Introduction to Business English/Practice

Examples of business lettersEdit

Useful phrases and vocabulary for writing business letters.
Salutation • Dear Mr. Brown

• Dear Ms. White
• Dear Sir
• Dear Madam
• Dear Sir or Madam
• Ladies and Gentlemen

Starting • We are writing
- to inform you that ...
- to confirm ...
- to request ...
- to enquire about ...

• I am contacting you for the following reason...
• I recently read/heard about ..... and would like to know ....
• Having seen your advertisement in ..., I would like to ...
• I would be interested in (obtaining / receiving) ...
• I received your address from ----- and would like to ...

Referring to previous contact • Thank you for your letter of March 15.

• Thank you for contacting us.
• In reply to your request, ...
• Thank you for your letter regarding ...
• With reference to our telephone conversation yesterday...
• Further to our meeting last week ...
• It was a pleasure meeting you in London last month.
• I enjoyed having lunch with you last week in Tokyo.
• I would just like to confirm the main points we discussed on Tuesday.

Making a request • We would appreciate it if you would ...

• I would be grateful if you could ...
• Could you please send me ...
• Could you possibly tell us / let us have ...
• In addition, I would like to receive ...
• It would be helpful if you could send us ...
• I am interested in (obtaining / receiving) ...
• I would appreciate your immediate attention to this matter.
• Please let me know what action you propose to take.

Offering help • Would you like us to ...?

• We would be happy to ...
• We are quite willing to ...
• Our company would be pleased to ...

Giving good news • We are pleased to announce that ...

• I am delighted to inform you that ...
• You will be pleased to learn that ...

Giving bad news • We regret to inform you that ...

• I'm afraid it would not be possible to ...
• Unfortunately we cannot / we are unable to ...
• After careful consideration we have decided (not) to ...

Complaining • I am writing to express my dissatisfaction with ...

• I am writing to complain about ...
• Please note that the goods we ordered on ( date ) have not yet arrived.
• We regret to inform you that our order n° ----- is now considerably overdue.
• I would like to query the transport charges which seem unusually high.

Sample Business Letter About ShipmentEdit

Company, Inc.
123 Alphabet Drive
Los Angeles, California 90002

15 October 2012

Mr. John Doe
Customer Service Representative
Widgets Galore, Inc.
987 Widget Street
Miami, Florida 33111

Dear Mr/Mrs

Thank you for your order of 10th of July. We would like to tell you that goods were planned to be shipped on 25 of July. Unfortunately, we cannot ship the goods in specified time as you have failed to open a Letter of Credit by 15lh of July.

We would like to point out that the goods are at the port now. We are afraid that we are not in a position to ship the goods now as the letter of Credit has not been opened. Moreover, as you have failed to comply with the terms within specified time, we have no alternative but to cancel the shipment of the goods.

We would also like to remind you that you will have to compensate for storage expenses, which we suffered. However, as you are our regular customers we hope for your understanding and further cooperation.


Sam Brown
Vice President of Company, Inc.

Sample Business Letter About Delay in DeliveryEdit

Company, Inc.
123 Alphabet Drive
Los Angeles, California 90002
15 November 2012

Ms. Susan Smith
Supervisor of Product Development
Pet Supply Provider, Inc.
472 Canine Road
Los Angeles, California 90002

Dear Ms/Mr:

We are referring to your order № 3609 of the 10th of April. According to the terms of your contract, we should deliver your goods within 15 days. We regret to inform you that we will not be in a position to deliver the goods due to the strike of transport workers. We want to advise you that strike of transport workers has caused delay in the dispatch of a number of our export orders.

We are forced to tell you that your order is also temporarily delayed. But we draw your attention to the fact that the goods are now in Odessa awaiting shipment and will be dispatched at the short notice. Moreover, we would like to advise you that we will do our best to bring the goods to the docks and load them on the next ship, sailing on 10th of June.

Please, accept our apologies for delay as it happened beyond our control. We hope for your understanding and further cooperation with us.

Yours faithfully,

Sam Brown
Vice President of Company, Inc.

