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List of 100 Essential Business English Nouns

100 commonly-used nouns you should know and be able to use if you work in an Englishspeaking business environment.

Do you know them all? Tick them off

as you learn and keep this page as a record.

advantage

debtor decision decrease deficit delivery

fall feedback goal goods growth guarantee

objective offer opinion option order output payment

repairs report responsibility result retailer rise risk salary sales

advertisement advice agenda apology

department authorization description bill difference brand budget change distribution commission employee

improvement increase

penalty industry

disadvantage

instructions

permission

schedule share signature

interest inventory invoice

possibility

preparation price product

comparison

employer knowledge enquiry limit production profit

stock success

competition

competitor

environment

suggestion supply

loss

confirmation costs creditor customer deadline debt

equipment margin estimate market experience message mistake purchase promotion support target transport

explanation facilities factory

reduction refund

turnover

reminder

100 Essential Business English Verbs


Here are 100 commonly-used verbs you should know and be able to use if you work in an English-speaking business environment. Do you know them all? Tick them off as you learn and keep this page as a record.

accept add admit advertise advise afford approve authorize avoid

complain complete confirm consider convince count decide decrease deliver

extend fall fix fund get worse

order organize owe own pack

reduce refuse reject remind remove reply resign respond return

improve increase inform install

participate pay plan present

borrow break build buy calculate call cancel change charge for

develop dismiss dispatch distribute divide drop employ

invest invoice join lend lengthen lower maintain manage measure mention obtain

prevent process produce promise promote provide purchase raise reach receive recruit

rise sell send separate shorten split structure succeed suggest write vary

encourage establish estimate exchange

check choose

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Weekly Words | Vocabulary Library | English grammar exercises | Grammar rules

List of English irregular verbs - past simple and past participle


Here is a checklist of English irregular verbs. Use this page as a reference and to test yourself. Index A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z verb past tense past participle

arise awake bear beat become begin bend beset bet bid bind bite bleed blow break breed bring broadcast build burn burst buy cast catch choose cling come cost creep cut deal dig dive do draw dream drink drive eat fall feed feel fight find fit flee fling

arose awoke bore beat became began bent beset bet/betted bid bound bit bled blew broke bred brought broadcast built burnt/burned burst bought cast caught chose clung came cost crept cut dealt dug dived/dove (AmE) did drew dreamt/dreamed drank drove ate fell fed felt fought found fit fled flung

arisen awoken borne beaten become begun bent beset bet bid bound bitten bled blown broken bred brought broadcast built burnt/burned burst bought cast caught chosen clung come cost crept cut dealt dug dived done drawn dreamt/dreamed drunk driven eaten fallen fed felt fought found fit fled flung

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Weekly Words | Vocabulary Library | English grammar exercises | Grammar rules

Weekly Words
1. check the definition and usage of each word 2. test yourself on the words with our free online exercise.

proceed | process | produce | profit | progress

proceed
verb [I] how to use examples

pro.ceed
1) to continue doing something which has already been started 2) to do something after finishing something else 1) proceed with something 2) proceed to + infinitive 1) They have informed us that they don't want to proceed with the same sales strategy. 2) He explained the rules and then proceeded to show us some examples.

process
verb [T] how to use examples

pro.cess
to deal officially with something such as a document or a request process something; data / documents / a request / an application It took me three days to process all the data. They haven't processed his visa application yet.

produce

pro.duce

verb [T] how to use

to make large quantities of goods using an industrial process, in order to sell them produce something; produce goods, produce a result / an effect; be produced by someone, in a country / place synonym: manufacture Our company produces and exports electronic goods all over the world. The factory produces car parts.

examples

profit
verb [I] how to use examples

pro.fit
to get something useful (sometimes money) from a situation or a business deal profit from something Many small businesses are profiting from the new tax laws. I profited from his advice.

progress
verb [I] how to use

pro.gress
to move forward, to improve or develop something progresses uncountable noun: progress (pronunciation: pro.gress), make progress Work on the new building is progressing slowly. We are making good progress and should be finished earlier than expected.

examples

Test yourself on this vocabulary


Key to definitions: verb [T]: transitive verb - a verb which must have an object, e.g. He bought a book. Bought is a transitive verb, book is the object. verb [I]: intransitive verb - a verb which cannot have an object, e.g. He walked. Prices are rising. Walk are intransitive - there is no object. Key to pronunciation: pay.ment

The word is divided into two parts, showing that there are two syllables. The underlined syllable is the one which is stressed when the word is spoken.

