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Business English: Questions for International Negotiators


1. How Important is it in your opinion to do research on the cultural background of the person you will be negotiating with?
2. How are negotiators from different countries and cultures different in your opinion?
3. Have you ever had a “crisis” situation come up when negotiating across cultures? How did you resolve it?
4. Have you ever had to negotiate with someone from a different culture that made you feel “disrespected”?
5. Has your own culture (country or company) ever been a problem in a negotiation?
6. What do you think is/are the most important element(s) of dealmaking in the 21st Century
7. Do you think “reciprocity” is important in negotiation? Is it more important in some countries than others in your view?
8. Do you believe that only a written contract at the end of a negotiation binds you or your company? Or could you incur obligations just based on a discussion and handshake?
9. When should you (or have you) walked away from a negotiation?
10. When is it appropriate in your view to go above the person you are negotiating with to find someone of higher authority to make a deal?
11. How do you personally deal with “difficult” negotiators?
12. What are the secrets to your most successful deals?
13. What lessons did you learn from deals that fell through?
14. Have you studied other negotiators in your field? What do you think makes an effective negotiator?
15. Which countries have the most unreliable negotiators in your experience?
16. How does your company typically settle disputes when negotiations and deals fall apart?
17. What do you think you still need to learn or improve to be a more effective negotiator?


transitive and intransitive verbs

Transitive and Intransitive Verbs in English

ESL Learners Can struggle with Transitive and Intransitive Verbs in English: But there Might Be a Way to Easily figure out the difference


Transitive and intransitive verbs can give ESL learners major headaches. Half the time, though, many don’t even  realize they are making a big mistake. But even  when they know they are making a mistake but they  don’t know the rule, it can be very frustrating.

It’s all about OBJECTS and knowing when you need them and when you don’t.

How do you know which verbs need an object and which verbs do not need an object in English? At first blush it is not easy to tell as there are no clear rules. English verbs that have more than one meaning can be especially tricky because sometimes the word/verb is transitive and sometimes it is intransitive. For example the verb “to fold.” This verb has about 13 different meanings! Some of the applications of this verb takes an object (which makes it transitive) and others do not.

Look at the following applications of the verb “to fold”

  1. I folded the laundry. (This is transitive – it needs object) What is the meaning? It means “I bent the clothes and fabrics that I washed.”

2.  He folded. (This is intransitive- does not need object) What is the meaning? It means “He gave up.”

Why do you need to know the difference between transitive and intransitive verbs? Because not knowing the different between transitive and intransitive verbs results in grammatically incorrect sentences that either sound funny or just flat out makes no sense. For example, if you said “I sent.” This is supposed to be a sentence but it is incomplete and does not make perfect sense. Because the person listening does not know what you sent or who you sent.

But just so that you will be totally confused about transitive and intransitive verbs in English, the vast majority of verbs can be both transitive and intransitive depending on the context in which they are used (like the verb “to fold.”)

So what are you supposed to do? How are you supposed to figure this out?!

Well, there are a couple of tricks you can try though they are not foolproof.

1). First, accept that you will have to try to memorize quite a bit in this domain, and you will have to depend on your experience with the language over time to become used to which verbs need an object.

2). But there could be an even better way to figure it out. Ask yourself "who or what does the verb relate to?" Is it a noun? If there is an answer and it is a noun, the verb is TRANSITIVE. Example:  "Sam eats meat." Ask "who or what does Sam eat?" Sam eats meat. So "meat" is a noun and it therefore an object of the verb "eat." So in this example, the verb "eat" is TRANSITIVE (in this sentence - because note that in other sentences the verb "eat could be intransitive).

3). If you are still not sure if the verb is transitive or intransitive, ask yourself how or where is the verb? This will help you to confirm that there if there is an object or not. If there is an answer to  one of these two questions, the verb is INTRANSITIVE. 

Consider the following sentence: "Sam runs slowly." Ask "how does Sam run"? Sam runs slowly. 

Consider also the following sentence: "Sam is running in the park." Where is Sam running? He is running in the park. 
Who or what is Sam running? There is no answer. 
So the verb "run" is INTRANSITIVE (in this sentence), therefore, and does not need an object. 

3). Another way to tell if the verb needs an object or not is to use your ears. If it sounds funny, something is probably missing or wrong. 

4). Finally, the best option if you are not sure might be to simply check the dictionary which will usually indicate "T" for transitive or "I" for Intransitive next to the verb.


As a general rule, intransitive (often followed by prepositional phrases, adverbs, adjectives, or complements) do not need an object.

  • The woman behaved badly.
  • The woman looks nice.
  • The dog is happy.
  • The child plays in the puddle.


Consider the following sentences which are grammatically complete in English:

  1. I ate. I ate hungrily. (intransitive)
  2. I bathed. I bathed in milk.(intransitive)
  3. I believed. I believed nothing. (intransitive)
  4. I drank. I drank in the bar. (intransitive)
  5. I exploded. I exploded at him. (intransitive)
  6. I fell. I fell in the water. (intransitive)
  7. I worked. I worked for it. (intransitive)
  8. I stopped. I stopped laughing. (intransitive)
  9. I shopped. I shopped till I dropped. (intransitive)
  10. I swam. I swam in the river. (intransitive probably in every context)

In the sentences above, there is just a SUBJECT and a VERB in the first version. Even after adding a phrase or complement in the second version, there is still no object because there is not “who” or “what.”. It means that each of these verbs is INTRANSITIVE. In English, a verb that is  intransitive is a verb that is not followed by an object but yet, completes a sentence in a grammatically correct way.



By contrast, there are verbs in English that MUST BE FOLLOWED BY an object in order for the sentence to express a complete thought, and in order for the sentence to be grammatically correct and make sense.

