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Business English at RMIT

Check this post to find out course dates, homework and language learning tips. Lessons are at 8:30am on Tuesdays.

We've decided to work with Business Grammar Builder (BSB) by Paul Emmerson.

Useful resources

These include:

  • A good English language dictionary app such as the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary

  • Skell a corpus language tool - so you can find out how words are used in real life.

  • A good translation tool such as Deepl

  • BBC Learning English - follow on Facebook, Instagram or use the website

  • British Council - useful for grammar explanations

If you have time, it's also a good idea to start reading some of my blog posts on grammar, useful resources and learning tips.

I'd also like you to start watching videos in English. Here are some that you might like.

Lesson 26 - 19 September

We looked at unit 25 (make and do) which I would like you to finish for homework.

I also suggested that you write questions based upon the prompts from unit 24. This will give us lots to talk about in future lessons.

Lesson 25 - 12 September

We looked at unit 24 - the -ing form. In particular we practised 'be used to + 'ing'

  • I'm not used to eating breakfast

  • I'm not used to waking up early

  • The younger generation are not used to working hard

I reminded you of some important verbs followed by 'ing including enjoy, avoid, recommend, suggest and imagine.

For homework I'd like you to finish unit 24 and practise more sentences with 'be used to + 'ing'

Lesson 24 - 5 September

We finished our revision of past tenses (test 2) including 'used to' and past perfect (he had already done it). I was asked about the difference between 'in the beginning' and 'at the beginning' and suggested that people use Skell and Ngrams to investigate this. Here are the links

Skell - in the beginning

Skell - at the beginning

Ngrams - in the beginning and at the beginning

Lesson 23 - 29 August

Today we did some revision of the vocabulary we learned last week and started to revise past tenses (test 2). Vocabulary we discussed included the words from 15 August and asSERtive, comPETitors, CRITicicsm, parTICularly, PHOTograph and phoTOGrapher. Next week we'll continue with test 2. Homework is to learn the irregular verbs on p.240 - 241. I suggest you learn 7 each week.

Lesson 22 - 22 August

Today we finished Test 1 on present tenses and looked at Unit 23 - phrasal verbs 2.

Lesson 21- 15 August

In today's lesson we did some revision on present tenses - pages 210 - 211. Vocabulary we learned included reliable, currently, recently and subsidiary. We always practised the pronunciation of words including reliable, fraud, hotel, heard, nowadays and chocolates.

Lesson 20 - 8 August

Today we talked about transitive and intransitive verbs:

  • The sun rises (intransitive)

  • The company raised its prices last week (transitive)

We also practised using words like suggest, describe and explain and talked about the difference between lend and borrow.

No lessons on Tuesday 25th July and Tuesday 1st August.

Lesson 19 - 18 July

This week we continued with verb patterns - looking at words such as remember, regret, try and stop which can be followed by +'ing or + to + inf with a change in meaning.

We learned the meaning of bribe, resent and resilient and did some word transformation with words such as decide, persuade, acquire and resent. We also talked about the difference between investment banking and commercial banking.

For homework, please finish unit 20.

If you have time, I'd also like you to start watching videos in English. Here are some that you might like.

Lesson 18 - 11 July

In today's lesson we looked at verb patterns. Verbs including avoid, imagine, suggest, recommend and consider are followed by 'ing verbs whereas many verbs are followed by the more usual to + infinitive pattern.

The vocabulary we discussed included advertise, persuade, persuasion and persuasive and (manufacturing) plant.

For homework, please finish unit 19 and try this Quizlet set.

Lesson 17 - 4 July

Today we practised the third conditional and learned some different ways of expressing 'if'. The vocabulary we talked about included significantly, range, slid and slide. We also talked about the pronunciation of PRESent (n) and preSENT (v).

As usual, I'd like you to finish the unit for homework.

You can also read this interview with Usain Bolt to see the third conditional being used in real life.

Lesson 16 - 27 June

You all did very well with the first and second conditional.

  • First - What will you do if...

  • Second - What would you do if...

I learned that if you find money in the street you are obliged to hand it in (it's ok if it is 10chf or less) and that I shouldn't be worried about seeing a tiger in the forest as there are no longer any big cats in Zurich Zoo.

Vocabulary we discussed included labour force, contract (make smaller), unsustainable, extinct and proportionate. 'What's in it for me?' is a direct way of asking why you should do something.

Lesson 15 - 20 June

We looked at indirect questions and question tags and how to make small talk. Next week we'll look at conditionals.

Lesson 14 - 13 June

Can you remember what we talked about today? Here's a quick reminder:

  • 'ing forms

  • questions

  • modal verbs - being polite

  • contracted forms (I'll = I will)

  • using there are instead of we are

Some of you also learned a few new words including forecast, major and cold spell.

For homework please finish units 14 and 15 and read page 70. See you next week!

Lesson 13 - 6 June

Today we continued with unit 3 modal verbs and you realised that you already knew a lot of the answers. The vocabulary we discussed included shortage, misery, deduction (Ableitung), defined and transcends. We also talked about the pronunciation of verbs ending in -ed.