Sample Business Letter About Customs FormalitiesEdit

Tariff Preference Team Local Compliance
Peter Bennett House Redvers Close
LS16 6RQ
United Kingdom

04119 Kyiv
Phone +44 (0)3000 528042
8.30am to 5.00 pm Monday to Friday
Fax +44 (0)3000 527842
Date 08 May 2013
Our ref TUA/JSCS/1

Generalised System of Preferences (GSP)

I enclose a copy of GSP Forms A numbered GB13100A 1338/3, GB13100A 713/3 and GB13100A 405/2 issued by JSC "Stakhanov Ferroalloy Plant" in respect of consignments of ferro silicon. In accordance with EC Regulation 2454/93 as amended by EC Regulation 1063/2010 please confirm whether the goods, which fall under Harmonised System headings 7202 qualify for the preference claimed.

I would be grateful if you could provide details of how the origin rule (Manufacture from materials of any heading, except that of the product) has been met. These goods have been selected for verification because we are seeking confirmation that the requirements of the origin rule conditions have been satisfied and that the GSP Forms A are authentic. The EC legislation establishes that the importer can only be held responsible for the import duties which have not been recovered as a result of the presentation of a certificate of origin which appears to be invalid, where it can be established that the issuance of the certificate was based on incorrect information supplied by the exporter. The European Court of Justice has decided that the burden of proof lies with the Customs authorities of the EC Member States. We therefore request you to provide us with the following additional information.

Should the certificate(s) covered by this request have been issued for products not meeting the requirements for being considered as originating in the Ukraine or should the competent authorities of your country be unable to confirm that originating status, would you please indicate in your reply:

1. Whether you consider the issue of the incorrect certificate to be the result of an incorrect account of the facts provided by the exporter.

2. Whether the authorities of your country competent for verifying the certificate were given access by the exporter to the documents and information necessary for the post clearance verification of the originating status of the products.

Please note that failure to provide a satisfactory reply within 10 months of the date of this letter could result in the claim to preference being refused.

Would you please be so kind as to acknowledge receipt of this letter.

Yours faithfully
Mrs K Warner

Useful tasks for developing your skills in business correspondenceEdit

1.Write a letter of 120-140 words to Messers. Green and Co concerning Order NW1714:

- Advising them that you have not received goods against order NW1714
- Noting that you tried to contact Sales Manager of the company regarding this matter but failed
- Informing that you suffer heavy losses
- Asking them to clear up the matter and to solve the problem in an amicable way or you will refer your claim to arbitration

2.Write a reply of 120-140 words to your foreign customers regarding their claim for damage to goods shipped be s.s. “Dnipro”.

- Emphasizing that you do not consider yourself responsible for the damage to the goods.
- Explaining your reasons; writing details about packing, etc.
- Assuming that the goods were damaged during transportation.
- Suggesting them to refer their claim to Shipping and Insurance Companies.

3.Write a letter of apology 120-140 words to the Japanese firm for the delay caused by strike:

- informing them that the recent strike of transport workers has caused delay in the dispatch of a number of your export orders.
- regretting that their order is also temporarily held up.
- explaining that the goods are now in Odessa awaiting shipment.
- informing them that you are making all arrangements to transport the goods to the docks and load them on the next ship, sailing on 10th June

Exercises for beginnersEdit


Memorize the following definitions.

Promotion – marketing activity intended to increase demand and sales of products.

Display – an arrangement of merchandise for the purpose of showing it to customers and stimulating sales.

Concentrated market – situation in which there are very few customers for the product.

Industrial goods – machinery, materials, and other goods or component parts for use or consumption by other industries or firms.

Market share – the portion of the total market that is supplied by a particular company.

Brand – the identity of a product or service.

Logo – a sign or symbol used as a trademark to represent a company or a brand.

Trademark – a special, registered picture or symbol that is associated with a particular brand or product.

1. Find synonyms to the following words and expressions:Edit

demonstration; salesperson; to attempt; logo; item; to acquire; tactics; benefits; bonus; to seek; to stimulate; shopper; competitor; segment; producer; trademark; to buy; to develop; particular product; booklet; to bring customer into the shop; promotional tool; to include; to protect from.