Consider the 10 examples below:

  1. I sold. I sold it. It sold quickly.
  2. I kissed.  I kissed him. We kissed in the movie theatre.
  3. I sent. I sent her.
  4. I want. I want it.
  5. I carry. I carry a concealed weapon.
  6. I terminated. I terminated the interview.
  7. I opened. I opened the door.
  8. I hear. I hear music.
  9. I shamed. I shamed the clerk.
  10. I folded (?). I folded the laundry.
  11. I gave. I gave them food.
  12. I imagine (?). I imagine the worst.

In each of these examples, the first sentence is incomplete because the listener will be wondering what or whom you are talking about. For example, in English, you can’t just say (under normal circumstances) “I sold.” This is not a complete sentence. Something is missing. The person who is listening to you will ask, “sold what?” What did you sell? To whom did you sell it? This is because the verb “to sell” is TRANSITIVE. It is a verb in transition. It is not a complete idea without an OBJECT attached. The object will answer the questions “who,” “whom,” or “what.” In the second sentence, the questions “who” “whom” or “what” is answered.


At the same time, one could argue that the verb “to kiss” is sometimes intransitive, and the verb “to drink” can be transitive. Consider for example, “I drank rum.” Or, “we kissed.” No object is needed in the latter whereas “rum” (while not needed to form a complete thought) is the object in the former. So depending on the context, a verb can be be either transitive or intransitive.

Consider the verb “to give.” Is this verb transitive or intransitive? Arguably, it would normally be transitive. Something else needs to be said for it to make sense in most circumstances. If you say to someone “I gave” the natural response might be “gave what?” Or, “give who?” “Gave who?” “Gave what”? Something is missing and the sentence is incomplete because the verb “to give” is TRANSITIVE. It needs an object – probably always

Note: Transitive verbs are followed by nouns or noun clauses and not be prepositions or state verbs. So for example, in the sentence “I can hear the birds singing.” The subject is “I” and the verb is “can hear.” The object is “the birds” so the verb “to hear” is TRANSITIVE.

By contrast, consider the sentence “I swam in the lake.” Here, the subject is “I” and the verb is “swam.” The prepositional phrase “in the lake” is not an object. So the verb “to swim” is INTRANSITIVE. It does not need an object. The same is true for all the verbs on the first set of verbs on this page.



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Sponsored Content

Philippe Léglise-Costa
Paris, France

The spread of English as a lingua franca (a language used by speakers of different languages as a common language of communication) continues to gain traction around the world. But not without opposition in some very high places. Recently,  French ambassador Philippe Léglise-Costa not only objected to the English only policy in the European council, he actually stormed out of a meeting in angry protest, according to published reports, to wit,

France’s EU ambassador on Wednesday walked out of a diplomatic meeting after the Council decided to use only English-language translation in a new working group on the EU’s long-term budget.

Philippe Léglise-Costa, the French EU ambassador, stormed out of the Coreper meeting on the Multiannual Financial Framework after refusing to sign off on a Council Secretariat decision that asked representatives of other EU countries to agree on using English for the group’s meetings, according to several participants.

While French is still one of the official working languages of the EU, its influence has been on the wane recently, given that English has emerged as a common language in not just diplomacy, but also in most domains that require communication between people of different native tongues.

Was Ambassador Philippe Léglise-Costa right to object to this blatant omission on the part of the Council to provide a translation in French? Or did he over-react? Isn’t the whole point of English being a global lingua franca that people of different linguistic traditions need a common language in which to communicate? That language did not have to be English, but it just so happens that it is English. Why should the other countries accept English in lieu of their own native languages, if the French ambassador refuses to accept that he cannot have a translation in French while everyone else has to make do with English? In other words, could the other countries also insist on a translation in their own native languages as well? Is it fair that only French and English translations are provided?

EU states total 28 nation states, to wit (from

Austria Italy
Belgium Latvia
Bulgaria Lithuania
Croatia Luxembourg
Cyprus Malta
Czech Republic Netherlands
Denmark Poland
Estonia Portugal
Finland Romania
France Slovakia
Germany Slovenia
Greece Spain
Hungary Sweden
Ireland United Ki

The EU region is one of the world’s most multilingual. Each of these 28 states have a language of their own – though English is taught as a second language in most of these countries. If each nation insisted on having their language be a working language of the council, the costs of translating documents would quickly become prohibitive.

Multilingualism and francophony aside, it appears that  French ambassador Philippe Léglise-Costa did not have universal support for his actions on the Council. Some argued that he had acted a bit unreasonably under the circumstances:

Léglise-Costa raised his voice against the Council decision, arguing that France was defending “multilingualism as well as Francophony,” particularly within a group that would be discussing billions of euros in revenues and spending, the European diplomat said.

On the other hand,  perhaps the Ambassador, who was described by some diplomats in attendance as having “over-reacted” can be excused for feeling like his language and culture was being usurped and rendered irrelevant by English – lingua franca or no lingua franca.

France along with Germany does bear a disproportionate financial responsibility for spending in and for the region, and thus can be excused for insisting that the French language is given the same deference and respect as English – or at least more deference and respect that some of those others who are newer to the group and who bear considerably less of its financial burdens. It certainly  is not a clear cut situation from a diplomatic and international relations perspective. Whether Ambassador Léglise-Costa succeeds at defending “multilingualism and francophony,” and restoring the position of the French language before the EU Council remains to be seen.

The only thing that is clear that English has become a common language of communication for the international community today and in order not to be left behind, people need to learn English for their own personal and professional development.

At ELG, we stand ready to assist you with achieving your English language acquisition goals.



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In English, there are many different types of pronouns (this includes distributive pronouns like "all, "negative pronouns like "no one" and impersonal pronouns like "someone") but in fact these can be re-categorized into larger groups as there are 8 major categories of English pronouns.

