Common Business English verbs Present Simple

Present Simple, needs analysis and functional language review 

Choose one of the verbs below but don’t say which one you have chosen. Describe present/ usual habits associated with that thing (e.g. how often, times and days, people who do it, how long, what you do it to, etc) until your partner guesses which verb you are talking about. For example, with “Apologise”, you could say “Japanese people do this a lot. They usually bow when they do this. Some American businesses don’t like their employees to do this when there is a complaint.” etc until your partner guesses. They can only guess once per hint.  




Attend conferences/ trade fairs/ training/ meetings

Be late/ on time/ early


Carry a wallet/ mobile phone/ business cards


Write reports/ minutes/ agendas

Chair meetings



Correct/ Edit



Copy/ Photocopy

Deal with complaints


Describe your job/ company/ department/ product(s)



Do overtime


Exchange business cards



File/ Organise/ Reorganise

Give advice/ recommendations

Give bad news

Have meetings with customers/ clients/ colleagues/ suppliers

Input data/ figures

Install/ Download


Leave messages

Make appointments/ Arrange…

Meet new people

Meet people again


Offer a discount/ free gifts/ food and drinks/ someone a seat

Phone/ Telephone/ Call


Print out

Refuse/ Reject




Socialise with colleagues/ your boss/ clients/ customers/ suppliers

Stamp documents


Take dictation

Take messages

Take notes

Talk about/ Discuss


Tidy up

Travel abroad/ domestically/ for work

Type up a report/ a PowerPoint presentation

Use a computer/ calculator/ projector/ laser pen/ photocopier

Wear a tie/ a jacket/ a waistcoat/ cuff links/ a security badge


Which things above do you do most often? Are there any things you often do which are missing from the list?

Are there any things above which you very rarely or never do? Does anyone in your company do those things?

How do the jobs of other people in your team vary from yours?

Are there any cultural differences above, e.g. the importance of business cards? What about gender differences?

Which things do you or will you most often have to do in English? What language can you use to do the things in italics that you often have to do? Brainstorm suitable phrases, e.g. “We would like to apologise for…” etc for apologising.

How does a typical business email start and end?


PDF version for easy saving and printing: Common Business English verbs Present Simple (note: slightly older version)

2 Responses to Common Business English verbs Present Simple

  1. Lucy Honey says:

    Why are some verbs in italic / kursiv?

  2. alexcase says:

    As it explains in the instructions, you can get students to brainstorm suitable phrases for doing those things in English, e.g. requesting language. Have just written a bit more explanation on the worksheet, but didn’t have time to change the pdf version.

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