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Mar 19 2015

Business English Houston

Business English

Describing Graphs and Charts   Lesson One


Charts and Graphs

Sometimes you need to give a presentation which includes a graph or chart.   It’s good to know which terms to use.  There is vocabulary to talk about activities that are going up, going down and staying the same.

In this business English lesson, we will look at vocabulary that can be used in presentations to describe activities on a chart or graph that are “going up”.

In Lesson 2, we’ll study vocabulary to describe something that is “going down” and in Lesson 3, we’ll look at vocabulary to use when something is “the same”.

When Activities on a Chart or Graph are going up

Used as a noun: Expansion

We’ve experienced significant expansion in sales since January.

Used as a verb: Expand

Sales have expanded significantly since January.

Used as a noun: Growth

You can see on this chart that growth has been slow since 2011.

Used as a verb: Grow

Between September and October, sales grew by 10%.

Used as a noun: Improvement

There has been a small improvement in revenue so far this year.

Used as a verb: Improve

Charts and Graphs 2

Revenue from local orders has improved over the last three months.

Used as a noun: Increase

There has been a big increase in our production costs.

Used as a verb: Increase

Production costs increased by 13% last year.

Used as a noun: Recovery (increases following decreases)

Marathon Oil had a big recovery after the difficult year in 2014..

Used as a verb: Recover (an increase that comes after a decrease)

Sales recovered at the end of December.

Used as a noun: Rise 

President Chu is glad to see a rise in new customers in the first quarter of this year.

Used as a verb: Rise

The number of new customers has risen in the first quarter of this year.

Other nouns: Upward trend  (a slow increase)

This chart indicates an upward trend in the number of barrels produced in Angola last month.

business graphs and charts

Other verbs:

Soar  (a big increase)

Prices of crude oil soared in the first half of 2012.


The rate of production of natural gas strengthened last month.


Would you like to study business English with a private tutor?  Give us a call here in Houston, TX at Worldwide English at (713) 993-6511.  Our tutors come to your home or office to teach you or your spouse.  We also offer SKYPE lessons in general and business English.  http://englishlessons-houston.com

Jun 18 2014

Business English Lessons-Houston: Business E-mails

Hi Students!  In this lesson of American business English, we will be studying “explaining, inviting, recommending and responding.”  Remember it’s fine to use these examples in written or spoken English, for example if you are in a meeting.

Are there other phrases you can use?  Of course, but these are some of the most common ones.

Business English e-mails
When you want to explain plans and arrangements, you can write or say:
We are (I am) planning to……..
I am planning to send you the final itinerary this afternoon.

The idea is to……….

The idea is to have a meeting by phone and then set up a video conference.

We’re going (I’m going) to arrange…..

I’m going to arrange to have someone pick you up at the airport.

We’re going to arrange a meeting next month in Tokyo.

You’ll have the chance to…..

You’ll have the chance to review the documents and ask questions.

Our intention is to…..

Our intention is to review the contract this week and get back to you by Friday.

My intention is to finish the project and give it to you tomorrow.

When you want to invite someone, you can write or say:
We’d like to (I’d like to) invite you to……

I’d like to invite you to visit our factory so that I can give you a tour.

We’d like to invite you to lunch on Friday to further discuss our options.

You’re welcome to…..

You’re welcome to stop by our office and look at the plans for the new platform.

You’re welcome to ask any questions at the end of the presentation today.

We’d be delighted (I would be delighted) …….

I’d be delighted if you could join us this Thursday on our video seminar to look at the new offshore equipment we have developed.

We’d be delighted if you could come to Los Angeles for the oil and gas conference next month.

 When you want to make a recommendation, you can write or say:E-mails in English
We recommend that (I recommend that) you……

I recommend that you start negotiations immediately.

We recommend that the shipment be delayed a few days.

Note:  If you just say or write,

I recommend…….    (not using the word “that”)   You are going to follow with a verb ending in –ing.

I recommend leaving for London on Friday.

We recommend speaking to your colleagues about this situation.

It would be a good idea to……

It would be a good idea to inform your manager about the delay.

Or…..I believe it would be a good idea to contact the IT department about the software issues.

Verb with –ing ………is highly recommended

Contacting the home office in Madrid about this issue is highly recommended.

