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Questions tagged [business-language]

Terminology, etiquette, and conventions used when doing business in English.

110
votes
11answers
125k views

Can “thanks in advance” be considered rude? [closed]

Some argue that because “thanks in advance” is written before any help has been offered, it adds an expectation of help and thus can be considered presumptuous. Is this reasonable? Would it be ...
43
votes
18answers
11k views

Word for a task which is flawed or doomed to failure but which you have to do anyway?

I'm looking for a word which describes a task which I think is poorly designed and will lead to either mediocre results or failure, but which I have to do anyway, especially in a work setting. The ...
38
votes
4answers
383k views

Meaning of “reach out to somebody”

The dictionary explains this as: To show somebody that you are interested in them and/or want to help them The explanation indicates the subject of the sentence is the one that offers help, but I ...
34
votes
15answers
25k views

What is “a room a company provides for eating food” called?

Companies provide a room which has tables and chairs. In some companies, the room may have other things such as refrigerators and microwaves. I have been calling this place pantry, but I noticed that ...
33
votes
19answers
73k views

Euphemism for diarrhea

I've recently been having diarrhea and may be calling in sick to work tomorrow. I work at a small company, so typically this involves emailing my manager and team with something like this: Hi team,...
28
votes
8answers
25k views

Can or should “ask” ever be used as a noun?

"The ask is that you provide me with..." I started hearing "ask" being used as a noun a few years ago. Is this a recent trend? Is it an East Coast thing, unique to North America, or just unique to ...
21
votes
3answers
58k views

“Firstname” or “First Name”?

In filling out forms, I'm starting to see a lot of this: Firstname: xx Lastname: yy Is it generally acceptable to join the words like that? Or should we be sticking to: First Name: xx ...
20
votes
8answers
119k views

What is the meaning of the expression “We can table this”?

This came up in an email discussion - we are arguing about the merits and demerits of a certain approach, and I mentioned what I thought was a drawback to a scheme. To that, my colleague replied : "...
19
votes
11answers
6k views

Short word to describe someone wearing smartglasses [closed]

My company is developing smart eyewear and I'm looking for a short word to describe the users of our smartglasses for English documents. The ideal wording would be understandable by British, US, and ...
19
votes
6answers
14k views

Asking female employees to come to my room [closed]

I have a few female employees working at my office, and being a manager, I need to text them via Skype or Messenger to come to my room. How can I ask them politely to come? Please come to my room ...
17
votes
6answers
4k views

Nice expression for saying “I need to actually do the entire task just to check if it is doable”

So my client is asking to quickly tell him if a certain task is doable. But there is no way of just quickly checking its feasibility except for actually performing the entire task. How do I intimate ...
16
votes
4answers
80k views

Meaning of “catch you on the flip side”

I received an email from a coworker, and we're not that friendly. Actually, we're not friends at all, just two good colleagues. In his email, he wrote as his last sentence Catch you on the flip ...
15
votes
8answers
65k views

“Does it make sense?” or “Do you understand me?”? [closed]

Suppose I tell something to my companion and I want to make sure he understands me. I thought I may simply ask "Do you understand me?". But recently I heard that in such cases I should ask "Does that ...
13
votes
5answers
39k views

How to use the term “carbon copy” in business emails?

How does one use the term "carbon copy" in an email setting? Some options that come to mind are: In carbon copy is my manager. I'm leaving my manager in carbon copy. My manager is in carbon copy. ...
13
votes
1answer
102k views

“personal issue”, “private issue”, “personal affair”, or “personal business”?

I need to send my boss mail explaining that because of a personal issue I need to handle, I can’t attend the conference. Which of these phrases would best express that I have my own business to deal ...
12
votes
10answers
63k views

Politer word to refer to a 'cleaner'

Is there a polite way to refer to someone who is responsible for cleaning at work?
12
votes
3answers
310k views

What is the best answer to the question “How are you” in business meetings? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When someone asks, “How are you?” Every time when my colleges from USA ask me "How are you?" I don't know what should I answer. I think that answer like "Fine, thanks. What ...
11
votes
14answers
7k views

Alternative to “queer the deal”?

The phrase queer at­ti­tude used to be com­mon­place, sim­ply mean­ing a strange at­ti­tude or un­help­ful be­hav­ior. Un­for­tu­nately in the present era, I once used that phrase and sadly of­fended ...
11
votes
8answers
84k views

Is “solutioning” a correct word?

My Outlook flags the word "solutioning" as a spelling mistake. According to Urban Dictionary : solutioning: A word many business people misuse to describe the process of creating a solution. ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Is there a word that means “this deal will not involve credit”?

I was buying a car, and the salesman started to talk about credit terms. I responded with "I'm paying cash", meaning that I didn't need any credit. However, the salesman was worried that I was about ...
11
votes
8answers
33k views

What is a one-person business called?

I'm wondering what is the term for the person, that is doing business on his/her own and has tax liability. It's different in each country, I'd like to know how they are called in USA and UK.
11
votes
5answers
60k views

Appropriate to start business email or letter with just “Dear,”?

Is it appropriate to start a business letter or email with just "Dear,"? I specifically refer to the case where there is no noun following "Dear,", so no "Dear All,", or "Dear Mr.,", or "Dear ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Is the language used in patents archaic or intentionally obtuse? [closed]

Example: [f] moving said second cart to said proximate end of said scanning device so that said trays in said second cart be passed through said scanning device at said proximate end. Is the ...
11
votes
2answers
30k views

Use of “deadpool” as a verb

I recently came across this term while examining a set of properties in a JSON feed relating to a startup company: ... "deadpooled_year": null, "deadpooled_month": null, "deadpooled_day": null, "...
11
votes
7answers
19k views

Why “line of business” applications?