What are pronouns? English Pronouns replace nouns in a sentence. Virtually any noun can be replaced by a pronoun in English. But it does matter which pronoun you use. You cannot just employ any pronoun you want. The placement of the pronoun in the sentence and the function it serves will determine which pronoun is appropriate.


Subject pronouns replace nouns which are subjects in the sentence. So nouns that function as the subject can be replaced by a subject pronoun. The subject pronouns are:

I……………………..  I have a toothache.

You……………….  You don’t have a toothache, do you?

He……………….  He had a toothache while the president of France was visiting him.

She…………… She has never had a toothache

It…………….  It does not have teeth.

We…………. we took him to the dentist because he had a missing tooth.

They………. They have never been to the dentist and thus they have no teeth.


The object pronoun is an object of the verb or preposition it precedes or follows.  (Direct objects usually follow the verb and indirect objects usually follow the preposition).

Me……….. Hervé gave me the job.

you …………….Did she tell you about the job requirements?

her……………. You should tell her to audition for the job.

him……………Would you hire him for this job if he were the only candidate?

it…………. The interviewer showed it to me and said, “this is why this job is so tricky.”

us……… The recruiter sent emails to us and said the President’s entire cabinet had quit and that he desperately needed to hire new staff.

them……. The president gave them the option to resign.


You use reflexive pronouns when the subject and object are the same. (Note that reflexive pronouns are distinct from  intensive pronouns. For example, “I, myself, sewed these curtains” is intensive, not reflective. Why? Because “myself” is used only to “intensify” the subject “I.” It is not integral to the sentence. On the other hand, reflexive pronouns are integral to the sentence and if removed, the meaning of the sentence is lost.

myself………I love myself.

Yourself……….You should love yourself enough not to take drugs.

Herself………..It is incredible that she did that to herself.

Himself…………….He loves himself too much; he is a narcissist.

Itself………….Look! It bathes itself with its tongue.

Ourselves………….We have to protect ourselves.

Themselves…………….They are the culprits and can only blame themselves for this.


The relative pronoun is used to add additional information about the noun in the sentence (subject or object)

That………… This is the girl that won the lottery.

Who……………The man  who won the lottery, whose jackpot was one billion dollars, was homeless.

Which…………….. The house, which is white, sold for two million dollars.

Whom……….. The man whom you despise is a billionaire.

Whose……..The boy whose bike was stolen is the grandson of Vladimir Putin.


Interrogative pronouns are used exclusively to ask questions about nouns in the sentence. Interrogative pronouns are also relative pronouns. All are “WH” words. But not every “WH” word is an interrogative pronoun. And not all relative pronouns are interrogative pronouns either. Some are adverbs. There are 5 interrogative pronouns in English.  They are: who, whom, whose, what, and which.

Who is that?!

Whose shoes are you wearing?

To whom should I address my complaints?

Which way should I turn to reach your place?

What in the name of Chanel is wrong with you?!

Why are you so cantankerous? (adverb)

Where is Leonardo? (adverb)

When can you come for a visit? (adverb)

How does this thing work? (adverb)

POSSESIVE PRONOUNS (and possessive adjective pronouns)

It is easy to identify possessive pronouns.  These words refer to ownership. They are used to identify when something belongs to someone. They are strongly related to possessive adjectives.  The possessive pronouns are: Mine, yours, his, hers, its, ours, theirs, (possessive adjectives: my, your, his, her, its, our, their)

  1. It’s mine.
  2. It’s not yours.
  3. Is it hers?
  4. No, I think it’s his but I could be wrong.
  5. This is its collar. Do you want it?
  6. Can we eat ours?
  7. Pass theirs to them.
  8. My hand itches.
  9. Does your hand ever itch?
  10. He told me that his toes itch all the time but his hand never itches.
  11. Her nose is itching but she is afraid to scratch it.
  12. It uses its tail to soothe the itch.
  13. They took our seats; this makes me itch with rage!
  14. I declined their invitation because I am afflicted with jock itch and preferred to stay home.



There are four demonstrative pronouns. They are: this, that, these, those. Demonstrative pronouns are used to specify a thing or person or place (nouns). This and that are singular. These and those are plural. For example:

This is demented.

That is so typical of Donald Trump.

These people are not well; they need to get their heads checked.

Those people might as well resign from the administration.


Indefinite pronouns refer to nouns however they are used when the noun (person, place, or thing) is not specified.

  1. Someone called the cops.
  2. Anyone is allowed to enter.
  3. No one believed her.
  4. Everyone laughed at her.
  5. All aboard!
  6. Some like it hot.
  7. She doesn’t like any, sorry.
  8. Mom doesn’t like either.
  9. Dad says neither can go.
  10. Let’s join the others.
  11. I don’t need so many.
  12. There were several.
  13. That’s enough.
  14. He was better than most and that’s why he won.
  15. Both are wrong.
  16. Nothing comes from nothing.
  17. Something is fishy about that.
  18. Everything is marvelous.
  19. Nobody should have to go though that.
  20. Somebody should enlighten her.
  21. Everybody has two sides.

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How to Become Fluent in English

To become fluent in English, you will have to do a number of different things. For every English learner, it could be a different combination of things but there are some common things that everyone who wants to be fluent in English needs to think about doing.

The first step to becoming fluent in English is learning how to think in English even when English is not your first language. This can be challenging to do for even the brightest and most motivated students. But rest assured that until you can think in English (and especially on a subconscious level without even trying) you will never be fluent in the language. That is to say, you must get to a point where you are not translating in your head from your language to English but you are hearing and processing and thinking in English from the first moment you hear the communication or speech.

The next question is bound to be “how  do I ‘think’ in English?”  That is a very good question and probably should be an independent post all to itself. But there is no question that one of the key ways to speed up that process is to immerse yourself in the language by traveling, hanging around native English speakers, consuming a huge amount of English material such books, movies, YouTube videos and magazines, and always and immediately looking up any English word you encounter that you do not know (if you have a mobile smart phone this can be a huge help because you can stop wherever you are and look up the word immediately.)

