If you’ve ever worked in a busy office where the majority of employees speak English, there have probably been a handful of times when you didn’t quite catch the meaning of a phrase used in conversation. Instead of interrupting the flow, you most likely just continued on without fully grasping the topic of discussion. Just as we mix expressions into our daily conversations at the grocery store or cafe, we often sprinkle our workplace conversations with phrasal verbs and idiomatic expressions, making it all the more challenging to follow. So to help you out, I’ve created a list of 10 of the most commonly used phrasal verbs in the business world:

 

1.LOOK INTO:

To examine the facts about a problem or situation

 

Let’s take a look at a typical conversation using this phrasal verb.

 

A: We can’t figure out why our numbers are dropping in China.

B: We are looking into the matter and will give you a full report on Friday.

 


 

2.CATCH UP ON STH:

To do something you did not have time to do earlier

 

An office conversation might go something like this:

 

A: When do you think you’ll be able to start on the new BMW account?

B: I have to catch up on some paperwork and then I’ll get started.


 

 

3.RUN STH BY S/O

To tell someone about something, to make sure they understand or approve

 

Let’s see it in use

 

A: Have you talked to Sarah about using those images for the first issue?

B: I forgot, I’ll run it by her this afternoon during our meeting.

 


 

4. GET BACK TO S/O

To communicate with someone at a later time

 

Here’s an example of a typical workplace dialogue

 

A: Has Molly from marketing got back to you with those numbers yet?

B: Not yet, I will send her an email ASAP.*

 

*As soon as possible


5. CALL OFF

 

To cancel

 

Let’s drop in on a conversation

 

A: I heard the meeting was called off because Diane is sick.

B: What a relief! I have so much work to catch up on.


6. PENCIL IN

To put (someone or something that may be changed later) on a schedule, list, etc.

 

A typical conversation might sound like this

 

A: Pencil me in for lunch on Tuesday.

B: Looking forward to it. See you next week.


7. ASK AROUND

To talk to several people in order to get or learn something

Let’s see it in use

 

A: Do you know a good graphic designer in Brooklyn. We need to hire someone freelance for a couple projects.

B: I’ll ask around and see if I can find someone.


 

8. SORT OUT

To find an answer or solution for something

 

A typical conversation might go like this

 

A: We had a very productive week. We sorted out a lot of problems.

B: I agree, I hope things continue this way.

 


9. CLOSE DOWN

 

To stop operating

 

A: Did you hear they are closing down the Miami branch.

B: Yea, I just got the email this morning. I heard they are laying off a lot of people.

 

 


10: LAY OFF

 

To fire(staff)

 

A: I heard they are laying off a lot of people because of the recession.

B: I think we’ll be ok. We’re the biggest branch in the US.

 


CHECK OUT OUR COURSES AT BSL

Learn English in Brooklyn, NYC. Small and Intensive English classes at our ESL school in New York. Standard, Semi-intensive, Intensive (for F1 students)Individual, Combined, and Business English programs.

Our  Business English Course is suited for all upper-intermediate and advanced level professionals from recent college graduates to seasoned executives looking to improve workplace performance through English. This multi-skill course provides authentic practice for students who need to develop their English speaking and communication skills in a professional context.

BY CORY KENY

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