Differences between General English and Business English

do you speak English?

English is an international language and it has become important for everyone to learn and gain mastery over it because it offers plenty of advantages in one’s own personal and professional life.

Two Different Types

English can be categorized into two groups: (i) General English and (ii) Business English. Let us focus more on the differences between them.

What is General English?

It can be defined as English language which everybody uses in their day-to-day life. It is the common language which consists of words which are common. There will certainly be no technical terms. It is this which everyone speaks and understands with no difficulty at all. 90% of the spoken form is General and it may include vocabulary that is often not used in Written or Formal Language. Given below are a few of the sentences that belong to general usage.

  • What are you doing here?
  • Can you tell me your name?
  • Where do you study?
  • Are you a musician?
  • Are you a student?
  • Are you married?
  • What do you do to make a living?
  • Where do you work?
  • What is your qualification?
  • What is your aim in life?
  • What do you want to do in your life?
  • Can I borrow your jacket?
  • Can I take leave tomorrow?
  • What is your favorite color?

The sentences given above are all common. One might not find any difficulty in understanding them. In fact, vocabulary used will be understandable for one and all.

Business English

For the purpose of work, it would be important to have English language skills which can be used in order to communicate well - communicate with the other colleges, senior staff members, clients etc. Furthermore, you can check websites like English with Lucy if you want to further improve your knowledge on the English Language. Business English is what the world of business is running on. Of course, one will be making use of the common language too but still, a major chunk of it would be filled with some business jargon, technical terms. It should be mentioned that words specific to business domains like IT, Education, Healthcare, Tourism etc are commonly used. It may contain 30-40% of vocabulary that is formal or written language. Today, use of English for business purposes is very common. One will have to have great mastery over it in order to gain success in one’s career. For all those who are looking forward to successful career, it is very important.

Example sentences

  • Are we all on? (when you there is a conference call)
  • I am afraid, I didn’t understand what you said (more formal way of saying, i am sorry, I didn't’ understand)
  • I am a graphic designer / growth hacker
  • I am your contact person
  • We need to start this from scratch.
  • WE have set deadlines for this project.
  • I am delighted to be here today.
  • Let us meet up at our office today.
  • I am sorry to say there was downtime at the conference.
  • He is a savvy investor.
  • Your project is behind schedule.
  • Ours is a startup.
  • Well, this brings to the end of my presentation.
  • I look forward to meeting you again.
  • It is time to form a team of staff who can do this job well.
  • We are going to team up with other organizations on this project.
  • You can pitch in our ideas if you want when we are in a meeting with the client.

Apart from given sentences, there can be various technical abbreviations or business acronyms which are very common. Some of them are listed down here.

  • Let Me Know (LMK)
  • On The Phone (OTP)
  • Referring To (Re)
  • In My Opinion (IMO)
  • FTE (Full-time Employee)
  • Break It Down (BID)
  • End of Week (EOW)
  • RED (Request For Discussion) etc.


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