Reminding your co-worker that he needs to finish review the data is highly recommended.

 recommendation 2When you want to respond, you can write or say:
Thank you.  That sounds really interesting.

That would be great.

That makes sense.

Good idea!

I’d like to take you up on that.  (responding to an invitation)

That’s just what I’m looking for.  Thanks.

To say no to an invitation:

I’m sorry I can’t accept at this time.

I’d like to say yes, but that’s just not possible at this time.

That’s not really what I’m looking for.

Thanks, but I’m not interested right now.

I don’t believe I’ll take you up on that.


That’s our lesson on business e-mails and spoken business English!  If you come to Houston, Texas in the USA and you need private English lessons, contact Worldwide English at http://englishlessons-houston.com  or call 713-993-6511.  We also offer SKYPE lessons.

Business English Lessons

Jun 11 2014

Business English: Making Business Phone Calls


Business English Lessons 2– Speaking on the Phone in English

Making a Business Follow-up Call and Responding to a Follow-up Call in Business English

phone 2


Here in Houston, Texas in the USA, we offer private English lessons.

Ready to make a business phone call in English?  If you are thinking of using the phone, it’s best to be prepared!  Make notes that you can ready.


What do you say if you don’t understand the person you are talking to? Let’s start with a few basics.

“Excuse me, could you say that again more………loudly/slowly/clearly?”

When you think you know what the speaker is saying, check to make sure:

“Let me make sure I understand.  You said …………..  Is that correct?”

Making a follow-up call:

“Hello ……………..  This is …………….

I’m calling about ……………………….. (the email I sent you, the letter I mailed you, the meeting last week)

regarding………………………. (the purchase, the contract, your questions, your order, your inquiry).

I wanted to see if you…………….. (are still interested, have had the time to look over the order, have any further questions, can meet for lunch next week, have made a decision about…..)

Receiving a follow-up call: phone 3


Thank you for responding so quickly,

I appreciate your getting back to me.

Thank you for returning my call.

I wanted to speak to you about……… (the terms of our agreement/your order/the contract/the questions you had)

Arranging to meet:


I suggest that we meet in person to discuss this further.  Are you available this week/next week/tomorrow afternoon?

When would you like to meet?

I’m available to meet with you…..next Thursday/this afternoon at 4:00/ this Friday morning.

(Note:  In American English, this Friday morning means Friday of this week; next Friday morning means Friday of next week)

I’ll send you an e-mail to confirm ……our meeting/what we have agreed upon/the terms of your order.

phone 1Ending the call:


It was nice speaking to you.  I look forward to ……meeting you/doing business with you again/speaking to you in the future.

See you…….on Thursday/next month in Madrid/at the next meeting.

Please call me again if you need anything further.phone 6

That’s our lesson on making and receiving follow-up calls!  If you come to Houston, Texas in the USA and you need private English lessons, contact Worldwide English at http://englishlessons-houston.com  or call 713-993-6511.

Jun 08 2014

American Business English Lessons 1 – Introductions and Greetings


Business English Lessons 1– Introductions and Greetings in Business English  greetings and introductions 1


Here in Houston, Texas in the USA, we offer private English lessons.

Hi Students!  Here are some key expressions to use if you are meeting someone for the first time and you are speaking American English.

In this lesson, we’ll discuss meeting someone for the first time and also greeting your colleagues that you already know, that you see every day. 

 In general, American business people are more informal. 

If you are meeting someone for the first time who holds a position higher than yours, use a formal greeting. 

If you are meeting a colleague, someone who is a co-worker or in the same position as yours, it’s fine to use an informal greeting.

 If you have any questions about these expressions, you can send me an e-mail at Worldwide English at julie@english-lessonshouston.com 

Greetings and Introductions 1

What is the difference between Mr., Mrs., Ms. and Miss?

Mr. (Mister) – A married or single man

Mrs. (pronounced “misses”) – A married, divorced or widowed woman (widowed means that her husband died)

Miss -A young woman who has never been married.

Ms.  (pronounced “mizz”) – This is fine for all women over 20 when you don’t know if they are married or not.


