10 Business English words you (probably) mispronounce

By 26 April 2021 Non classé No Comments
How to say 10 common business English words
How to say 10 common business English words

Do you use English in meetings, conference calls, or just conversations?
Then I’m sure you’ve already been in this frustrating Business English situation:
You say a word that you’re sure about.
But the other person doesn’t understand.
You repeat it once or twice.

And then they say something like this:
“Ohhh! A quote!! Yeah, I can send you a quote.”
And you’re confused.  You’re thinking: “That’s what I said…”

This happens even to advanced speakers.  And we all know it’s frustrating.
But don’t worry.  We’re going to fix those pronunciation problems so you can feel confident doing your job in English.

Let’s start today with the top 10 mispronounced Business English expressions.

Index:

1. Commonly mispronounced Business English words #1: Quote
2. Commonly mispronounced Business English words #2: Figure
3. Commonly mispronounced Business English words #3: Determine
4. Commonly mispronounced Business English words #4: Focus
5. Commonly mispronounced Business English words #5: Cooperate
6. Commonly mispronounced Business English words #6: Identify
7. Commonly mispronounced Business English words #7: Develop
8. Commonly mispronounced Business English words #8: Analysis
9. Commonly mispronounced Business English words #9: Negotiate
10. Commonly mispronounced Business English words #10: Etcetera (Etc)


1. Commonly mispronounced Business English words #1: Quote

The correct pronunciation of this word: /kwōt/
Mistake students often make: /kōt/

You’re actually saying ‘coat’ like this. A warm jacket that you might wear in winter.

Here’s how you can correct your pronunciation:

Be sure to make a /kw/ sound.  The same one you hear in quick.

The best way to make sure you say this expression correctly in a Business English situation is to practice.

Try saying:

Can you send me a quote /kwōt/ for that?


2. Commonly mispronounced Business English words #2: Figure

Here’s the correct pronunciation: /figyur/
But a lot of my clients actually say: /figgur/

Here’s how you can correct your pronunciation:
Be careful to make a /y/ sound after the /g/.
It’s the same  /y/ sound you would use in ‘you’ or ‘yellow.’

For extra practice and confidence, try saying /figyur/ correctly in this sentence:

“Did you figure out why there was a mistake in the schedule?”


3. Commonly mispronounced Business English words #3: Determine

Here’s the correct pronunciation: /də TER mən/

It’s all in the intonation. The stress is on the second syllable.

But a lot of my clients actually say: /DEE ter MINE/

A native English speaker might struggle to recognize the word.

They’re not really expecting to hear the vowels in those first and third syllables.

Here’s how you can correct your pronunciation:

If you listen to a native speaker, you’ll notice we don’t really pronounce the vowels you see in the first and third syllables. (That’s sometimes referred to as the schwa sound.)

The vowel you do hear is in the stressed second syllable.

For extra practice and confidence, try saying /də TER mən/ correctly in this sentence:

“We couldn’t determine the reason for the problem.”

Also check out my lesson:  Improve your pronunciation: the syllable stress.


4. Commonly mispronounced Business English words #4 :  Focus

Here’s the correct pronunciation: /fōcəs/

In the first stressed syllable, we use the same “o” sound you hear in boat, rope, or soap.

But a lot of my clients actually say: ‘fuckus’

Here’s how you can correct your pronunciation:

Focus on the long “o” sound in the first syllable.
(Remember boat, rope, soap…focus.)

And that second syllable is unstressed.
So you guessed it, we use the schwa sound /ə/.
And you don’t really hear the ‘u’ at all.

For extra practice and confidence, try saying /fōcəs/ correctly in this sentence:

“It’s fun to focus on your pronunciation, don’t you agree?”

Also check out my lesson: Practical Pronunciation Lessons: American Summer Fun


5. Commonly mispronounced Business English words #5 : Cooperate

Here’s the correct pronunciation: /co WAH pə rate/

But a lot of my clients actually say: /cooper-ate/.
They pronounce the two “O”s the same.

Here’s how you can correct your pronunciation:

Pronounce the first “o” as a long ō (again like boat or co-founder).
And pronounce the second “o” as you would /ah/ (like walk).

Try saying /co WAH pə rate/ correctly in this sentence:

“If we cooperate, we’ll do more, faster!”