Another key thing you will have to do is learn English phrases such as phrasal verbs and idiomatic phrases. These are key to becoming fluent and speaking like a native. You have to know phrasal verbs and idioms.

Another key aspect of becoming fluent in English is verb tenses and modal verbs. Without taking the time to master these, you can kiss any pipe dream you have of becoming fluent in the language.

Finally, to become fluent in English you have to talk to yourself a lot in English. You have to role play a lot by yourself and talk to yourself in English. Also try reading English books aloud when you are alone to hear yourself speaking in English. This will build your English fluency fast!



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writing in English

Writing in English: 5 Common Writing Tasks That English Learners Fear and Tips for Conquering Your Fears


Below are 5 types of writing tasks that English learners can find daunting including college application essays, emails, letters, research articles, abstracts, memos and reports. We offer you advice on how to handle each. For an extensive discussion on memos and reports, please click here. Or read on below for tips on writing emails, business letters, research articles, abstracts and application essays.

In a previous article on writing business emails, our blog editor wrote “when English is not your ‘mother tongue’ writing effective emails in English can pose a challenge.” This is still true. But there are a few additional tips that might help you get better at the craft.

1. Understand that there are seven basic parts to an email:

  • The identification of the sender
  • The identification of the recipient
  • The subject line
  • The body of the email
  • The closing
  • The signature
  • The disclaimer

This format is probably universal in any language.

2. The purpose of your email should be stated in one sentence in the subject line of the email. For example, are you writing to:

  • Explain
  • Complain
  • Request
  • Thank
  • Apologize
  • Confirm
  • Invite
  • Decline?

3. The body of the email is the most important part.

  • Begin with a neutral and polite greeting – for example:

Dear Mr Smith or

Good morning Mr Smith.

  • Start with a polite phrase – for example:

“Thank you for….”

“please confirm that”

  • Keep the body of your message clear and concise by using short sentences, proper punctuation and by using grammar rules – especially tenses – correctly.

4. End with a polite closing such as:

  • Kind Regards
  • Sincerely yours
  • I remain at your disposal.
  • Yours Faithfully
  • Respectfully
  • Respectfully yours

5. Become acquainted with as much email vocabulary as you possibly can

  • Address
  • Attachment
  • Bcc
  • Disclaimer
  • Emoticon
  • File size
  • Flag
  • Format
  • Forward
  • High priority
  • Html
  • Importance option
  • Inbox
  • Mark as read
  • Pdf
  • Reply
  • Sender
  • Sender
  • Signature

6. Be sure your email uses the right level of formality and that you have put a legal disclaimer at the end of your email.[/tab][tab title=”Application Essays”]

  1. Think of your audience before you even begin and set the right tone.
  2. Be open-minded and express it in your writing
  3. Read the instructions carefully before you even begin so that you are answering the question asked and no the one you thought was asked.
  4. Be concise. Follow the KISS principle (keep it short and simple) where appropriate.
  5. Do not exceed the page limit.
  6. Be yourself but also try to be creative without going overboard; show that you have a sense of humor and can be edgy but remain cultured and intelligent.
  7. Begin with a question for maximum impact.
  8. Answer the WH questions: Who, What, When and How
  9. Be yourself.
  10. Proofread and edit your work before you send it off.



, you should write your abstract after you write the article or report. This is counterintuitive but all the experts agree that it is the most effective and efficacious way to write an abstract because that way you can capture exactly what the article is about and hit the main points. The purpose of the abstract is to provide the reader with enough but concise information that entices them to want to read more of your article.

Next, be concise. Follow the KISS principles: Keep it Short and Simple. Aim to use one paragraph to summarize the main points of the article. Crunch a maximum amount into each sentences (make every sentence count) without compromising the brevity rule.

Next, mention your hypothesis, method, findings and conclusion if possible in no more than two sentences. And keep your sentence length under 25 words per sentence.

Finally, summarize the summary in no more than two sentences.

[/tab][tab title=”Research article”]First, begin by consulting the journal for specific editorial requirements.

Then, begin to pre-plan your writing by organizing your ideas according to specific points you want to make.

Write your introduction. This should be limited to one page if possible and should adequately alert the reader about what you intend to prove or disprove and the methodology you plan to use. Your introduction should answer the “so what” question: Why is the research or article important? What question or issue does it address? What answers does it provide? What is your hypothesis. Is this a quantitative design or a qualitative study?

Plan a rough number of paragraphs you want to write. Each paragraph should generally cover a separate point. Organize your p paragraphs logically and sequentially so that your work will flow smoothly once you have a finished product. Paragraph structure is very important.

Follow the rules of English grammar with regard to tenses, articles and tone. For example, use the present tense to report facts. Use the past tense to report findings and results. Active voice is preferred over passive voice. Use articles and determiners such as “a” “an” “the” “my” “these” and “those” appropriately .

Cite your sources appropriately using primary sources such as research articles over other secondary material such as websites if possible.

If this is a an empirical paper, state your design in a methodology section. Is this a quantitative or qualitative design?

Other tips

  • Use 12 point times Roman font unless otherwise instructed
  • Double space
  • Do not exceed the page limit
  • Number your pages consecutively

[/tab][tab title=”Letters”]Like emails, letters can be either formal or informal, although in a business context, letters are formal almost 100 percent of the time.

A. There are 8 basic parts to a business letter:

  • Date
  • recipient’s address
  • Sender’s address
  • Re
  • Salutation
  • Body of the letter
  • Closing
  • Signature
  • Enclosures (if any)

B. There are different approaches to writing a business letter as far as placement of the various parts in particular the date, signature, closing and addresses.