  1. Americans greet each other with a handshake.  This is true for men greeting women, women greeting women, or women greeting men.  Sometimes, if we have a long conversation, we will shake hands again when we are saying goodbye. 
  2. Make sure that you use a firm handshake.  If your handshake is weak, American business people may feel that you are not a strong person. 
  3. When shaking hands, look the person in the eye.  If you look away when you are introducing yourself or shaking hands, American business people will feel that you are hiding something or that you are not friendly. 
  4. Smile, shake hands and introduce yourself!  shake hands 4


Introducing yourself:

  • Formal – Hello, my name is __________________.  It’s very nice to meet you.
  • Informal – Hi, my name’s __________________.  Nice to meet you.
  • I don’t think we’ve (we have) met.  I’m ______________________. 

Introducing other people:

  • Formal – Mr./Mrs./Ms._________________, may I introduce my __________, Mr./Mrs./Ms.____________.
  • Informal - This is……. (my friend _______, my colleague __________________, my wife _____________).
  • I’d like you to meet my (colleague, friend, co-worker) _________________________.

business-people-shaking-hands 2

Exchanging greetings:

  • Formal – I’m very pleased to meet you.
  • I’m delighted to meet you
  • I’m very happy to make your acquaintance.
  • Informal – Nice to meet you.  (Very nice to meet you.)
  • Good to meet you.
  • Someone you have spoken with or written to but never met – It’s great to finally meet you.

Saying something about your job in the company:

  • Formal – I’m in charge of ________________.
  • I’m responsible for ____________________.
  • My job involves _______________________.
  • Informal- I handle__________________.
  • I oversee _____________________.
  • I am a/an __________________ here at company name.

GREETINGS   shake hands 6

When American business people greet you and ask how you are, they really don’t want a long answer.  It’s just a way of saying hello and after that, they move on. 

Greeting your colleagues and bosses every day at work:

Formal – Good morning, afternoon Mr. /Mrs. /Ms. ______________. 

Formal answer:  I’m just fine, thank you, and you?  Or “Very well, thank you, and you?”

Informal – Hi __________________, how’s it going?  (This means, “How are you?”)

Answer:  “Great, thanks.  How about you?”

Also “How’s it hangin’?” (How are you?)

 Answer:  “Good, thanks.”

Hi _______________, what’s up?  (This means, “What are you doing?”)

Answer:  “Not much, what’s up with you?” is the most common answer, or “Just working on my project” or “Just going out for lunch” or say what it is that you are doing at that moment.  Use the –ing form of the verb. 

“What’s new?”

 Answer:  “Oh, nothing much, how about you?”

Hey, _________________.  (This means, “Hi ____________” and you can just answer, “Hi”.)

That’s our lesson on greetings and introductions!  If you come to Houston, Texas in the USA and you need private English lessons, contact Worldwide English at http://englishlessons-houston.com  or call 713-993-6511. 



Feb 26 2014

English Lessons Houston Phrasal Verbs 5 for Business English

Phrasal Verbs 5, More Business English Phrasal Verbs

Welcome to the world of English phrasal verbs!  There are lots of them.  In these English lessons, we are going to be looking at phrasal verbs used in Business English.  Some of these phrases are also idioms.   When you become accustomed to using English phrasal verbs, they will be easy for you.  So, let’s get started!

  • Call it a day – to stop doing something

When I finish this report, I’m going to call it a day.

  • Cough up – to pay money

My boss is going to have to cough up and buy a new computer.  The old one is broken.

  • Put someone’s cards on the table – to tell all the facts, to tell the truth  Phrasal Verb Business 4

The management at Petrobras finally put their cards on the table and told us they were going to use another vendor.

  • Put two and two together – to come to understand something

This morning my colleague was very upset and after lunch, I saw him carry his computer out to his car.  I put two and two together and decided that he lost his job.

  • Weather the storm – to go through a difficult time or period

Phrasal Verb Business 1In 2010, Toyota lost a lot of money.  But they weathered the storm and last year they did very well.

  • Turn over a new leaf – to make a big change

After a year of big software problems, our company is going to turn over a new leaf and hire a new group of IT engineers.




  • To talk turkey – to talk openly and directly

The meeting went very well.  The managers were willing to talk turkey and we got a lot done. 

Phrasal Verb Business 2

  • Throw in the towel – to quit something because it’s too difficult

We’ve been trying to fix the problems with this old software.  But I think it’s better to just throw in the towel and start over on a new program.