2. Match the words and expressions to their definitions.Edit

f| a) a certificate which allows a a customer to purchase a product at a low price
a| b) sense of belonging and trusting a particular brand
k| c) a reduction in the price, usually for the purpose of increasing sales
g| d) a small amount of product distributed to potential customers at no charge
c| e) the cost, price, or value of one individual item
h| f) a plan of action to enable a firm to complete
l| g) convincing or encouraging a customer to buy a product
d| h) a bonus or additional item which a customer receives at no extra cost when he purchases a certain item
j| i) market situation in which all the customers have made their purchases and there are no new customers to be found
b| j) a type of retail store where the customers select their merchandise without the help of sales staff
i| k) a brochure, folded paper or small book which gives information about a product
e| l) another company which makes a similar product

3. Select the answer which best completes the meaning of the sentence. There could be more than one.Edit

1. Promotion attempts to increase demand for the product. Effective promotion therefore _____.

a) increases sales

b) decreases supply

c) aims at a mass audience

d) decreases prices

2. In a self-service store the customer usually selects merchandise personally and then brings it to a cashier to pay for it. Self-service stores _____.

a) could probably increase sales if they used personal selling

b) can stimulate sales by the proper use of displays and other sales promotion devices.

c) cannot use advertising effectively

d) usually sell only convenience items

3. Sales promotion activities include those which provide information to customers and those which stimulate them to purchase particular products. Customers receive information about products through _____.

a) coupons

b) pamphlets

c) premiums

d) discounts

4. A customer can be stimulated to make a purchase through _____.

a) a free sample

b) an attractive and convenient display

c) a reduced price

d) a commission

5. Personal selling refers to a sales representative who persuades a customer to buy a product. It is very effective when _____.

a) the product must be custom designed

b) the number of customers is small and the sales staff know who they are

c) the product needs to be demonstrated to the customer

d) there is a total program of promotion

6. A commission refers to a fee which the salesperson receives for making a sale. A commission is usually based on a certain percentage of the sales price. Sales staff probably_____.

a) prefer to sell expensive items since their commission will be greater

b) prefer to sell convenience items since customers purchase them frequently

c) can afford to advertise on television to demonstrate their product

d) are unable to negotiate the price of the product

7. Increasing sales means getting more customers for the product. One way of getting more customers to buy the product is finding new markets. A method of expanding the market might be _____.

a) to sell the product in other geographical areas

b) to sell the product to people who do not now purchase your product or a similar product

c) advertising to tell more people about the product

d) to attract customers from the competition

8. To get more customers for the product if they switch from a competing brand to the other requires _____.

a) only getting more products on the shelves at the store

b) giving more information about your product

c) saturating the market

d) designing a total programme according to the product and the market

9. The promotional activities of a company can best be carried out if_____.

a) complete advertising programme is designed

b) dealers are properly trained

c) demand for the product is increasing

d) it is considered as part of the total marketing process

10. Branding is useful in helping the consumers _____.

a) search for goods

b) add value to the product

c) protect them from being deceived and confused about the origin of a goods

d) create a successful brand image

4. Complete the following sentences with the given words and expressions.Edit


concentrated market
market share

free samples
target market


1. There is a promotion for high voltage transformers. Usually only electric companies purchase them.<prmotion/>

2. Distributing fre_____ is sometimes an effective way to stimulate sale of new products.<

3. This _____ will describe the features and characteristics of this stereo system.

4. This 1995 Volkswagen was used as a _____ on a new Toyota.

5. Our advertising has been aimed at that _____ of the population between the ages of 20 and 35.

6. Market research shows that _____ for small cars will continue to grow.

7. We decided that we needed to change our _____ from the over 45s to the 35-45s.

8. The Nike swoosh is an instantly recognizable _____.

9. America Online plans to launch a _____ on Thursday that will let its members download full-feature films.

10. Eastman Kodak is a premier _____ in traditional and digital imaging.

11. Our objective is to increase our European _____ by 5% this year.

12. Our _____ is well-known in most countries in the region.

5. Match the following definitions to the words in the boxEdit

1. logo
2. mark

3. patent
4. brand

5. brand name
6. brand loyalty

7. copyright
8. trademark

9. brand image
10. own brand

a) sign put on goods

b) buying one and the same brand

c) the anonymous brand used in TV commercials to compare with that in advertisements

d) group of products sold by the same firm

e) symbol, design, or special way of writing used by a company as a mark on its products, notepaper, advertisements

f) name of a store which is used on products specially packed for that store

g) particular name or symbol that a manufacturer always uses on a product to distinguish it from others, usually registered and protected by law

h) idea of a product which is associated with the brand name

i) legal right of a writer to publish his own work and not to have it copied

j) official document showing that a person has the exclusive right to make and sell an invention

