Business can sometimes mean company or firm. However, can it be used in the way company or firm are used?

For example, can I say:-

  • "He is the CEO of the business."

  • "It's a TV business."

  • "A business dealing with drugs."

  • 2
    This seems to be general reference. See, for example, senses 1 through 7 (except perhaps 5) at business in wiktionary. – James Waldby - jwpat7 May 4 '12 at 16:33
  • Company and firm are not the same to a lawyer. – Tim Lymington Jan 19 '14 at 14:11

You could say all of those things in certain contexts. It would depend on what went before and what came after.

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  • can you give an example ? – Sethunath May 5 '12 at 7:32
  • @Sethunath: Not really. The possibilities are numerous. – Barrie England May 5 '12 at 8:29

Short answer: Yes.

All those examples make sense.

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Answer: Yes!! (Not always though..)

Let's consider your examples again,

Acceptable- "He is the CEO of the (biggest) business (in the history)."

Incorrect- "He is the CEO of (the/our) business."

Acceptable- "It's a TV (making) business."

Incorrect- "It's a TV business."

Informally acceptable- "A business dealing with drugs." (Should be "in" instead or "with".)

So, as Barrie already pointed out, the usage usually depends on what came before and what follows the sentence. The word 'business' doesn't necessarily always mean a company.

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  • Why down-vote? It's alright if I provided incorrect information but one should at least care to leave a comment for down-voting an answer. – Fr0zenFyr May 5 '12 at 3:41
  • I didn't down vote, but all the cases you mark as incorrect sound fine to me. – Justin May 24 '12 at 17:25

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