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Weekly Words 19 December 2006


The next Weekly Words will be in January.

Here's an exercise to help you practise this week's words. Choose the correct word to complete each of the sentences below. You can check your score in the green box:

check answers | show answers | clear answers


proceeded

After giving us some examples, the speaker investment was essential for small companies.
produced

to explain why that type of

The medical equipment is


produces

in Sheffield from steel of the best quality. over 40% of the country's sugar beet.

Our region
progressing

Our research is we have.

very fast due to the good sources of information which

produced

The phone call to the personnel manager

the result he wanted.

process

The clerk told me that they would need two weeks to

my application.

There have been many changes to the law and we must look for ways to
profit from

these changes.
proceed

The Government has announced that it intends to

with its space program.

check answers | show answers | clear answers

English Idioms
Colour idioms
black and white thinking of everything or judging everything in a simple way and seeing it as either good or bad The situation isn't as black and white as it seems; it's much more complicated. to darken by putting out the electric lights or covering over the windows Londoners had to black out their windows during the war so that the enemy aircraft could not see the city. black out to lose consciousness He blacked out after standing up for three hours in the parade. First aid staff attended to him. blue in the face to be very angry or upset; to be excited and very emotional She argued with her husband until she was blue in the face but he wouldn't see her point of view. green to be inexperienced and/or immature He's a bit green - he still believes that someone is going to come and help him out of his situation. He doesn't realise he has to do it himself.

black out

the grass is always when a place that is far away or different seems better than the greener (on the place where we are now other side)

He must be crazy to leave the company; he's got a great job and a great salary. He really should stay where he is but he can't see it - the grass is always greener on the other side. green with envy to be very jealous and full of envy I was green with envy when I heard that she was going on holiday to Spain for a week while I had to stay and work. in the red to have debts The company has been in the red for two years now. We now owe over $500,000 to our suppliers and the bank. red tape excessive bureaucracy Many businesses complain about the amount of red tape that they must deal with in former Eastern-bloc countries. out of the blue when something happens without a warning, by surprise His decision to leave the company came completely out of the blue. No one expected it at all.

English idioms
Animal idioms
a sly fox / to be as sly as a fox Someone who is very experienced and has acquired a lot of guile.

to let sleeping dogs lie

To leave well alone and refrain from starting trouble. You must have known that mentioning his ex-wife would upset him. You should have let sleeping dogs lie.

as stubborn as a mule

someone who is unwilling to listen to reason or change his mind.

a dark horse

A person of unknown abilities or a person who has kept his abilities to himself and may surprise everybody. This is a racing metaphor which says that an unknown horse which could win the race unexpectedly. Who would have thought George would win the competition? He's a real dark horse.

no room to swing a cat

A very small, cramped place. The original phrase was probably 'not room to swing a cat-o'nine-tails', and dates from the time when sailors were whipped (flogged) on ships. The floggings took place on the deck because the cabins were too small. This room's not big enought to swing a cat in.

to put/set the cat among the pigeons

To provoke a quarrel. You shouldn't have criticized the boss in your speech; now you've really put the cat among the pigeons.

a dog's-body

One who does the routine or mechanical work, especially that which no one else wants to do. When I worked in the factory I was the dog's-body; I was given all the worst jobs.

as weak as a kitten

Feeble, very weak, having no strength. After her operation she felt as weak as a kitten.

Marketing vocabulary 1

a brand noun a type of product made by a particular company: What brand of soap do you usually buy? launch verb to introduce a new product, with advertising and publicity: We plan to launch the new product next month. a consumer noun a person who buys goods or services: The rise in transport cost will mean higher prices for the consumer. an end user noun the person who buys and uses a product, as opposed to someone who buys then sells the products: The new software makes the system easier for the end user. market research noun collecting and processing of information about customers - how they feel about a product and why they will or will not use a product or service: Market research shows that there is demand for another large supermarket in the area. public relations noun creating and maintenaning a good image with your customers and the public: After the recent scandal, the company has started a new advertising campaign to help improve public relations.