1. The date can be placed at the left margin or the right margin.

2. The recipient’s address is always placed at the left margin but your sender’s address can be omitted if there is a letterhead; or if there is no letterhead, it can go on the left margin above the recipient(s address. Or the writer can create a “fake” letterhead by putting his or her address at the top of the page.

3. After the the addresses, put the “re” line. This will state in a short phrase or sentence the purpose of the letter.

4. In the body of the letter, break up the points into paragraphs using only one paragraph per point.

5. The closing in a letter, like an email can be any of the following depending on the context and preference of the writer:

  • Sincerely
  • Faithfully yours
  • Yours, etc.
  • Yours truly
  • Kind Regards

6. Always type your name but leave space to insert a handwritten signature.

7. If you are enclosing something in your correspondence, write “”encl.” after your signature. If you are enclosing more than one thing write “encls.”


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In English, when you have two or more verbs in a sentence that are related to one another in that sentence, the form of the second verb can either be in gerund form “ing” (making it more like a noun than a verb, example “taking”)) or it can be in the infinitive form (example, “to take”). But how can you tell which is correct between the ING or infinitive?

For example, if you need to tell your child to take a shower you would say:

“You need to take a shower now. ”

Notice that the two verbs in that sentence are are “need” and “take.”

The first verb is conjugated normally. But the second verb is not conjugated. It stays in the infinitive.

In that sentence, you COULD NOT say “you need taking a shower now.” Not only because it sounds funny, which it does, but also because it is just grammatically not correct in English to follow the verb “to need” with the ING FORM.

Why? Because the first verb “need” is almost always followed by the infinitive in English. It is never followed by the gerund “ing” form of the verb.


ING or INFINITIVE? The General rules are as follows:

  • Some verbs MUST be followed by the infinitive form and others MUST be followed by a gerund.
  • Yet other verbs can be followed by either the gerund or the infinitive.
  • Sometimes, the form that follows can change the meaning of the second verb completely and the sense of the sentence completely.

Examples: “I remembered to give him the files.” vs “I remembered giving him the files.”

  • Sometimes an object comes between the first verb and the second verb (usually the infinitive form).

Examples: “I allowed John to take more cherries.”

  • *Note that phrasal verbs also follow this rule. Example: “She gave up expecting him to change.”
  • *Note also that certain nouns can also be followed by the infinitive form. Example: “He had the desire to slice off her nose.”



  1. Admit (example: I admit taking the car this morning)
  2. Appreciate (example: Did you appreciate seeing your brother?)
  3. Avoid
  4. Can’t help
  5. Can’t resist
  6. Can’t stand
  7. Carry on
  8. Consider
  9. Delay
  10. Deny
  11. Dislike
  12. Enjoy
  13. Excuse
  14. Fancy
  15. Finish
  16. Give up
  17. Given up
  18. Help, resist, face & Stand (with couldn’t and can’t)
  19. Imagine
  20. Involves
  21. Justify
  22. Keep, keep on, carry on
  23. Make
  24. Mention
  25. Mind
  26. Mind (negatives and questions in particular)
  27. Permits
  28. Postpone
  29. Practice
  30. Propose
  31. Put off
  32. Recommend
  33. Risk
  34. Spend time with
  35. Suggest
  36. Tolerate
  37. Worth




  1. Begin
  2. Bother
  3. Continue
  4. Forget
  5. Go on
  6. Hate
  7. Intend
  8. Like
  9. Love
  10. Mean
  11. Need
  12. Permits
  13. Prefer
  14. Propose
  15. Regret
  16. Remember * (this could sometimes take the ING form)
  17. Stand
  18. Start
  19. Stop
  20. Try




  1. Want
  2. Help
  3. Ask
  4. Decide
  5. Hope
  6. Choose To
  7. Demand
  8. Need
  9. Agree
  10. Arrange
  11. Refuse
  12. Expect
  13. Require
  14. Allow
  15. Offer
  16. Seem
  17. Appear
  18. Tend
  19. Manage
  20. Fail


  1. Agreement (example: We had an agreement to manufacture crystals)
  2. Arrangement
  3. Decision
  4. Demand
  5. Desire
  6. Failure
  7. Offer
  8. Plan
  9. Promise
  10. Refusal
  11. Tendancy
  12. Threat

Verbs that usually can take an object before the second verb:


  1. advise (example: “I advise you to toss him out of the car.”)
  2. allow (example: Mom allowed me to put a perm in my hair when I was thirty.)
  3. ask
  4. beg
  5. cause
  6. enable
  7. encourage
  8. expect
  9. force
  10. help
  11. intend
  12. invite
  13. mean
  14. order
  15. recommend
  16. remind
  17. take
  18. teach
  19. tell
  20. warn


English Transitional Words: Make your spoken and written English pop with these linkers and connectors


Transitional words and phrases are plentiful in English. Some modern English writing experts have advocated reducing the use of connectors and linkers. That is to say that the overuse or misuse of English transitional words  should be avoided. For English learners, these words serve a useful purpose or multiple purposes. These words help keep one’s thoughts, words and writing  clear;  and using them helps  the reader or listener to stay on the same page with the speaker or writer. Transitional words can be used as signposts. They enrich speech and written communication and makes the speaker or writer seem more intelligent or more fluent especially when the words are used correctly and judiciously. (One rule of thumb to remember is that you must almost always follow a transitional connector by a comma.)

Transitional words like “additionally,” “therefore,” and “moreover” are used to:

Below are a list of transitional words plus an audio and quiz. Free with a monthly pass or premium pass.

[section title=”#1 Showing Contrast”]

  • In contrast
  • Conversely
  • By contrast
  • However
  • Rather
  • Yet
  • But
  • Instead
  • Although
  • Even though
  • Nevertheless
  • Despite



1) In contrast with normal procedure, my boss asked us to ignore the fire alarm.

