English for business

A Trinity College London Registered Examination Centre


Nützliche Formulierungen

Describing the structure of a company

(company) director • board of directors • managing director (MD) chief executive officer (CEO) • president* • (senior) vice president* area/regional manager • senior/middle/junior manager • team/project leader

Interkulturelle Tipps

Saying ‘no’ politely

When doing business, most people find it much easier to agree with business partners than to disagree. Finding the right language for saying ‘no’ is also more difficult and this can lead to misunderstandings. In Great Britain, in particular, people tend to use polite phrases to soften their disagreement and they even say ‘yes’ or ‘I agree’ before they go on to explain what they really mean.

It is important to recognize such indirect language. Listen out for the word ‘but’ which is often a signal to show that the speaker is about to say what he/she really thinks! Typical phrases for a polite ‘no’ would be ‘Yes, I’d go along with that up to a point but …’, ‘I agree with you to some extent but …’, ‘Good idea, but we may have to …’. It is also important to try to use this more indirect language yourself as German-speakers often sound very direct and abrupt to English native speakers.


Natürliche, gesprochene Sprache unterscheidet sich stark von einer formellen Rede, einer sorgfältig ausgearbeiteten Präsentation o. Ä. Beim Gespräch verwenden wir (sowohl im Deutschen als auch im Englischen) oft kleine Wendungen – so genannte fillers – um Zeit zum Nachdenken zu gewinnen. Neben Äuße- rungen wie erm und um sind Wendungen wie well, you know, like, so to speak, I mean und how can I put this? typisch für den englischen Sprachgebrauch. Lassen Sie sich also von diesen fillers nicht verwirren, sondern konzentrieren Sie sich auf die Kernaussagen.



z.B. für Emails:

Hello Debbie

Thanks very much indeed for your email about the rival products from Harlequin and Thruflow. We had heard some rumours but I didn’t realize that their new pumps would be on the market so soon. I’ll look into it at my end and could you let me know if you hear any more news? Thanks again.

On another topic – just a reminder that I’m putting together the monthly sales report so could you let me have your sales figures asap? :-)

Very best


Time magazine called her one of the 100 most influential people in the digital world’. For more than 25-years, Carol Neuendorfer has funded some of America’s most successful young companies. We look at the all- American girl who became the co-founder of California’s best- known venture capital firm.



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