Wednesday, November 25, 2009

5 Common Mistakes Using Business English

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1. Personal vs. Personnel

personal - an adjective meaning something is particular to an individual or private.
Ex: No personal emails are allowed on corporate computers at work.

personnel - a noun for the number of employees working at place of work (factory, office, department store, etc) and a once popular name for what is called ´human resources´ today - the division of a company that hires, fires, and trains employees.

Ex: The latest email from personnel reminds everyone personal emails are not tolerated on corporate computers.

2. Executive vs Execute

executive - adjective or noun referring to the top brass in a company (vice president, president, CEO and the like)
Ex: One day the boss´s secretary wants to network her way into the executive inner circle of the company.

execute - a verb that means among many things - to carry out fully or to put to death legally. Thus, if not careful one could execute the executives with a  mistake!

3. For vs. Since

For - denotes a duration of time
Ex. I have played tennis for three years.

Since - denotes a duration of time from a certain reference point
 Ex. I have played tennis since 2006.

4. What are the plurals of data, information and training?

Plurals - data(*), information, and training - these are treated like a collective noun and no s is needed!

* Datum is the singular for data. However, data is often used with a singular verb - Ex. The data is being downloaded from the server right now.

5. discreet vs discrete 

Discreet - adjective - being prudent or showing good judgment, especially in speech, modest or unnoticeable
Ex. I didn't want anyone to see what I was doing to avoid arousing suspicion so I had to be discreet entering the locked door at the back of the building.

Discrete - adjective - individually distinct or of distinct or unconnected elements
 Ex. Even though she trusted her boyfriend, they kept their money in two discrete accounts.

Bonus: e.g vs i.e

e.g. stands for exempli gratia = for example.
Ex.  : "I like fast cars, e.g. Ferrari and Porche"
In the sentence above you are simply giving an example of the kinds of cars you like - Ferraris and Porches.

i.e. stands for id est = that is (in explanation).
Ex. I like fast cars, i.e. any car that can go over 130mph. 

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