia.

34. Business Partner

A business partner is an individual or entity that enters into a contract for business-to-business allegiance. Business partnerships include real estate investment, law, and accounting firms.

Example of “business partner” in a sentence:

The company’s business partner proposed to change suppliers for the raw products because it is costly.

35. To gain traction

To gain traction is an expression indicating that a business or a product is becoming more popular. It signals the momentum of a business’s growth.

Example of to “gain traction” in a sentence:

After launching the website, the products we sell started to gain traction.

36. MOU – Memorandum of Understanding

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) is an agreement between two or more parties that establishes mutual commitments for future actions and provides guidelines to achieve those goals.

Example of “MOU – Memorandum of Understanding” in a sentence:

 The highlight of the conference is the signing of the memorandum of understanding to develop sustainable and eco-friendly products.

37. Off-the-charts

An off-the-charts record signifies that the outcome broke and exceeded a particular metric. For example, if the target number of sales is 100,000 and a company made 200,000, this would be an off-the-chart record.

Example of “off-the-charts” in a sentence:

The sales went off the charts after the company released the new and improved software updates.

38. Crisis communication

Crisis communications is an integral part of Public Relations. It involves all gathering, processing, and disseminating information to mediate a crisis situation. The goal is to ensure that the message is clear to avoid public panic.

Example of “crisis communication” in a sentence:

The crisis communication team worked overnight to address the situation and assure consumers that the company is doing its best to solve the problem.

39. Pain point

A pain point is a problem that causes frustration, inconvenience, dissatisfaction, or loss of productivity among potential consumers. Financial constraints, productivity issues, and unclear communication are examples of pain points.

Example of “pain point” in a sentence:

A successful marketing strategy identifies the pain points of its clients.

40. Webinar

“Webinar” is a contraction of web seminars which refers to online conferences, workshops, and lectures using a video conferencing platform.

Example of “webinar” in a sentence:

I have to attend a webinar on project management next week.

41. Tailor-made

Tailor-made” describes a document, product, or service designed for a specific purpose, organization, or client. In retail, tailor-made products are usually more expensive than mass-produced items.

Example of “tailor-made” in a sentence:

My advice for you is to ensure that your resume is tailor-made to the job when you are applying.

42. Null and void

In contract law, null and void describes a contract, document, or decision that is not legally binding or valid. A contract can be null and void when its premise is illegal or violates the law.

Example of “null and void” in a sentence:

After consulting a lawyer, I found out that the contract drawn by the loan sharks is null and void.

43. B2B

B2B or business-to-business describes any transaction between businesses rather than individuals. The entities involved in a B2B transaction do not directly compete with each other.

Example of “B2B” in a sentence:

The B2B software commerce is projected to grow steadily in five years.

44. Mortgage

A mortgage is a legal and financial obligation that allows a person to borrow money for a certain period to buy a property. A person must pay back the amount plus interest over the loan’s term. 

Example of “mortgage” in a sentence:

I have $200,000 in cash, but I still have to take a mortgage to pay for my dream home.

45. Smart working

Smart working is a working model that utilizes technology to help people do their jobs better. The goal of smart working is improved efficiency and job satisfaction.

Example of “smart working” in a sentence:

I have to adapt to smart working conditions for my new job since it is fully remote.

46. Pitch deck

A pitch deck is a presentation providing an overview of your company’s business plan. It is used in business meetings to convince investors to finance a business.

Example of “pitch deck” in a sentence:

I have to review the pitch deck I created before submitting it for approval.

47. Filing system

A filing system, a part of the archiving process, is a central repository where documents are stored. For record keeping, files are arranged according to their type, date, and owner.

Example of “filing system” in a sentence:

The IT department is creating an encrypted filing system to improve and ensure document privacy.

48. Clause

In contract law, a clause is a provision that appears within a written agreement. Clauses are used to define the scope of warranties, limit liability, and set obligations between parties.

Example of “clause” in a sentence:

The lawyer reviewed the contract and found that clause no.3 under section D is detrimental to the company.

49. Bounce back 

An email bounce back is an error message one receives when the email they sent is not successfully delivered. An incorrect email address, full recipient inbox, and server error can cause an email to bounce back.

Example of “bounce back” in a sentence:

I did not receive any of your emails maybe they bounced back. Can you check on your end if you have my correct email address?

50. Close the loop

Close the loop is a business English idiom. It means wrapping up or ending a process, closing a deal, finishing a project, or finalizing a discussion.

Example of “close the loop” in a sentence:

I have to close the loop for this project before Tuesday for me to start with the new one.

51. E-commerce

E-commerce is the business model that allows merchants to sell and customers to buy products and services online. Examples are websites like, eBay, and Etsy.

