Business English phrases related to the skills evaluated in the IELTS test

You may have heard of business English, but do you know its importance? This article explores its benefits and provides useful expressions for each skill evaluated in the IELTS exam.

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What is business English?

As its name states, it refers to the use of the language in a professional context. It involves the use of vocabulary, phrases, and communication skills specifically tailored for business situations.

The goal is to facilitate effective communication in various business-related activities, such as meetings, negotiations, presentations, writing emails, and conducting interviews. 


Here are some benefits related to business English:

  • It allows individuals to communicate effectively with colleagues, clients, and partners from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds. 
  • English serves as a common language for international trade, making it essential for professionals to conduct negotiations, transactions, and collaborations seamlessly. 
  • A significant amount of business and industry-related information is available in English. Being proficient in this language enables individuals to access a wealth of resources, including market reports, research papers, and industry news, giving them a competitive edge in their field. 
  • Many multinational companies and global organizations use English as the primary language for internal communication and documentation. Having strong skills enhances an individual’s employability and opens opportunities for career advancement in international companies. You can also access remote working vacancies.   
  • It strengthens networking and relationship-building with other professionals since it facilitates communication at conferences, seminars, and events. 
  • In the business world, written communication is often formal and requires a level of precision. Business English skills are vital for drafting emails, reports, proposals, and other documents with clarity and professionalism.
  • If you are an entrepreneur, this language can help you grab the attention of stakeholders such as investors, suppliers, and creditors.

Business English and the IELTS exam

At this point, you must be wondering what the relationship between the IELTS exam and business English is.

The IELTS is a standardized test that assesses the English language proficiency of individuals who wish to study, work, or migrate to English-speaking countries. While it is not specifically designed for business English, it is relevant to business professionals for several reasons:

  • Many businesses and employers in English-speaking countries require evidence of English language proficiency as part of their hiring process. IELTS exam scores are commonly used for this purpose.
  • Business professionals seeking to pursue further education or training programs in an English-speaking environment may be required to take the IELTS exam as part of the admission process.
  • The IELTS exam assesses an individual’s competency in various language skills necessary for effective communication in the business world, including speaking, listening, reading, and writing.
  • Some business professionals choose to take the IELTS exam to enhance their credentials and demonstrate their commitment to improving their English language skills, which can be valuable for career advancement.

While IELTS covers a broad range of language skills and is not tailored specifically to business English, success in the exam can have a positive impact on a professional’s career prospects, especially in an international business context.

A man talking to the public


Business English expressions

Now, let’s dive into some useful expressions related to the skills that the IELTS exam evaluates (speaking, reading, writing, and listening).


Do you ever find yourself in front of a computer screen struggling to write a proper email? You want to avoid sounding too formal or too casual, but you’re not sure how to strike the right balance. Here are some expressions that will help you craft the perfect email.

  1. Opening the email:
  • “Dear [Recipient’s Name],” 
  • “I hope this email finds you well.”
  1. Introducing the purpose:
  • “I am writing to inquire about…” 
  • “I wanted to follow up on our recent conversation regarding…”
  1. Requesting information:
  • “Could you please provide more details about…”
  • “I would appreciate it if you could clarify…”
  1. Expressing gratitude:
  • “Thank you for your prompt response.”
  • “I appreciate your assistance in this matter.”
  1. Scheduling a meeting:
  • “I would like to propose a meeting on [date and time] to discuss…” 
  • “Could we arrange a convenient time to meet and go over…”
  1. Updating on progress:
  • “I wanted to update you on the progress of…”
  • “I am pleased to inform you that…”
  1. Apologizing for delays:
  • “I apologize for any inconvenience caused by the delay in…”
  • “I appreciate your patience as we work to resolve…” 

Certainly! Here are five more business expressions for writing an email:

  1. Seeking clarification:
  • “I would like to seek clarification on the terms outlined in the contract.”
  • “Could you elaborate further on the points mentioned in your previous email?”
  1. Responding to a request:
  • “In response to your request, I have attached the necessary files.”
  • “I am happy to comply with your request for additional information.”
  1. Closing the email:
  • “Thank you for your attention to this matter.” 
  • “Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions.”

Remember to tailor these expressions based on the specific context and tone appropriate for your business relationship.

In the writing section of the IELTS exam, using formal phrases can be useful. For instance, if you are taking the first writing task of the General training modality, which is a letter responding to a statement or requesting additional information, you can make use of these expressions to enhance your text.


How to talk on the phone with an important client? How can you give a presentation or feel confident at a meeting? Here are some useful phrases:

 Talking on the phone

  1. Opening the call:
  • “Good [morning/afternoon/evening], [client’s name]. This is [your name] calling from [your company]. I hope you’re doing well.”
  1. Checking availability:
  • “I appreciate you taking the time for this call. Is now a convenient time for you, or would you prefer to reschedule for a time that suits you better?”
  1. Providing updates:
  • “I wanted to touch base with you regarding [specific project/task]. I’m pleased to inform you that [share positive development/progress].”
  1. Addressing concerns:
  • “I understand that [mention any concerns or issues]. I want to assure you that we are actively working on resolving this and will keep you updated on our progress.”
  1. Closing the call:
  • “Before we conclude, is there anything specific you would like more information on or any questions I can address? Your feedback is valuable to us. Thank you for your time, [client’s name].”