For homework I'd like you to review some of what we have done already. There are tests in the back of the book that you can try. Please also read page 62.

Finally, if you want to start watching more videos in English, I've added a link to one of my blog posts with some of my favourite recommendations. (See the top of this page in useful resources).

Lesson 12 - 30 May

Today we brainstormed some learning strategies including the following:

  • ask questions - classmates, teacher, other people

  • answer questions

  • take notes

  • practice

  • repeat

  • pay attention

  • use resources - friends, online, teacher

  • set goals

  • look at the explanations in the book

  • compare to what you already know

We also compared must and have to and learned:

  • Must can be tricky to use

  • Have to generally sounds friendlier

  • Must not = darf nicht (not muss nicht)

I also told you how to say 'Bauchgefühl' in English. If you can't remember, ask Deepl.

As usual the homework is to finish the unit we did in class. Today that was unit 12. It's also a good idea to read the explanations for unit 13. This means we'll be able to do the questions more quickly and you'll have more time to practice speaking.

Have a great week everyone!

PS If you would like to read some more articles in English or watch some interesting videos, check out these two pages on my website.

General topics

Business topics

Lesson 11 - 23 May (unit 11)

We practised using modal verbs today (can/could, will/would, may/might, shall/should and must). In terms of vocabulary we learned that 'overhear' doesn't mean 'überhören and that akquierieren is now used in German for the English word acquire in business contexts. Homework is to finish unit 11. It is also a good idea to read the explanations on page 54 (unit 12) before the lesson.

Lesson 10 - 16 May

We did more work on the passive today (unit 10) and talked about disruptive industries.

I’d still like you to watch the video I mentioned (see below) – it really is very short but at the same time, very informative.

And, for those of you who want to practice the passive in a different way, here is a quick quiz on Kahoot. Good luck and see you all next week.

Lesson 9 - 9 May

Today the passive voice was practiced. The vocabulary we discussed included fermentation, distillation, admittance, foreign and discourage. You asked me the English word for 'Mahnung' - I'm not sure there is a single equivalent. In England a reminder would be sent, then a final reminder. If the debt has still not been paid a county court judgement can be sought and enforced.

If you have time, I'd like you to watch this short video about practising effectively. It will give you some ideas about how you can improve your English. You can use subtitles if you want or read the transcript. It's also possible to slow down the audio in settings.

Next time we'll look at unit 10.

Lesson 8 - 2 May

Today we continued looking at future tenses noting that 'will' isn't used after certain words such as 'when' and 'until'. We learned vocabulary including GDP (BIP in German), odd and even numbers, and ambiguous (which can be deliberate or unintentional). For homework I'd like you to finish unit 8 and do some quick research on Skell comparing the words produce, product and goods. (You'll see that Skell can be useful but does have some limitations.)

No lesson - 25 April

Lesson 7 - 18 April

Unit 7 BSB - future tenses. We also looked at the pronunciation of corporate and sew and talked about the expression 'I won't be long' - it's fine in English but it would be strange to say 'Ich werde nicht lang sein' in German. I suggested you use Skell to see how words such as perhaps and maybe are used. One final thing I noticed but forgot to correct is that the word imagine is followed by an 'ing verb.

I can't imagine doing it (not I can't imagine to do it)

Lesson 6 - 11 April

Unit 6 BSB. The grammar topic was past simple, present perfect simple and present perfect continuous.

In addition, we talked about the different ways of learning a language such as using explanations, comparing sentences or translating to a different language. We also learned that some sentences can be interpreted in more ways than one. Please finish unit 6 for homework

Lesson 5 - 28 March

Today we did unit 5 in BSB. We also talked about uncountable nouns such as advice, information and feedback, going on secondment and using auxiliary do to make questions and negatives. For homework, I'd like you to finish Unit 5.

Lesson 4 - 21 March

Try to finish unit 3 of BSB before the lesson. We'll look at unit 4 in the lesson.

Today we talked about pronunciation of words such as debt, talk, register and Lisbon. We also looked at past perfect, used to and would.

Read this blog post here to find out more about past habit would, including the link to the article I mentioned.

Lesson 3 - 14 March

We've decided to work with Business Grammar Builder by Paul Emmerson. Please try to buy a copy before next week's lesson. In today's lesson we learned vocabulary such as stocks and shares and rallied. We also practised past simple and past continuous.

We looked at the different ways -ed can by pronounced (compare turned, wanted and talked).

Lesson 2 - 7 March

We'll work from Business Grammar Builder. We talked about state verbs, simple and continuing forms (sometimes both are ok), pronunciation and word stress (deVELop). If you have time, finish the unit we worked on today.

Lesson 1 - 28 February

We introduced ourselves and started with unit 1 (present tenses) in Destination B2. Next week we'll try a business English book and then you can decide which you prefer. Homework - if you have time, try to finish pages 8 and 9 in Destination. (Send me an email if you want the answers).

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