  • Smell a rat – to believe that something is not right, to be suspicious of something    Phrasal Verb Business 3

When the group from another company visited our warehouse, everyone smelled a rat and decided that our company was being sold. 




Worldwide English teaches private lessons to expats and their spouses in their home or office.  For more information visit http://www.englishlessons-houston.com/  or write tojulie@englishlessons-houston.comor call (713) 993-6511. 

Feb 23 2014

English Lessons Houston Part 4 “Business Phrasal Verbs”

English Lessons Houston, Business Phrasal Verbs 4

business phrasal verbs 3

Hi Students!  Welcome to Part 4 of English lessons on Phrasal Verbs.  In this English lesson, we will be studying phrasal verbs that are used in the American business culture.



Power ahead:  To do what needs to be done to get something done.

  • The Chinese government has powered ahead and the economy has grown stronger.
  • Come on!  Let’s power ahead and get this project finished on time.

Break even:  When a company breaks even, they make enough money to pay their bills, but not enough money to make a profit.

  • In 2012, my first year in business, I broke even.  But last year, I made a good profit.  business phrasal verb 4

Get the ball rolling:  To get started.

  • It’s time to start the meeting.  Mr. Yu will get the ball rolling and give us an update. 

Turn around:  When there is a change in business, for example a business begins to make a profit.

  • Last year our company lost money, but this year I think we can turn it around and make a profit.

Join forces:  To work together to get something done.

  • Last week, the software experts and the engineers joined forces to complete the project on time.

Table a discussion or project.  To stop talking about or stop working on something temporarily.

  • My manager agreed to table the discussion about the new budget and talk about it again next month.

phrasal verbs business 1  Scale down:  To slow down or to make smaller.

  • When BP realized that the reservoir project would be very expensive, they decided to scale it down and make it smaller.

Take action:  To do something suddenly.

  • When I realized that the computer system wasn’t working, I took action and called the IT department.

Deal with:  To do business with someone, or to do something about a situation.

  • Davi was coming in late every morning and our supervisor finally dealt with it and told him to be on time or find another job.
  • CNPC is dealing with many vendors in Sudan.

Get behind:  To support something, an idea or a thing.

I want to work for Tricon Energy.  That’s a company I can get behind!phrasal verb business 5

Stress out:  To feel nervous and anxious.

Last week, I had so many projects that I got stressed out and felt sick.

Look ahead:  To think about and plan for the future.  (also “plan ahead”)

The purchasing department is looking ahead and working on the budget for 2015. 


Worldwide English teaches private lessons to expats and their spouses in their home or office.  For more information visit http://www.englishlessons-houston.com/  or write to julie@englishlessons-houston.com 

Feb 19 2014

English Lessons Houston, Phrasal Verbs with “Down”

English Lessons Houston, Phrasal Verbs 3 “Down”

Hi Students!  Welcome to Part 3 of English lessons on Phrasal Verbs.  In this English lesson, we will be studying phrasal verbs that contain the word “down”.  There are lots of phrases with the word “down” and they have different meanings.

Let’s get started!  Here are a few definitions of the word “down”.    down 7

  1. The word “down” means toward something or in a lower place or position.
  2. It can also mean a lower level of intensity or volume.
  3. “Down” can also mean a feeling, like being unhappy or depressed.

Go/went down:  To move down or to go in a southern direction. (to go south)

  • Janie went down the ladder very slowly.
  • My family is going down to Texas to visit my grandmother.  We will drive from New York.
  • To go to the bank, you need to go down the block and turn right at the corner.

Sit down:  To move from standing to sitting  English lessons Houston down 1

  • My English teacher told me to sit down and be quiet!
  • We have been walking for more than one hour.  Let’s sit down and rest.

To come down in size, quantity, intensity or quality.

  • Your hip-hop music is too loud!   Please turn it down.
  • The quality of food at that restaurant has gone down.  It doesn’t taste good anymore.
  • You are very excited.  Please calm down.   (become more peaceful)

Back down/crack down:  When someone decides to stop what he or she is doing.  When someone forces someone else to stop what they are doing.

  • We were very angry at the man.  When we saw that he had a gun, we backed down and left quickly.
  • People are driving too fast.  Police are going to crack down and start giving more speeding tickets.