Marketing vocabulary 2

Brand identity noun How a company wants the consumer to see its product. The company may want the customer to see the product as a luxury item or perhaps a cheaper item. Brand image noun How a company's product is perceived (seen) by the consumer. Banner ad noun An advertisment seen on the internet, often in the form of a rectangle at the top of an internet page. It has a large headline and sometimes moving or flashing colours and images. They placed a banner ad at the top of each page. Circulation noun About a newspaper or magazine - the average number of copies distributed. For billboards and posters outdoors - the number of people who will potentially see it. The magazine has a weekly circulation of 50,000 copies. Cost per inquiry (CPI) noun The financial cost of getting one person to inquire (ask) about your product or service. This term is used in direct response advertising. The advertisment cost us $1000. As a result, we had 200 calls from customers, so CPI was $5. Direct mail noun Marketing leaflets or letters sent directly to customers or potential customers via the postal service. We used direct mail to inform our customers about our new special offer. We sent it by direct mail. Macromarketing noun When a company adapts itself (changes the product, price, image, etc.) because of changes in the market and in the industry.

Telephone language and phrases in English How to answer and speak on the phone

Answering the phone 1. Good morning/afternoon/evening, York Enterprises, Elizabeth Jones speaking. 2. Who's calling, please? Introducing yourself 1. This is Paul Smith speaking. 2. Hello, this is Paul Smith from Speakspeak International. Asking for someone 1. Could I speak to John Martin, please? 2. I'd like to speak to John Martin, please. 3. Could you put me through to John Martin, please? 4. Could I speak to someone who Explaining

Problems 1. I'm sorry, I don't understand. Could you repeat that, please? 2. I'm sorry, I can't hear you very well. Could you speak up a little, please? 3. I'm afraid you've got the wrong number. 4. I've tried to get through several times but it's always engaged. 5. Could you spell that, please? Putting someone through

1. One moment, please. I'll see if


Mr Jones is available. 2. I'll put you through. 3. I'll connect you. 4. I'm connecting you now. Taking a message 1. Can I take a message? 2. Would you like to leave a message? 3. Can I give him/her a message? 4. I'll tell Mr Jones that you called 5. I'll ask him/her to call you as soon as possible.

1. I'm afraid Mr Martin isn't in at the

moment. 2. I'm sorry, he's in a meeting at the moment. 3. I'm afraid he's on another line at the moment. Putting someone on hold 1. Just a moment, please. 2. Could you hold the line, please? 3. Hold the line, please.

Tips on how to write a curriculum vitae (CV / resum) in English


The style and layout of a curriculum vitae (CV) in English is often different to in other languages. These steps explain how to write a standard English CV. Step 1 make notes Make notes on your work experience, both paid, unpaid, full-time and part-time. Write down your responsibilities, job title and company information. Include everything!

Step 2 make notes

Make notes on your education. Include your degree or any certificates, names of major courses, school names and courses relevant to the job you are applying for.

Step 3 make notes

Make notes on other achievements. Include membership of organizations, military service and any other special accomplishments. From your notes, choose which skills are relevant (skills that are similar) to the job which you are applying for. These are the most important points for your CV. Begin your CV. Write your full name, address, telephone number, email, date of birth, marital status and nationality at the top of the CV.

Step 4 choose relevant skills

Step 5 Personal details

Step 6 Objective

Write an objective. The objective is a short sentence describing the job you hope to get. This is common only in an American-style CV (called a resum).

Step 7 Education/Qualifications

Summarize your education, including important facts (type of degree, specific courses you have studied) that are relevant to the job you are applying for. List all of your work experience, job by job. Start with the your most recent job and progress backwards in time. Again, focus on skills that are relevant. Include the company details and your job title and responsibilities there. Include other relevant information such as languages spoken, computer skills, etc.

Step 8 Experience

Step 9 Skills Step 10 Interests Step 11 References

Very briefly include your hobbies and main interests.

Finish with the line: References available upon request.

More tips

Ideally your CV in English should not be longer than one page. Two pages are only acceptable if you have had many different jobs and a variety of experience. Spacing, aligning and layout are very important when you write your CV, in order to create a positive and

professional impression. Use 'dynamic' and 'action' verbs such as: attained, accomplished, conducted, established, facilitated, founded, managed, etc. Do not use the personal pronoun 'I' in your CV, use tenses in the past, e.g. Established and managed a new sales force for the region.

Writing business letters - Useful phrases: Yours faithfully or Yours sincerely?