2) In contrast to normal procedure, my boss asked us to ignore the fire alarm.

3) The Picasso was expensive; by contrast, the Renoir was not.

4) Learning English is easy; conversely, Learning Sanskrit is hard.

5) The woman is beautiful; by contrast her daughter is totally unattractive.

6) The idea was to have a small wedding; however my mother had other ideas.

7) I dont think I can make it tonight; rather, I would prefer to go home and rest and see you tomorrow.

8) The attorney was insulted by the judge; yet she maintained her composure.

9) This situation is not ideal but I do not have a choice but to go forward with it.

10) The plaintiff did not want to settle the lawsuit; instead, she instructed her lawyer to prepare for trial.

11) Although this multinational has polluted the global environment, no international court has been able to find them liable for gross negligence.

12) Even though I am upset, I will still go through with the plan.

13) Nevertheless, we parted as friends.

14) Despite the urgency of the situation, the paramedics took their time to respond to the 911 call.


[section title=”#2 Adding information”]

  • Additionally
  • In addition
  • Added to that
  • Moreover
  • Furthermore
  • Likewise
  • Also
  • As well as
  • Incidentally
  • By the way
  • Notably
  • And
  • As if that was not enough
  • On top of that
  • Plus



1) Additionally, I am fluent in three languages.

2) In addition, I am fluent in three languages.

3) Added to that, I am fluent in three languages.

4) Moreover, this was not one of the terms agreed upon.

5) Furthermore, this was not one of the terms agreed upon.

6) Likewise, this situation is unacceptable.

7) Also, I would like to reiterate my interest in the position.

8) Chinese nationals, as well as Malaysians, were on the doomed flight.

9) Incidentally, nobody informed me that there would be a meeting this morning!

10) By the way, are you going to John’s bachelor’s beer night?

11) Notably, these results are inconclusive.

12) And, it was a grand disaster, if I may say so myself.

13) As if that were not enough, she then proceeded to where red stilettos.

14) On top of that, I was hungry and tired.

15) Plus, she paid for Google advertising.


[section title=”#3 Generalizing”]

  • Generally
  • In general
  • Normally
  • Usually
  • As usual
  • As always
  • Typically
  • Ordinarily
  • As a general rule
  • More often than not
  • In most cases
  • For the most part



1) Generally, I don’t like blond perms.

2) In general, PayPal is reliable.

3) Normally, cats and dogs do not get along.

4) As usual, she showed up late.

5) As always, she showed up late.

6) typically, men prefer to ask a woman to marry them; not the other way around.

7) Ordinarily, he is a lot more careful than that.

8) As a general rule, this company likes to avoid litigation.

9) More often than not, I am late for work.

10) In most cases, there appears to be no correlation.

11) For the most part, I am content with my life.


[section title=”#4 Expressing results”]

  • For this reason
  • As a result
  • As a consequence
  • Finally
  • Because of this
  • So
  • Thus
  • In the final analysis
  • In the end
  • Accordingly
  • Therefore
  • This is why



1) For this reason, I do not recommend this course of action.

2) As a result, the hypothesis is flawed.

3) As a consequence, I cannot make this recommendation.

4) Finally, the other side acquiesced.

5) Because of this, I think we should avoid this course of action.

6) So, it is not a good idea to proceed.

7) Thus, I can only conclude that this is not in our best interest.

8) In the final analysis, it is you who has to make the decision.

9) In the end, correlation appears to equal causation.

10) Accordingly, I propose that you suspend action till further notice.

11) Therefore, the marketing department should change its tactics.

12) This is why the results are the same.


[section title=”#5 Illustrating or emphasizing a point”]

  • That is
  • That means
  • That is to say
  • Incidentally
  • In particular
  • Especially
  • Most of all
  • Above all
  • In Fact
  • Actually
  • The fact is
  • Namely
  • For example



1) This is, the financial data is inaccurate.

2) That means, language Policy in the EU should remain an issue for each member state to handle.

3) That is to say, the foregoing was in error.

4) Incidentally, I never said that.

5) In particular, what happened in the meeting should never happen again.

* 6) Especially the first one.

7) Most of all, the tribesmen would like assistance with brokering a peace deal.

8) Above all, the primary consideration has to be the kids.

9) In fact, it was mentioned in two clauses in the contract.

10) Actually, this was not addressed in the boilerplate contract.

11) The fact is, you are wrong.

12) Namely, both groups contributed to the negligence.

13) For example, the blue and red colors have been known to oxidize.


[section title=”#6 Summarizing”]

  • Thus
  • In summary
  • To summarize
  • In conclusion
  • Therefore
  • In short
  • To sum it all up
  • In the end
  • In the final analysis
  • Overall
  • Globally
  • On balance
  • To sum
  • At the end of the day

1) Thus, my conclusion is that my hypothesis is correct.

2) In summary, this sort of thing should never happen again.

3) To summarize, let me begin by reiterating that the results are inconclusive.

4) In conclusion, environmental protection agencies need to get more aggressive with protecting the global environment.

5) Therefore, your position is unsupported by the facts.

6) In short, you cannot do that.

7) To sum it all up, 2014 was a banner year for us.

8) In the end, I must concede that I was wrong.

9) In the final analysis, there is no workable solution for this problem.

10) Overall, the team did okay.

11) Globally, the output was satisfactory but there were internal departments that need to show improvement.

12) On balance, this could have been a much worse scenario.

13) To sum it up, the red team wins.

14) At the end of the day, he gained more than he bargained for.


[section title=”#7 Repetition and emphasis”]

  • In other words
  • To put it mildly
  • Clearly
  • That means that
  • That is to say that
  • Briefly stated
  • Reiterated
  • Again
  • Put another way
  • Notably
  • Please take note that



1) In other words, this proposal lacks persuasion.

2) To put it mildly, I was shocked by their response.

3) Clearly, this can’t happen again.