English lessons down 3

Something that falls to the ground.

There was a big fire at the theatre and it burned down.

I put a picture on my wall last night but this morning it fell down.

He couldn’t get into the house to help his mother, so he broke the door down.

An activity that has ended.

  • While I was driving to the supermarket, my car broke down.  (stopped running)
  • I was able to track down my old boyfriend on Facebook. (find)

To feel sad or unhappy 

  • Wow!  You look very down today.  Did something happen?
  • My English teacher isn’t going to teach me anymore.  I really feel down about it.    Turn 4

These are the basic phrasal verbs using the word “down”.  Practice using the phrasal verbs so they will become part of your English vocabulary!

Worldwide English teaches private lessons to expats and their spouses in their home or office.  For more information visit http://www.englishlessons-houston.com/  or write to julie@englishlessons-houston.com







Feb 09 2014

English Lessons Houston, Phrasal Verbs 2 “Turn”

English Lessons Houston, Phrasal Verbs 2 “Turn”

English lessons Houston turn 1Hi Students!  Let’s continue studying English phrasal verbs.  This lesson, we will be studying phrasal verbs that contain the word “turn”.  There are lots of phrases with the word turn and they mean different things.

Let’s get started!



  1. The word “turn” means to change direction or to go a different way.  Twist, spin, rotate are other words for this meaning of turn. Turn 3
  2. It can also mean to change into something.  To become is another word for this meaning of turn.
  3. It can mean that it’s time for you to do something.  Chance or opportunity are other words for this meaning of turn.

Turn up and turn down:  To make an electrical device go up or down.  Turn up is the opposite of turn down.

  • It’s cold in here!  Please turn up the heat.
  • That music is very loud.  Please turn it down.

Turn in:  When you complete a test, report, or project and you give it to the person who asked for it.

  • Last week, I turned my project in late to my boss.
  • I need to turn in my test by 10:00 a.m. this morning.

Turn 4

Turn in:  When you go to bed.

  • I’m very tired.  I think I’ll turn in now.

Turn into:  When something turns into something else, it becomes that thing.

  • Bruce Wayne turns into Batman when the commissioner needs help.
  • A small tree can turn into a large tree if it gets lots of water and sunshine.

Turn off and turn on: When you stop something or start something that is electrical, you turn it on or off.

  • Please turn off the light.  I’m trying to go to sleep.
  • Turn on the television.  I want to watch the soccer game.

Turn on and turn off:  When there is something or someone that you like or don’t like.

  • I like John, but men who smoke turn me off.
  • Maria is beautiful!  She really turns me on.

Turn 2

Turn out:  A situation or person that changes.

  • Jesus was going to buy a Ferrari, but it turned out to be too expensive.  He’s going to buy a Ford instead.
  • Petra was a little mean to me at first, but she turned out to be a nice girl.

Turn out:  A result or conclusion.

  • How did the pictures of your wedding turn out?
  • I cooked for two hours this afternoon, but the meal didn’t turn out well.  Everything was too dry!

Turn over:  To turn something so that the bottom is now on the top.

  • John turns over a lot when he is sleeping.
  • Turn the hamburgers over so that they can cook on the other side.

Turn over:  Something that changes.

  • There has been a big turnover at our company.  Many employees have left and there are new employees.
  • The factory has a low turnover.  People like to work here so they don’t leave.


These are the basic phrasal verbs using the word “turn”.  Practice using the phrasal verbs so they will become part of your English vocabulary!

Worldwide English in Houston, Texas teaches private lessons to expats and their spouses in their home or office.  For more information visit  http://www.englishlessons-houston.com/  or write to julie@englishlessons-houston.com



Jan 04 2014

English Lessons Houston – Phrasal Verbs 1 “Up”



English Lessons Houston – Phrasal Verbs 1

Welcome to the world of English phrasal Verbs!  There are lots of them.  In these English lessons, we are going to be looking at the most common ones.  When you become accustomed to using English phrasal verbs, they will be easy for you.  So, let’s get started!photo for up blog 2

An English Phrasal Verb is made up of a verb and a particle.


Inseparable phrasal verbs – the verb and the particle must stay together.

Examples of inseparable phrasal verbs:

  • Break down – stop working properly

My car is making a noise.  I think it’s going to break down soon.