You already know how important it is to speak good English in an international working environment. If you work for a company which does business abroad, you probably read and write a lot of English, too. Writing, just like speaking, is communication. In our letters and emails we need to express many things: authority, gratitude, dissatisfaction, etc. Expressing ourselves well and with the correct level of formality is an important skill. Do you have that skill? Ask yourself these questions: Do you present yourself in a professional manner when you write? What image do you give to the people who read your letters and emails? In short, you want to give a professional image when you write to your customers and business partners. To get you started, we've prepared some lists of standard phrases. Take a look at: Opening Lines Opening lines Why do we need an opening line in a business letter or formal email? - to make reference to previous correspondence - to say how you found the recipient's name/address - to say why you are writing to the recipient. 10 Good Opening Lines: With reference to your letter of 8 June, I ... I am writing to enquire about ... After having seen your advertisement in ... , I would like ... After having received your address from ... , I ... I received your address from ... and would like ... We/I recently wrote to you about ... Thank you for your letter of 8 May. Thank you for your letter regarding ... Thank you for your letter/e-mail about ... In reply to your letter of 8 May, ... Closing Lines Dear Sir and Yours Faithfully

Closing lines
Why do we need a closing line in a business letter or email? - to make a reference to a future event - to repeat an apology - to offer help 10 Good Closing Lines: If you require any further information, feel free to contact me. I look forward to your reply. I look forward to hearing from you. I look forward to seeing you. Please advise as necessary. We look forward to a successful working relationship in the future. Should you need any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me. Once again, I apologise for any inconvenience. We hope that we may continue to rely on your valued custom. I would appreciate your immediate attention to this matter.

When 'Yours faithfully' and when 'Yours sincerely' in a business letter?


When the recipient's name is unknown to you: Dear Sir ... Yours faithfully Dear Madam ... Yours faithfully Dear Sir or Madam ... Yours faithfully When you know the recipient's name: Dear Mr Hanson ... Yours sincerely Dear Mrs Hanson ... Yours sincerely Dear Miss Hanson ... Yours sincerely Dear Ms Hanson ... Yours sincerely When addressing a good friend or colleague: Dear Jack ... Best wishes/Best regards Addressing whole departments:

Dear Sirs ... Yours faithfully

English grammar practice exercises: Beginner

0% 0% 0%

Exercise - past simple tense

Examples of past simple: I saw him yesterday I didn't (did not) see him yesterday Did you see him?

Use the words in brackets ( Example: Why (you/move)

) to complete each of the following questions.


did you move

to England?

You have 0 correct answers from a possible 10 (0%) check answers | clear answers | show answers When (you/see) Correct answer: did you see I (see) her two days ago. your sister?

Correct answer: saw He (not/come) to the meeting on Wednesday because he was on holiday.

Correct answer: didn't come Where (you/go) Correct answer: did you go How long (it/take) you to drive from London to Edinburgh? for your holidays?

Correct answer: did it take (you/enjoy) your holiday

Correct answer: Did you enjoy I (see) a fantastic film at the cinema last week.

Correct answer: saw He (be) 20 years old when he started work.

Correct answer: was How old (he/be) Correct answer: was he How old (you/be) Correct answer: were you check answers | clear answers | show answers when you started school? when he started school?

You have 0 correct answers from a possible 10 (0%)

What is an Adverb?
An adverb can modify a verb, an adjective, another adverb, a phrase, or a clause. An adverb indicates manner, time, place, cause, or degree and answers questions such as "how," "when," "where," "how much". While some adverbs can be identified by their characteristic "ly" suffix, most of them must be identified by untangling the grammatical relationships within the sentence or clause as a whole. Unlike an adjective, an adverb can be found in various places within the sentence. In the following examples, each of the highlighted words is an adverb: The seamstress quickly made the mourning clothes. In this sentence, the adverb "quickly" modifies the verb "made" and indicates in what manner (or how fast) the clothing was constructed. The midwives waited patiently through a long labour. Similarly in this sentence, the adverb "patiently" modifies the verb "waited" and describes the manner in which the midwives waited. The boldly spoken words would return to haunt the rebel. In this sentence the adverb "boldly" modifies the adjective "spoken." We urged him to dial the number more expeditiously. Here the adverb "more" modifies the adverb "expeditiously." Unfortunately, the bank closed at three today. In this example, the adverb "unfortunately" modifies the entire sentence.

Conjunctive Adverbs
You can use a conjunctive adverb to join two clauses together. Some of the most common conjunctive adverbs are "also," "consequently," "finally," "furthermore," "hence," "however," "incidentally," "indeed," "instead," "likewise," "meanwhile," "nevertheless," "next," "nonetheless," "otherwise," "still," "then," "therefore," and "thus." A conjunctive adverb is not strong enough to join two independent clauses without the aid of a semicolon. The highlighted words in the following sentences are conjunctive adverbs: The government has cut university budgets; consequently, class sizes have been increased. He did not have all the ingredients the recipe called for; therefore, he decided to make something else. The report recommended several changes to the ways the corporation accounted for donations; furthermore, it suggested that a new auditor be appointed immediately. The crowd waited patiently for three hours; finally, the doors to the stadium were opened. Batman and Robin fruitlessly searched the building; indeed, the Joker had escaped through a secret door in the basement.

