English Bites!

engbites1English Bites! are practical, bite-sized tips to help stimulate your interest in and improve your business English. Published twice a week, the articles include useful and informative advice covering many aspects of workplace English including grammar, vocabulary, writing, speaking as well as fun topics. It will take you just a few minutes to read and digest each tip. The important thing about learning any language is that you spend a little time each day learning and polishing what you already know. You can subscribe to English Bites! from the Newsletters link above. Once you've done that, you'll receive notifications of all new tips by email.

Questions to Dr English 1

17 Jan 2021

questionsCould you explain the difference between ‘lend’ and ‘loan’?

Loan me your hat was just as correct everywhere as lend me your ears until the British made lend the preferred verb, relegating loan to the thing being lent. However, as in so many cases, Americans kept the older pattern, which in its turn has influenced modern British usage so that those insisting that loan can only be a noun are now in the minority.


Can you suggest any other common responses to “Thank you” other than “You’re welcome”?

You’re welcome is certainly rather overused these days. Here are a few alternatives: Not at all (common in British English); Don’t mention it; It’s nothing; and It’s my pleasure.


Could you tell me whether I should spell numbers?

Most style manuals agree with this simple rule: Spell all one-digit numbers (one to nine), and use numerals for any number having two or more digits.

There are some exceptions, but they’re logical and simple. Use numerals for all numbers in dates and street addresses, and for numbering consecutive items (such as paragraph numbers), no matter how high or low.

Also, use numerals for all numbers in a sentence if it contains both kinds (209 applicants for 5 jobs). The idea here is to be consistent within any sentence to avoid confusing readers.


Should I put a capital letter after a colon?

No, in most cases. Yes, when the passage that follows is a full sentence and is longer than just a few words. For example: We cannot recruit any additional staff at the moment for one reason: our budget has been used up. And: The committee must find solutions to three problems: poor visibility, damage to equipment, and irregular transportation schedules.

But: One fact about American cars should not go unnoticed: They are designed for transportation needs in a country larger than all of Europe.


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Using Action Verbs in Business Writing (Part 2)

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Using Action Verbs in Business Writing (Part 1)

Talking about your Work Using the Present Simple Tense

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For vs Since vs During vs While vs Ago

Common Errors in Business Documents 2

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Common Errors in Business Documents 1

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