Example of “e-commerce” in a sentence:

Since renting a space for a physical store is expensive, I decided to sell my products on an e-commerce platform.


Business English is the branch of English used in the corporate world.

It includes written and spoken communication like emails, memos, letters, presentations, interviews, and meetings. As an intermediate English language learner, you must expand your vocabulary and learn business jargon, financial, legal, marketing, and general business terms. A good understanding of Business English will help you communicate more effectively in business situations.

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Frequently Asked Questions:

What is a professional vocabulary?

A professional vocabulary is a group of words and phrases used to communicate in a corporate setting or specific profession. Different fields use distinct terms and phrases, which makes learning business English challenging.

How can I learn business vocabulary?

There are various ways to learn business vocabulary. However, the best way is to immerse yourself in authentic materials and activities in the business world.

First, pick a business book or podcast and list down words to create your mini-dictionary. Use those words in writing a reflection of what your read or heard. Your daily life offers opportunities to practice business talk. You can learn business vocabulary when purchasing goods, calling customer service, and requesting information. Lastly, commit to studying business English vocabulary consistently and record your progress.

How can I improve my Business English vocabulary?

Knowing your level of business English comprehension is the first step to improving your vocabulary. Next, you should identify your target level of comprehension, and plan how you can achieve it. Lastly, create achievable goals and schedule your learning time.

You can do the following activities to improve your business English vocabulary:

1. Learn the common business English words, phrases, expressions, and idioms.
2. Read and listen to authentic business English materials (e.g., business news, interviews, blogs, articles) to know the context of the words.
3. Discover industry-specific words like law, marketing, financial, and human resource terms.
4. Exercise your speaking skills and use the vocabulary you learned in your conversations.
5. Practice writing emails, business letters, resumes, and other technical documents.

What should I read to improve my business English?

There are many resources to read that help improve your business English. One is business newspapers, magazines, and blogs. You can also read these seven business books and the 25 best books for English learners.

How can I improve my English from pre-intermediate to intermediate by myself?

Improving proficiency starts with changing your learning materials. To become an intermediate learner, choose reading and listening materials appropriate for your level. Move away from general English books and read books for specific purposes.

Challenge yourself to use idioms and technical terms when communicating. You must also build your confidence in speaking to native English speakers and widen your network.

How do you introduce yourself in intermediate English with a good vocabulary?

A good introduction is a combination of body language and speaking skills. Always start with a greeting and offer a handshake after you state your name. To create a connection, tell personal things about yourself but avoid oversharing and exposing sensitive matters.

Good information to share is your education, job, interests, hobbies, and skills. Through that information, you can find common ground to continue the conversation. Learn to read cues when a person wants to end the conversation and offer them your contact or business card for future endeavors.

What is the best app for learning intermediate to advanced English?

LillyPad is the best app for learning intermediate to advanced English. Improve your English faster through the collection of books, blogs, and videos integrated into the app —you don’t have to search further for authentic study materials.

Personalize your experience with the help of Lilly, an artificial intelligent tutor who guides you in your learning process. Measure and track your progress through the dashboard and learning pads. Lastly, you can upload your own material in the app for your study.

What is B1 English Level (Intermediate)?

B1 English Level is the third level under the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR). Learners with a B1 intermediate level of proficiency are expected to:

– Understand points in common topics used in school, work, and leisure;
– Create their personal and professional goals;
– Talk about the books, films, and news they read or watched in detail;
– Master dining etiquette like ordering food and initiating conversations;
– Participate in discussions and negotiations in their field of expertise;
– Navigate dealing with unwanted behaviors and respond accordingly (e.g., encountering rude customers)
– Describe daily experiences, products, and processes.

How can I improve my “business” vocabulary when talking to clients/writing emails?

You can create cheat sheets before meeting a client and rehearse your speech. Research your meeting topic and check the meanings of technical terms. List down possible questions that may arise and prepare your answers in advance. Make sure to listen to your client to avoid misunderstanding and foster effective communication. After your meeting, reflect on what went wrong, what you did well, and points for improvement.

When writing emails, you can use grammar-checking software to correct your sentence structure. Always practice proofreading before sending your email. Finally, incorporate business English phrases, idioms, and expressions into your email.

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William Landry

William Landry

William is a professional English and ESL teacher with over 15 years of experience. He has taught students of all ages, from children to business executives, and has worked with ESL learners from all over the globe. With a degree in English Education, William has developed curriculum for learners of all levels and interests. He is passionate about helping people learn English effectively and shares his knowledge with the LillyPad community. When he’s not teaching or writing, William enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.

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