What Is An Adjective?
An adjective modifies a noun or a pronoun by describing, identifying, or quantifying words. An adjective usually precedes the noun or the pronoun which it modifies. In the following examples, the highlighted words are adjectives: The truck-shaped balloon floated over the treetops. Mrs. Morrison papered her kitchen walls with hideous wall paper. The small boat foundered on the wine dark sea. The coal mines are dark and dank. Many stores have already begun to play irritating Christmas music. A battered music box sat on the mahogany sideboard. The back room was filled with large, yellow rain boots. An adjective can be modified by an adverb, or by a phrase or clause functioning as an adverb. In the sentence My husband knits intricately patterned mittens. for example, the adverb ``intricately'' modifies the adjective ``patterned.'' Some nouns, many pronouns, and many participle phrases can also act as adjectives. In the sentence Eleanor listened to the muffled sounds of the radio hidden under her pillow. for example, both highlighted adjectives are past participles. Grammarians also consider articles (``the,'' ``a,'' ``an'') to be adjectives.

Possessive Adjectives
A possessive adjective (``my,'' ``your,'' ``his,'' ``her,'' ``its,'' ``our,'' ``their'') is similar or identical to a possessive pronoun; however, it is used as an adjective and modifies a noun or a noun phrase, as in the following sentences: I can't complete my assignment because I don't have the textbook. In this sentence, the possessive adjective ``my'' modifies ``assignment'' and the noun phrase ``my assignment'' functions as an object. Note that the possessive pronoun form ``mine'' is not used to modify a noun or noun phrase. What is your phone number. Here the possessive adjective ``your'' is used to modify the noun phrase ``phone number''; the entire noun phrase ``your phone number'' is a subject complement. Note that the possessive pronoun form ``yours'' is not used to modify a noun or a noun phrase. The bakery sold his favourite type of bread.

In this example, the possessive adjective ``his'' modifies the noun phrase ``favourite type of bread'' and the entire noun phrase ``his favourite type of bread'' is the direct object of the verb ``sold.'' After many years, she returned to her homeland. Here the possessive adjective ``her'' modifies the noun ``homeland'' and the noun phrase ``her homeland'' is the object of the preposition ``to.'' Note also that the form ``hers'' is not used to modify nouns or noun phrases. We have lost our way in this wood. In this sentence, the possessive adjective ``our'' modifies ``way'' and the noun phrase ``our way'' is the direct object of the compound verb ``have lost''. Note that the possessive pronoun form ``ours'' is not used to modify nouns or noun phrases. In many fairy tales, children are neglected by their parents. Here the possessive adjective ``their'' modifies ``parents'' and the noun phrase ``their parents'' is the object of the preposition ``by.'' Note that the possessive pronoun form ``theirs'' is not used to modify nouns or noun phrases. The cat chased its ball down the stairs and into the backyard. In this sentence, the possessive adjective ``its'' modifies ``ball'' and the noun phrase ``its ball'' is the object of the verb ``chased.'' Note that ``its'' is the possessive adjective and ``it's'' is a contraction for ``it is.''

Demonstrative Adjectives
The demonstrative adjectives ``this,'' ``these,'' ``that,'' ``those,'' and ``what'' are identical to the demonstrative pronouns, but are used as adjectives to modify nouns or noun phrases, as in the following sentences: When the librarian tripped over that cord, she dropped a pile of books. In this sentence, the demonstrative adjective ``that'' modifies the noun ``cord'' and the noun phrase ``that cord'' is the object of the preposition ``over.'' This apartment needs to be fumigated. Here ``this'' modifies ``apartment'' and the noun phrase ``this apartment'' is the subject of the sentence. Even though my friend preferred those plates, I bought these. In the subordinate clause, ``those'' modifies ``plates'' and the noun phrase ``those plates'' is the object of the verb ``preferred.'' In the independent clause, ``these'' is the direct object of the verb ``bought.'' Note that the relationship between a demonstrative adjective and a demonstrative pronoun is similar to the relationship between a possessive adjective and a possessive pronoun, or to that between a interrogative adjective and an interrogative pronoun.