6. Match the words to make collocations and make your own sentences with them.Edit

1. free
2. brand
3. loss
4. market
5. off-even
6. public
7. concentrated
8. stimulation
9. price-conscious
10. psychological
11. sales
12. display

b) relations
c) pricing
d) promotion
i) sample
f) market
g) representative
h) effect
i) switcher
j) share
k) area
l) shopper

7. Rewrite the following sentences. Replace the underlined words and expressions with the words and expressions of the same meaning.Edit

1. From economic theory it is know that price should be determined by the quantity available for sale and the desire for the product on the part of customers.
2. Personal selling is effective when there are just certain purchasers for the product.
3. The salesperson is necessary when there is discussion about the price.
4. Here is some information about the type of customers who purchase this product.
5. If you purchase this brand of toothpaste, you will receive a toothbrush as a free gift.
6. The customer decided to purchase this product because it was easy to see and reach.
7. This certificate, which you can cut out of the magazine, allows you to purchase the product at a reduced price.
8. The purchase of a new car sometimes involves the exchange of an old model.

8. Complete the following word-combinations with prepositions and make your own sentences with them.Edit

1. ___ the basis ___ a display
2. discounts ___ some items
3. ___ various ways
4. $99.95 ___ the item
5. to produce a psychological effect ___ the buyer
6. negotiation ___ price
7. other products ___ sale
8. to appeal ___ the shopper
9. distribution ___ free samples
10. demand ___ a product

11. to purchase ___ a reduced price
12. concentrated market ___ a product
13. apart ___ the brand name
14. to be sold ___ the brand name
15. to try ___ number ___ promotional strategies
16. to originate___ the same group
17. not ___ general consumption
18. a complement ___ advertising
19. to apply ___ all kinds ___ products
20. to be a great attribute ___ a company

9. Select the answer which best completes the meaning of the sentence.Edit

1. Younger customers regularly _____ from one brand to another.

a) go

b) jump

c) switch

2. All over the world there are red and white paper cups bearing the company _____.

a) logo

b) mark

c) brand

3. There was a _____ of the latest research at the trade fair in London.

a) exhibition

b) show

c) display

4. There has been a lot of advanced _____ for their new product.

a) publicity

b) commercial

c) popularity

5. lf the product must be individually _____ for the purchaser, the salesperson must be able to sell exactly what the customer needs.

a) constructed

b) designed

c) planned

6. In making plans for sales promotion, a company must consider the _____.

a) competition

b) market share

c) demand

7. A salesperson is able to do some _____ about the price.

a) negotiation

b) discussion

c) arguments

8. The market for wrist watches is almost completely _____, but we expect to increase our sales of pocket calculators.

a) concentrated

b) saturated

c) failed

9. Displays are a method of stimulating sales in _____ stores.

a) retail

b) discount

c) self-service

10. _____ can produce a favourable psychological effect on the buyer.

a) Off-even pricing

b) Loss leader item

c) Price reductions

11. Coupons and store demonstrations are an example of _____.

a) personal selling

b) sales promotion

c) promotional tool

12. While a special magazine may be preferred for promoting expensive camera equipment, personal selling may be the best way to market _____ goods to other organizations.

a) consumer

b) industrial

c) shopping

10. Complete the following table with appropriate forms of the words.Edit

Noun Adjective Verb
recognition recognizable recognize
---------- register
loyalty ----------
geographic ----------

Business English For NegotiationsEdit

Negotiation is the process of two individuals or groups reaching joint agreement about differing needs or ideas. Negotiation applies knowledge from the fields of communications, sales, marketing, psychology, sociology, politics, and conflict resolution. Negotiations become an important aspect of business communication when resolving issues. Business negotiations can range from a worker's request for higher pay to discussions of an international business deal. Communication is one of the most important factors for success in business. We need to follow some special codes in business communication, like mutual respect, avoiding an aggressive tone, and acknowledgements.[1]

In this lesson we will learn about business English while you are negotiating over something with the other party.

1.Listen carefully and repeat following phrases.

Business Negotiations

a).I'd like to hear more about how you charge for your service. Can you bring down the rates?
b). Mr. Smith, can you please give me your best offer?
c). It actually works out to be more expensive.
d).I don't think we can afford it

a).I have to admit this is really disappointing.
b).I will talk to the manager again about it Richard, but 10% is standard.
c).That's cutting it rather thin
d).I don't want to disappoint you later.
e). That sounds reasonable


  1. [1] Negotiation in business.