In software, why do we talk about line-of-business applications (sometimes abbreviated to LOB)? Why not just business applications? So it's useful to distinguish between general software (like email ...
10
votes
9answers
4k views

What is the plural of Prius?

What would be the correct plural of Prius, and why? A Latin professor would say Prium’s the best...
10
votes
3answers
50k views

Which preposition to use in “communication [over, by, through, via, with] email”? [closed]

Which of these is most correct, and why? Our team kept in constant communication over email. Our team kept in constant communication by email. Our team kept in constant communication through email. ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Is the word “clinic”, as in a basketball clinic, a natural and “warm” choice compared to alternatives such as “camp” and “program”? [closed]

I'm developing a website for a client who provides physical education programs for elementary schools. The client frequently uses the word clinic to refer to his more targeted sports programs for kids,...
9
votes
3answers
42k views

What does it mean to “pay X on the dollar”?

When I hear money laundry lingo in TV crime-series, people sometimes fence stuff for so and so much "on the dollar". What does it actually mean? And where does the expression originate from?
8
votes
4answers
16k views

What is the best antonym for “Approve” in the context of approving a business-related application

I work a lot with business applications and traditionally I've used the word "disapprove" as the counterpart to application approvals (e.g. disapprove leave application, disapprove waiver). But I've ...
8
votes
3answers
10k views

Is “premises” always plural?

On-premises ... On-premise I see these terms frequently used to describe software systems hosted within a company's datacenter vs. software systems hosted externally by a third party (in the "cloud")....
8
votes
1answer
10k views

An alternative to “stakeholder”

Here's a sentence taken from an executive memo, "Action item: get feedback from stakeholders on SuperDongle 9000". Is there something that can replace "stakeholder"? The word is not being used ...
8
votes
2answers
285 views

Non-union-affiliated shop steward

I'm looking for an English word or short phrase to convey a meaning which is similar to “union representative” or “shop steward”, except that the person in question is not (necessarily) associated ...
7
votes
9answers
5k views

Antonym of 'Cascade'

In our company, at the beginning of year, we have what is known as Goals Cascading. Essentially, the senior most people in the firm set goals for the entire firm and then the people at the next level ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

“Space” as a synonym for industry, sector or business segment

When, and from where, did "space", as a synonym for industry, sector, or business segment, enter the language? For example, one wouldn't expect to read "His family made a fortune in the buggy whip ...
6
votes
6answers
53k views

“Out of the box” — when should I use this phrase?

I send a lot of unsolicited emails. In many of them, I ask to buy traditional advertising spots or to help conceive a non-traditional campaign. Oftentimes, I find myself describing these non-...
6
votes
3answers
679 views

Word to describe a company that pretends to do the right thing? [closed]

What word(s) would you use to describe a business or company that pretends to do the legal/right thing regarding employees, but in reality the company does not care. This issue pertains to legalities ...
6
votes
2answers
4k views

When to use decline for polite refusal and when not to

In a business English class: One of my students said: "I decline your report." I said that was wrong, but I couldn't think of a concrete reason, or rule for when I can use decline as a polite ...
6
votes
1answer
480 views

OED Appeals: Antedatings of “headhunter”

The OED has made a public appeal for help in tracing the history of some English words, including: headhunter noun earlier than 1960 The tribal practice of decapitating enemies and ...
6
votes
3answers
61k views

Why do many forms ask for initials instead of full names?

I have seen a lot of forms that ask for the name (first name, middle name, last name) and then initials. Why does anyone want to ask for initials? Isn't initials the first letters of the name? For ...
6
votes
4answers
200k views

“Principal” vs “owner”

What is the business perception of identifying yourself as the Principal vs the Owner? I assume they are largely synonymous (please tell me if there are subtle differences, but in a small business ...
6
votes
3answers
6k views

alternatives for “guy”

I'm working in an English big company in Germany. Everybody speak English but most of us as second, or third language. One thing I noticed is that we are all "guys" in the office: "Ask the guy up ...
6
votes
7answers
158 views

Term between 'mentoring' & 'rubber ducking'

This may be a Programmers Stack Exchange question, but I don't think so, because I don't believe there is an accepted term for this in the industry, so I turn to all of you for suggestions. Say I'm ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Etymology of “gladhand” (truck hose coupler)

References for "glad hand" in its common meaning of "effusive but perhaps insincere greeting" seem easy to find [1], and it's easy to find definitions for the truck-hose-coupler meaning of gladhand [2]...
6
votes
3answers
23k views

Difference in usage of terms “company” and “firm”

In a meaning of officially registered and bounded business unit. Like "Microsoft" or "Apple" or "ZARA" or copy shop round the corner. In some books on management/entrepreneurship authors use both ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Usage of without in conjunction with within

In my experience, the word "without" is generally used as a preposition to describe some action for example: I went to Paris without my bag. I believe though, that I have heard it used with ...
6
votes
4answers
16k views

Is “Where do you sit?” correct for asking someone where their workspace is?

At work, if I had to ask someone where exactly they worked, as in where their workspace/cubicle is, what should I say? Is "where do you sit?" the usual thing to say? I'm from India and hear this ...
6
votes
9answers
320 views

Name of a Product that Fixes the Problems Created by Another Product

At work today, I was having a discussion with a coworker. He believes that there is a specific name for the scenario or marketing strategy where a company creates a product that was designed to ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

Company Name as Verb [duplicate]

I am looking for interesting classroom material. Google is both the name of a company and also a verb. Is there a name for this type of verb? Are there any other examples of this type of verb?
5
votes
2answers
2k views

How should one answer a business phone?

I am still a bit confused how to receive an external phone call at work. Browsing the internet I find: * Hello? (informal) * Thank you for calling Boyz Autobody. Jody speaking. How can I help you? * ...