Interrogative Adjectives
An interrogative adjective (``which'' or ``what'') is like an interrogative pronoun, except that it modifies a noun or noun phrase rather than standing on its own (see also demonstrative adjectives and possessive adjectives): Which plants should be watered twice a week? Like other adjectives, ``which'' can be used to modify a noun or a noun phrase. In this example, ``which'' modifies ``plants'' and the noun phrase ``which paints'' is the subject of the compound verb ``should be watered'': What book are you reading? In this sentence, ``what'' modifies ``book'' and the noun phrase ``what book'' is the direct object of the compound verb ``are reading.''

Indefinite Adjectives
An indefinite adjective is similar to an indefinite pronoun, except that it modifies a noun, pronoun, or noun phrase, as in the following sentences: Many people believe that corporations are under-taxed. The indefinite adjective ``many'' modifies the noun ``people'' and the noun phrase ``many people'' is the subject of the sentence. I will send you any mail that arrives after you have moved to Sudbury.

The indefinite adjective ``any'' modifies the noun ``mail'' and the noun phrase ``any mail'' is the direct object of the compound verb ``will send.'' They found a few goldfish floating belly up in the swan pound. In this example the indefinite adjective modifies the noun ``goldfish'' and the noun phrase is the direct object of the verb ``found'': The title of Kelly's favourite game is ``All dogs go to heaven.'' Here the indefinite pronoun ``all'' modifies ``dogs'' and the full title is a subject complement.

get you closer to sounding like a native English speaker and equip you with a global accent -- and you will speak not American or British English, but correct English. This is the first step to learn any other accent, be it American or British or Australian. Lisa Mojsin, head trainer, director and founder of the Accurate English Training Company in Los Angeles, offers these tips to help 'neutralise' your accent or rather do away with the local twang, as you speak. i. Observe the mouth movements of those who speak English well and try to imitate them. When you are watching television, observe the mouth movements of the speakers. Repeat what they are saying, while imitating the intonation and rhythm of their speech. ii. Until you learn the correct intonation and rhythm of English, slow your speech down. If you speak too quickly, and with the wrong intonation and rhythm, native speakers will have a hard time understanding you. Don't worry about your listener getting impatient with your slow speech -- it is more important that everything you say be understood. iii. Listen to the 'music' of English. Do not use the 'music' of your native language when you speak English. Each language has its own way of 'singing'. iv. Use the dictionary. Try and familiarise yourself with the phonetic symbols of your dictionary. Look up the correct pronunciation of words that are hard for you to say. v. Make a list of frequently used words that you find difficult to pronounce and ask someone who speaks the language well to pronounce them for you. Record these words, listen to them and practice saying them. Listen and read at the same time. vi. Buy books on tape. Record yourself reading some sections of the book. Compare the sound of your English with that of the person reading the book on the tape. vii. Pronounce the ending of each word. Pay special attention to 'S' and 'ED' endings. This will help you strengthen the mouth muscles that you use when you speak English. viii. Read aloud in English for 15-20 minutes every day. Research has shown it takes about three months of daily practice to develop strong mouth muscles for speaking a new language. ix. Record your own voice and listen for pronunciation mistakes. Many people hate to hear the sound of their voice and avoid listening to themselves speak. However, this is a very important exercise because doing it will help you become conscious of the mistakes you are making.

x. Be patient. You can change the way you speak but it won't happen overnight. People often expect instant results and give up too soon. You can change the way you sound if you are willing to put some effort into it. Quick tips Various versions of the English language exist. Begin by identifying the category you fall into and start by improving the clarity of your speech. ~ Focus on removing the mother tongue influence and the 'Indianisms' that creep into your English conversations. ~ Watch the English news on television channels like Star World, CNN, BBC and English movies on Star Movies and HBO. ~ Listen to and sing English songs. We'd recommend Westlife, Robbie Williams [Images], Abba, Skeeter Davis and Connie Francis among others. Books to help you improve your English

Essential English Grammar by Murphy (Cambridge) Spoken English by R K Bansal and J B Harrison Pronounce It Perfectly In English (book and three audio cassettes) by Jean Yates, Barrons Educational Series English Pronunciation For International Students by Paulette Wainless Dale, Lillian Poms

Part I: Want to 'neutralise' your accent? DON'T MISS!

Party networking etiquette Want to improve your communication skills? 6 'soft skills' for career success Formal dining dos and don'ts

Anita D'Souza is an MBA in Human Resources from the Welingkar's Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai University. She has 10 years of work experience and is currently a Corporate Trainer and Instructional Designer with Godrej [Get Quote] Lawkim ITES division. Illustration: Uttam Ghosh