Giving a presentation

  1. Opening the presentation:
  • “Good [morning/afternoon/evening], everyone. Thank you for being here today. I’m [your name], and I’m excited to share [topic] with you.”
  1. Outlining the agenda:
  • “Let me begin by providing an overview of today’s presentation. We’ll start with [first point], followed by [second point], and conclude with [third point].”
  1. Transitioning between points:
  • “Now that we’ve covered [previous point], let’s move on to [next point]. This is crucial because [explain the significance or relevance].”
  1. Engaging the audience:
  • “I’d like to open the floor for any questions or thoughts you might have at this point. Your input is valuable, and I want to ensure we address any concerns or clarify any aspects of the presentation.”
  1. Closing the presentation:
  • “In conclusion, I want to emphasize [key takeaway]. I appreciate your time and attention today. If there are no further questions, I’ll conclude the presentation. Thank you.”

These expressions can be helpful for the IELTS speaking section to structure your speech, keep your audience engaged (the examiner), and conclude on a strong note.

A group of people talking in a classroom


Leading or participating in a meeting

  1. Starting the meeting:
  • “Good morning, everyone. I appreciate your time today. Let’s dive into our agenda. We have some important updates on [topic], and I’m looking forward to hearing your insights.”
  1. Seeking input:
  • “Before we jump into the agenda, does anyone have initial thoughts or concerns they’d like to share? Your input is valuable and can help guide our discussion.”
  1. Agreeing or disagreeing:
  • “I see your point, [name], and I agree that [acknowledge agreement]. On the other hand, I’d like to offer a different perspective on [provide your viewpoint].”
  1. Clarifying actions:
  • “To ensure we’re all on the same page, let’s outline the action items. [Name], can you please take responsibility for [specific task]? And [name], could you provide an update on [another task] at our next meeting?” 
  1. Summarizing and concluding:
  • “Before we wrap up, let’s quickly recap the key decisions we’ve made and the action items. It’s crucial that we’re all clear on our next steps. Anything else we should address before adjourning?”

These tips can help you navigate the different stages of a meeting, encourage participation, and ensure that everyone is aligned on the key points and actions.


If you’re in a meeting and hear these expressions, you’ll understand what they mean:

  1. “The bottom line is…”
  •  This phrase is often used to introduce the most important point or the ultimate result of a discussion. It refers to the final, essential outcome or conclusion.
  1. “Let’s touch base offline to sync up.”
  •  This expression suggests taking the conversation or discussion away from the current setting, often to have a more in-depth or private discussion later.
  1. “We need to streamline our processes to enhance efficiency.”
  •  To streamline processes means to simplify or optimize workflows to make them more efficient. This could involve eliminating unnecessary steps or improving the overall structure of how things are done.
  1. We’re in the red, but with strategic cost-cutting, we can get back in the black.”
  • “In the red” means operating at a financial loss, while “in the black” means operating at a profit. This expression suggests that, despite current financial difficulties, careful cost-cutting measures can lead to profitability.
  1. “We need to think outside the box to find a scalable solution.”
  • “Thinking outside the box” means thinking creatively or unconventionally, considering innovative and non-traditional solutions. “Scalable” refers to a solution that can adapt and grow as needed.

Regarding the listening section, on the IELTS Academic modality, you may encounter a more formal context, even if it’s not directly related to business English, so these expressions might be helpful.


These statements might be helpful when reading a report or internal message from the company.

  1. “Our new product features cutting-edge technology, giving us a competitive advantage in the market.” 
  • “Cutting edge” describes something innovative and advanced, often in terms of technology or products. It implies staying ahead of competitors with the latest developments. 
  1. “In an effort to streamline operations, the company has decided to downsize, resulting in a reduction of workforce.” 
  • “Downsize” means to reduce the size of a company, often by laying off employees or cutting expenses, with the aim of improving efficiency and profitability. 
  1. “Negotiating a win-win situation with our suppliers is essential for maintaining strong, mutually beneficial partnerships in the long term.” 
  • “Win-win” implies a scenario where all parties involved benefit, and there are no losers. It emphasizes mutual gain and positive outcomes for everyone. 
  1. “In response to market feedback, the company decided to pivot its product strategy, shifting focus to a more lucrative segment.” 
  • “Pivot” in business refers to a significant change in strategy or direction. It often involves shifting focus, products, or services in response to changing market conditions, customer feedback, or other factors.
  1. “Cross-functional collaboration between the marketing and sales teams is essential to ensure a seamless customer experience throughout the buyer’s journey.”
  • “Cross-functional collaboration” involves individuals from different departments or functional areas working together on a project or task. It promotes a holistic approach to problem-solving and can lead to more innovative and well-rounded solutions.

As you can see, business English is a world unto itself. Even if the IELTS exam isn’t directly related to it, you may encounter some of these formal expressions in the test or you can use them on the writing and speaking sections.

Visit the IELTS Canada homepage to find out more

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