Business English Phrases and Expressions

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In this lesson, you will learn 10 common business English expressions.

The tutorial gives example sentences for these phrases and idioms in the form of dialogues. They are particularly common in spoken business English, phone conversations and meetings in the office.

I will give you the definition, followed by an explanation and some examples.

to give someone a heads up

= to inform someone about something important.
We say “heads up” because we want the people to stop their work, raise their heads and listen to us! We say this when we want people to interrupt what they are doing and pay attention.

 

 

 

 

Examples:

CEO: “I just want to give you a heads up that I will be absent tomorrow.”
Manager: “Just a heads up about tomorrow. The sales conference will start at 9 am. Don’t be late!”

to give someone the lowdown

= to give someone the most important information about something.
The form is: give someone the lowdown ON something.

Notice that we use the preposition “on” + something

We use this expression when we are busy and we don’t have a lot of time. We really don’t want to listen to lots of information and details. We only want a summary of the important information.

Examples:

Manager: “I don’t have time to listen to all the details. Just quickly give me the lowdown!”
Manager: “Give me the lowdown on the new supplier. Should we keep him or not?”

to fill someone in

= to inform someone about something.
If someone is absent and they miss some information, then we can fill the person in later when we see them. It means simply that we will tell them what they missed.

Jane: “Mark, were you at the accounts meeting yesterday?”
Mark: “No.”
Jane: “Ok, I’ll fill you in with what was discussed.”

to drop someone a line

= to write a letter to someone.
This is a very useful business English idiom. Of course we are not dropping anything. It is not a literal expression! It means to write a letter to someone, usually an informal letter, a short note or email perhaps.

Examples:

At the end of a business call with a potential client:

Supplier: “I’ll drop you a line to confirm the details.”

During a business exhibition, speaking with a potential new supplier:

Customer: “Here is my business card with my address. Please drop me a line with the prices.”

to stay in touch OR to keep in touch

= to continue to communicate with someone.

This is a very useful phrase in spoken English when we are saying goodbye to someone and we want to continue the communication and relationship with them.

Examples:

“Goodbye! It was nice to see you again. Stay in touch!”
“Keep in touch! Call me if you have any questions.”

to keep someone posted OR to keep someone updated

= to regularly tell someone what is happening in an important situation.
Manager: “Jane, has the candidate sent us his application form?”
Jane: “No, not yet.”
Manager: “Ok, please keep me posted.”

to keep someone in the loop

= to regularly inform someone about something.

This is a very similar expression to “keep someone posted / updated”
Example:
Manager: “You are in charge of the project but please keep me in the loop.”

to give someone a call OR to give someone a ring

= to call someone (by telephone)

English phone call

Examples:
“I gave you a ring but you didn’t answer!”
“I’ll give you a call when I arrive at the airport.”

to get back to someone

= to reply to someone.

Example:

Mark: “Could I speak to Mrs Smith please?”
Secretary: “I’m sorry but Mrs Smith is in a meeting.”
Mark: “Ok, please ask her to get back to me.”

to let someone know

= to inform someone about something.

Example:

Mark: “Are you working next week?”
Jane: “I’m not sure. My manager will let me know tomorrow.”

Shafey Barakat
CELTA Certified English Instructor
Professionals' Development Analyst
Moodle Administrator

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