  • Get together – meet

Let’s get together at Starbucks this afternoon at 2:00 p.m.

  • Run out of – not have enough

Can you lend me $25.00?  I have run out of money!

  • Look after – take care of

I need to look after my mother.  She is not feeling well.

Separable phrasal verbs – the verb and the particle can stay together or be separated.

Examples of separable phrasal verbs:

  • Call someone back – to return a phone call

I need to call Robert back.  He is waiting for my call.

  • Do something over – to do something again

I’ve made many mistakes on this essay.  I will have to do it over.

  • Fill something out – complete a form with information

phrasal verbs 1There are several pages for my visa application.  I need to fill them out.

  • Figure something out – to think about something until you understand it

Mathematics is difficult.  It takes me a long time to figure it out.


Let’s look at phrasal verbs using the word “up”.photo for up blog 3


  • Call someone up – to call someone on the phone

Tonight I’m going to call my father up and speak to him.

  • Back up – to go in reverse (backwards)

To drive away, I need to first back my car up

  • Catch up – to finish the work you have or to move faster to come up to someone or something.

I have so much work to do.  I’m not sure if I can catch up

My boyfriend is walking too fast.  It’s hard for me to catch up to him.

  • Wrap up – to finish

I am about to wrap my project up

  • Run up – to go high

My credit card balance is very high!  Last month I really ran it up!

  • Turn up – to appear

I wonder when my girlfriend will turn up.  She’s been gone all day!

  • Hurry up – to go faster

Hurry up!  The movie is about to start!

  • Look up – to find something

If you don’t know the meaning of these words, look them up in the dictionary.

  • Bring up – to talk about

When I was talking to my boss this morning, he brought up the fact that I have been late two times this week!

  • Take up – to spend time

I have more than 50 e-mails.  They are taking up too much of my time.

  • Grow up – children getting older

My sister is already 15.  She is growing up fast!

  • Keep up – to continue

I’m tired of running, but I want to run for 30 minutes so I am going to keep it up.


There are more English phrasal verbs using the word “up”.  Some of them are inseparable and some are separable.  A phrasal verb is conjugated just like a regular verb. 

Do you have any other questions about tipping in the USA?  Just send me an e-mail at julie@englishlessons-houston.com   If you are in Houston and need English lessons, give us a call or e-mail.  (713) 993-6511

Dec 04 2013

How is the Word “By” Used in English?


How is the Word “By” Used in English?


Hi Students!  There are many uses for the word “by”.  In this article, we will look at some of the ways that we use the word by in American English.

By is used in many expressions.  It can be used as a preposition and it can be used as an adverb.  confusion about by

When it is used as a preposition, it is followed by a noun.

  • My cell phone was ruined by the water.   (what caused it)
  • I was treated at the hospital by Dr. Jones.  (who does or did something)
  • The hotel is located by the lake. (a location that is close)
  • We went to the airport by car.  (to say how something is done)
  • By taking the bus, you will arrive sooner.  (by doing something)

Confused about the word ByLet’s look at some other ways to use the word by.

  • I call my boss by his first name.  (how to name or call something)
  • I will begin my presentation by thanking everyone for coming.  (saying how you will start or finish something)
  • I will be finished with my report by 5:00 p.m.
  • Tom and Jerry will arrive at the party by 9:00 p.m.  (Before a certain time)
  • They drove into the other car by accident.  (something not planned)
  • The price of gasoline rose by 5% last year.  (how much something changed)
  • Brad Pitt just drove by me!  (coming close to or passing someone)

And let’s look at a few phrases that use the word by.

  • By and by (after a short time)

By and by, JK forgot about his old girl friend.

  • By and large (in general)

By and large, the meeting went very well.

  • By the way  (to change the subject in a conversation)

By the way, don’t forget to turn in your report.


These are not the only ways to use by.  Mathematics uses the word by when we multiply or divide.  puzzled about By

Multiply 5 by 100.  Divide 100 by 10.  The room is 8 feet by 10 feet.


So many ways to use the word by!  If you have any questions about the word by, you can send me an email at julie@englishlessons-houston.com   Also, if you are in Houston, go to our website Worldwide English and contact us about private English lessons!  That’s all for now!