6. Commonly mispronounced Business English words #6 : Identify

Here’s the correct pronunciation: /i DEN ə fy/
But a lot of my clients actually say: ee dent ə fy

Here’s how you can correct your pronunciation:
Be careful to pronounce the long ī  sound in the first syllable.
Hint it’s the same sound as size or eye!

And the “t” is silent. You won’t hear native speakers pronouncing it usually.

For extra practice, try saying /i DEN ə fy/ correctly in this sentence:

“Did you identify any good candidates for the job?”


7. Commonly mispronounced Business English words #7 :  develop

Here’s the correct pronunciation: /də VE ləp/
But a lot of my clients actually say:  /DEE vel op/ or  /de vel OP/

Here’s how you can correct your pronunciation:
The first syllable is unstressed and you won’t really hear the vowel.  Just the /ə/.

Keep the stress on the second syllable. /VE/
It will sound like you’re about to say ‘vet’ as in veterinarian.

For extra practice and confidence, try saying /də VE ləp/ correctly in this sentence:

“I’m excited about the new products that we’ll develop next year!”


8. Commonly mispronounced Business English words #8 : Analysis

Here’s the correct pronunciation: /ə NAH lə səs/
But a lot of my clients actually say: /ANN ə LY səs/

Here’s how you can correct your pronunciation:

In this word, the key is to remember the stress is on the second syllable.
So you’ll hear that vowel pronounced /ah/ as in “bat.”

The other syllables are unstressed and you’ll hear the schwa sound /ə/.

For extra practice and confidence, try saying /ə NAH lə səs/ correctly in this sentence:

“This analysis is 200 pages! Can you just give me a summary?”


9. Commonly mispronounced Business English words #9: Negotiate

Here’s the correct pronunciation: /Nə GO she ate/
But a lot of my clients actually say: nə gə SHE ate

Here’s how you can correct your pronunciation:
Remember to stress that second syllable like you are saying “GO.”

Then follow with “she” and “ate” with a bit less emphasis.

For extra practice and confidence, try saying /Nə GO she ate/ correctly in this sentence:

“Never Split the Difference is a great book about how to negotiate!”


10. Commonly mispronounced Business English words #10. Etc

This is a word we see a lot.
And we hear it alot in conversation.
Many of my clients simply don’t know how to pronounce this.

Here’s the correct pronunciation:  /ett SED ə rə/ or /ett SETRə/

By the way, native speakers make mistakes with this word too!
So you might hear “EX cetera.”

Here’s how you can correct your pronunciation:

Just practice saying the first syllable: /ett/
then /SED ə rə/.

Or alternatively,

Practice saying the first syllable: /ett/
then /SETRə/

For extra practice and confidence, try saying ‘etcetera’ correctly in your own sentence.

Imagine you are at the end of a conversation or a list.  You could go on, but you don’t.  Instead you say,

“And etc, etc…”

Also check out my lesson: Improve your comprehension AND pronunciation.


Practice Makes Progress with English Pronunciation!

You’ve just learned 10 of the most common Business English words that my clients pronounce incorrectly.
If you want to learn to use these words correctly and easily when you are having conversations in English, you’re going to want to practice them a few times.
Each time you practice, even if it’s just for two minutes, you can remind yourself that you’re taking one step further toward your goal of being confident in your Business English.


Take the next step: Improve your English in the comments

The best way to become more confident using Business English is to practice!

Here’s your weekly challenge for this week:

  1. In the comments, tell us which of these words you’d like to work on.
  2. Then use the word/words in a sentence of your own. And practice saying that sentence by yourself a few times this week.

If you learned something from this lesson, please share it with your coworkers & friends. You can send your message to them in English for more practice!

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Become more fluent & comfortable in conversations

If you would like to take the next step with me, discover my Faster Fluency Conversation Club Membership Program!
It helps you become more confident speaking in conversations, and get a lot more vocabulary on many different topics! And it’s a fabulous community of “English buddies” from around the world!

TIP: Use the code FFCC40 to save -40% off your 1st month of membership!

More details at https://christinarebuffetcourses.com/faster-fluency-conversation-club/join-now

Can’t wait to see you in the Club,
Christina

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