In business, it’s important to speak clearly and pronounce words correctly so that people understand you. However, the main problem is that the way the words are written in English isn’t the same as the way they’re pronounced. So, what can you do? Well, we asked our teachers to help us create a list of the most common business words that Spanish students pronounce incorrectly. In total, we have a list of 100 really important words. In this lesson, we’re looking at 16 of them. Listen and repeat the words and the sample sentences, and you’ll soon be able to pronounce them perfectly. Ready? OK, let’s go!
This is the audio recording for the following words.
“Data” is information that can be stored on a computer. This word has the / eɪ / sound: data / deɪ.tə / For example, “We’ve been studying the data to find some patterns.”
Note: in US English (mostly), this word can also be pronounced with the / æ / sound, and the “t” more like a / d / sound: data /dæ.də/
“Money” refers to the coins (metal money) or bank notes (paper money) we use to buy things. This word has the weak / ʌ / sound, and the long / iː / sound at the end: money / mʌ.niː / For example, “We made a lot of money last year.”
A “quote” is a written document with the price that you want to charge for some work. This word has the / əʊ / sound: quote / kwəʊt / For example, “We need to send the client the quote.”
Your “colleague” is someone you work with. This word has the long / i: / sound: colleague / kɒ.liːɡ / For example, “I went out for a drink with a work colleague.”
Note: college (the school or university) has the much shorter / ɪ / sound: college / kɒ.lɪdʒ /
An “area” of business is a specific part of it: marketing, sales, accounting, finance… This word has three syllables and the / eə / sound at the start: area / eə.riː.ə / For example, “This isn’t really our area of expertise.”
Someone who works in the “finance” department of a company manages the money. This word has the / aɪ / sound: finance / faɪ.næns / For example, “She works in the finance department.”
A “director” is in charge of an activity, department or organization. This word has the / aɪ / sound at the start, and a weak schwa sound / ə / at the end: director / daɪ.rek.tə / For example, “She’s the financial director.”
A “company” is a business organization that makes money by selling goods or services. The letter “o” is pronounced as the weak / ʌ / sound: company / kʌm.pə.niː / For example, “I’ve worked at this company for over 20 years!”
A “discount” is a reduction in the usual price of something. This word has the stress on the first syllable: discount / dɪs.kaʊnt / For example, “We offered them a 10% discount if they agreed to sign the contract today.”
A “schedule” is a list of planned activities with the times or dates when they should happen. This word has several complicated sounds and two possible pronunciations: schedule / ske.dʒuːl / or schedule / ʃe.dʒuːl / For example, “They sent us the new production schedule.”
A “product” is something that is made and sold by companies. The letter “o” in this word has the / ɒ / sound, and the letter “u” is pronounced with the weak / ʌ / sound: product / prɒ.dʌkt / For example, “We’re developing a new product.”
A “guarantee” is a written promise by a company to replace or repair a product free of charge. The letter “u” in this word is silent: guarantee / ɡæ.rən.tiː / For example, “This product comes with a 12-month guarantee.”
A “business” is an organization which produces and sells goods or services. This word has several issues: the letter “u” is pronounced with an / ɪ / sound, and the letter “i” is silent: business / bɪz.nɪs /
Another issue is the plural form, which has the / ɪz / sound at the end: businesses / bɪz.nɪ.sɪz / For example, “We deal with several businesses in the local area.”
14 Percentage / percent
A “percentage” (%) is a fraction of a number or amount; we use the word “percent” after a specific number: 10%, 22%, 35%, etc. The letter “c” in these words is pronounced as an / s / sound: percentage / pə.sen.tɪdʒ / and / percent / pə.sent / For example, “Sales have increased by 25 percent this year.”
A “supplier” is a person or company that sells goods or equipment to customers or other companies. This word has the weak schwa sound / ə /: supplier / sə.plaɪ.ə / For example, “This company is one of our main suppliers.”
A “project” is a job or task that requires a lot of time and effort, and perhaps even a team. This word has the / dʒ / sound, which some students find difficult: project /prɒ.dʒekt / For example, “We started work on a new project.”
Click here for some exercises on these words!
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