4) That means that, barring any unforseen developments, I should complete my doctorate in 3 years.

5) That is to say that what you did here was not only unethical, it was also illegal.

6) Briefly stated, she felt threatened by her subordinate’s Superior intelligence.

7) Reiterated, you must have made a mistake.

8) Again, your leadership skills need some fine-tuning.

9) Put another way, I was grossly disappointed.

10) Notably, this center has always been at the center of Parisian culture.

11) Please take note that, effective immediately, I no longer want to a member of this institution.


[section title=”#8 Sequence, Order, Timing, Time Relations”]

  • First
  • Second
  • Next
  • After
  • Then
  • Last
  • Lastly
  • Finally
  • Before that
  • In conclusion
  • Contemporaneously
  • At the same time
  • Just then
  • Earlier
  • Later
  • Midway
  • Simultaneously



1) First, I have worked in Madrid.

2) Second, I speak Five languages which include Russian, Swahili, Chinese, French and English.

3) Next, he took his shirt off.

4) After, the boss yelled that she was an incompetent nincompoop.

5) Then, ,her mother started to cry.

6) Last, her husband asked for a divorce.

7) Lastly, I would just like to close by saying that I had a marvelous time and  would love to see you again.

8) Finally, please give my regards to your mom.

9) Before that, I worked at Ernst and Young.

10) In conclusion, I think what you did amounts to malfeasance.

11) The cars sped, contemporaneously, in opposite directions.

12) At the same time, I did not think she would have sunk so low as to spy on me from a key hole.

12) Just then, the doorbell rang.

13) Earlier, I plugged the keyhole with toilet tissue.

14) Later, the company hosted a cocktail soiree.

15) Midway through the conference, the speaker collapsed.

16) Simultaneously, the alarms sounded.


[section title=”#9 Comparisons, similarities and distinctions”]

  • Similarly
  • Likewise
  • In the same way
  • By contrast
  • Comparatively
  • Correspondingly
  • On the other hand
  • Conversely
  • In a like manner
  • On the flip side



1) Similarly, our firm should aim to be one of the top ten in the world.

2) Likewise, we should want to be the best.

3) In the same way, we should aim to be the best.

4) By contrast, the level of motivation needed to become the best is lacking in our firm.

5)  Comparatively speaking, these two languages could not be more different in terms of the amount of time it takes to achieve proficiency.

6) Correspondingly, the data for 2007 also shows a link between a change in administrative personnel and a drop in sales.

7) On the other hand, there is another way to interpret this data.

8) Conversely, when the same rules were applied in this situation, the outcome was not the same.

9) In a like manner, you should not do and say to others what you would not have them do and say to you.

10) On the flip side, social media advertising is very expensive.


[section title=”#10 Giving examples”]

  • For example
  • Example
  • Such as
  • For instance
  • To illustrate
  • Namely
  • Particularly
  • including
  • Notably



1) For example, this clause does not make sense.

2) Example: Mr Garrette was late 25 times this month.

3) I had numerous duties such as, responding to inquiries; doing research and assisting the director.

4) For instance, she lied Under oath.

5) To illustrate, lets suppose the two cars collided.

6) Namely: the high bulbs with high resolution tend to last longer than the others.

7) Particularly curious was the fact that he went surfing in weather such as that.

8) Including: shirts, pants and blouses.

9) Notably, this only happens on Wednesdays.


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business calls in English

Business Calls in English: 8 Tips for Mastering the Art of Telephoning in English with a Business purpose

Business calls in English can run the gamut from routine to very serious from friendly to hostile.  How you handle a business call will obviously depend on who, what, where, when and why you are communicating with the other person or persons.

Under normal circumstances, when people make business calls in English (or any other language, really)  it is usually to:

  1. confirm
  2. clarify
  3. inquire
  4. discover
  5. verify
  6. participate
  7. explain
  8. facilitate
  9. negotiate
  10. plan
  11. collaborate
  12. dispute

Depending on the reason for your call, your tone and actual words of communication will differ. Obviously, for instance, you would speak differently if you are “disputing” than if you are “collaborating.” And so forth.

If your English skills are below fluent and you have an important business telephone call to make, consider practicing or rehearing the call beforehand or role play with a friend or colleague whose English is better than yours.

This post is based on busines calls that lean more towards the friendly side than to the hostile side. While it does not cover every possible contingency, the goal is to give you at least a basic primer for making business calls in English.

8 Tips for Making Business Calls in English that Make the Professional Grade

  1. At the start of the call, identify yourself by name and if appropriate, by company, or the department in which you work.

For example, “Hello, this is John Smith with Merrill Lynch. I am calling from the asset management department. May I speak with Allain Duroc, Please? I need confirmation that the Lagos conference has been cancelled.”

2. Get familiar with modal verbs because it is impossible to have a business telephone conversation without them. (Obviously, you need to work on this long before you even make the call.)


  • May I speak with your supervisor, please?
  • Would you mind re-sending the fax? We were unable to read the last few lines.
  • Would that be all the information you need? Is there anything I can clarify further?
  • Can I help you with anything else? Keep in mind that the company never agreed to participate in this survey so my authority to give you more information is limited.
  • Should I include that report in the presentation? Do you think this would help to better explain the findings?
  • When will you arrive in Brussels? Should I make reservations for dinner?
  • Could you repeat that? I don’t know if I fully understood your line of reasoning.
  • Who was supposed to handle this client’s account? Because I’m afraid this person will be fired.
  • Where might I find the stock accounts in the file, do you know?

3. Review auxiliary verbs DO, BE and HAVE as these verbs are vital to business telephone conversations (obviously, you would need to do this long before you need to be making the business calls in English!)

Examples with BE (3 tenses)

  • I am delighted to speak with you finally after such a long time emailing each other.
  • I was in New York on business and apologize that I missed the meeting yesterday.
  • I will not be in the office next week so I would need to reschedule the conference call.

Examples with DO

  • I do believe I received your last email but I don’t remember if you answered this specific question.
  • Do you agree that this contract is one sided?
  • I don’t think Ariane is the right person for this assignment. We should send Paul instead.

Examples with HAVE

  • Hello Roman, this is Mike Dubke, do you have a minute for a quick discussion about the powerpoint?
  • Hello Janice, I am calling because I just realized you have not sent in your timesheets.
  • Have you got the updated files on a disk?

4. Review WH words (who, what, where, when, how) as these words are integral to conversation including Business calls in English.


  • Who might I say is calling?
  • What can I do for you?
  • Where are you calling from exactly?
  • When would be a good time to follow up with another phone call?
  • How can I help you?

Business calls in English

5. If you need the call to remain short and brief, ask closed ended questions (so that you can get a “yes” or “no” response); or say something like:

  •  “I received the latest figures. I can get this back to you on Friday. Would this work for you?”
  • “Hi John, I am calling to have a quick word on the new contract negotiations but I would like to keep it brief due to a meeting. Can you please clarify clause 5 on the second page?”



6. If you need to transfer the call:

  • Tell the person you will transfer him or her.
  • Give the person the extension number to which they are being transferred as well as the person they are being transferred to.
  • Alert the person receiving the transfer who is on the line and why they are being transferred.

7. Watch your manners and etiquette

For example:

  • Smile when possible as it can be heard in your voice
  • Say please, thank you, good morning, good evening, etc., when appropriate
  • Don’t yell and scream
  • Apologize when necessary
  • remain calm and classy
  • Don’t eat and chew gum
  • Use language and tone appropriate to the conversation
  • Turn off other interruptions such as cellphones, pagers, music and other devices
  • Avoid putting the person on hold to talk with colleagues.
  • Listen without interrupting

8. End the call in a professional manner

For example:

  • “Thank you for calling, have a good day.”
  • Thank you for you time this was very helpful.”
  • OK that sounds good. What is the best way to reach you if I have further questions?
  • It was good to speak with you, I will let the boss know that you called.
  • It is going to be great to collaborate with you on this project. Shall we talk tomorrow as scheduled just to finalize everything?
  • It’s confirmed. Thank you, goodnight.
  • I will verify that and get back to you ASAP. Take care, goodbye.
  • Ok Great, let’s talk again soon.
  • OK, I’ve got to run. Thank you for your assistance. Have a good day. Bye.
  • Have a nice day!

NEXT: Business English Role Play for Negotiation


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For, Since, During, While: What is the Difference Between These English Puppies? + QUIZ

Use “For” when:

You are talking about a duration of time that is non-specific. For example:

“I lived there for five years.” In this sentence, the speaker does not specify which five years he or she is talking about. Is it from 2001 – 2006? Is it five years during his or her teens? Was it a five year period ten years ago?

Consider this other sentence: “The meeting lasted for six minutes.”

Again, the speaker does not give a specific time frame, only a duration.  The listener does not know specifically when those six minutes began and ended.

For, Since, During, While
When do I use “For” “During” “Since” or “While”???

You use “since” when you:

Want to specify the time frame that something started or began. That thing is likely still continuing in the present time.  Note that “since” is often used with the present perfect and present continuous tenses. Remember that in English, the present perfect tense/present perfect continuous is used to talk about something that started in the past but has a connection to the present. However, also note that since can be used in other contexts/tenses as well. Since can be either a conjunction, adverb or preposition in English. As Tiphaine Borredon would say, “it’s complication!”

Read the examples below. Note that in each example, the action began at a time in the past but it is understood that the action continues to the moment the speaker is speaking:

  • Since when have you been jogging at midnight? (adverb)
  • I have been jogging at midnight since last year. (preposition)
  • I have despised broccoli since I was a child.  (preposition)
  • Since you have refused to remove your car from the parking spot for disabled people, I have no choice but to call the police. (conjunction)
  • I have taken French lessons since the age of eighteen. (preposition)

You use “during” when you:

Are referring to a specific period of time that has a specific beginning point and a specific ending point. During is a preposition and is usually followed by a noun or a noun clause in English.

So for example:

“I will go sightseeing during my vacation.” In this sentence the speaker (and probably the listener) knows exactly when the vacation will begin and end.


  • “I cry during sad movies.”
  • “I learned to cheat on tests during college.”
  • During the summer, I often go to Bretagne to visit my grandmother.
  • Are you free during lunch?
  • I have observed that during fire drills Peter goes into an asthma attack.
  • Come on, let’s go! You can eat during the car ride.
  • You will have a chance to see the Great Wall during the tour tomorrow.

You use “while” when you:

Talk about two actions that occur during the same span of time.  The two actions may be unrelated but they occur or will occur in the same time frame.  This use of while is as a conjunction. But “while” has many uses in English. It can be a conjunction, adverb, noun, verb or even sometimes a preposition! (Tiphaine! Complication!)


  • While you take a nap, I will cook dinner. (conjunction)
  • You can go for a walk while she is being interviewed. (conjunction)
  • Did you pass out while all of this was going on? (conjunction)
  • While John is prone to outbursts, Jason his twin brother is very calm. (conjunction)
  • My college years were a time for me to while away my youth (verb)
  • The hour while you wait for the doctor to update you is the hardest part of this medical procedure (adverb)
  • We can sit here for a while. (noun)

Note that “while” and “during” can often be used in the same sense but the structure of your sentence would change. For example:

  • While you take a nap, I will cook dinner.
  • During your nap, I will cook dinner.
  • You can go for a walk while she is being interviewed
  • You can go for a walk during her interview.
  • Did you  pass out while all of this was going on?
  • Did you pass out during all of this?



Read more on Since, While, For and During here.

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