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News Flash for English Learners

We are very proud to have launched a brand new service for our Student Plan and Pro Plan subscribers. News Flash is an amazing new learning aid that makes news for English leaners even more useful and effective.

If you are learning English then you will know how useful news articles can be. They are an interesting way to learn new phrases and vocabulary, they are a great talking point around which you can practice your English with other students, friends and family and they can be very useful for people learning English for business.

However, no matter how useful news articles can be it is often hard to find news specifically written for people learning English. Often news for English learners can be out of date and not very useful as news. Not with Perfectly Spoken! News Flash is a news service for English learners that is powered by news coming direct from Reuters so you know it is accurate, unbiased and up to date!

Real and Authentic

News is not only topical and a good learning aid it also helps English learners understand and use real and authentic phrases and words. Real news uses real words and the vocabulary people use in it are up to date and real. Real language is so important when learning English, it helps students understand the English native speakers use and good quality English news is a great place to get this kind of content. Not only is our news real it is also high quality from one of the best news agencies in the world.

So Much More than Just News!

Of course, you can expect the latest news articles, video and audio stories but we are offering more than just a chance to learn about what is happening in the world. Our News Flash service also has special tasks carefully created for Elementary, Intermediate and Advanced English students. These tasks help you understand more, learn and comprehend new vocabulary and phrases and test yourself to see how well you did. We carefully select news stories and then create tasks for each learning level; this means no matter what English level you are you can understand and learn using our News Flash service.

A Few Minutes

We know most people do not have hours to read the news. we know that most people learning English online are doing so along side working or studying. So our News Flash stories and short and direct. They only take a few minutes to read or watch and then you can take the test to see how much you have learned.

Find Out More

If you would like to find out more about News Flash – Powered by Reuters then please Click Here. This amazing new service is available to Student Plan and Pro Plan Subscribers along with hours of the best quality online English lessons available, tests, useful additional content and more.



Why It’s OK to Ask People to Speak Slowly or Repeat Something in a Business Meeting

When you are learning English for business there will come a time where you are using you new skill in a business meeting. The meeting could be online via Skype, on the phone or in person, it could be a presentation and it can be tough! But do not worry, the challenges are something a lot of people go through and they are not something to be embarrassed about. In this blog we look at some of the issues around asking people to slow down and help you understand.

The Same Thing Twice

What a lot of people do when asked to repeat something because someone doesn’t understand is say the same thing again. This is really no help at all. They think you simply may not have heard them properly but the real reason to ask them to repeat is that you didn’t understand the terms or vocab they used. It is important to state this when asking them to repeat. It is perfectly OK to say “sorry, I don’t understand that phrase, can you explain” rather than saying “sorry, I didn’t get that”


People from different parts of any country will speak differently. But people learning English who live in different countries will also speak differently. So how someone speaks can be a really big challenge in a business meeting. It may be you are talking to a English company but you find the accent very hard to understand. It is not offensive to politely say “I am very sorry, I find your lovely accent hard to understand”. You can complement them on it and ask where they are from and most people will be happy to talk about their home town and help you understand them. It may be useful to ask any colleagues before the meeting about any strong accents so you can prepare a little or have them be ready to help you if you get stuck.

Details and Notes

There are certain points that come up in meetings that are important. it might be an e mail address or a website, it could be a phone number or some important meeting points. It is really important you are confident you have the correct details in this situation. Do not be afraid to ask the person to slow down while you write it all down and then confirm the details. On online meetings you can ask someone to simply write these details in the chat window to make sure they are correct. But getting it wrong because you didn’t ask to clarify could cause problems later on. Be confident and make sure you have the right details.

Slow Down

Most business meetings would benefit from everyone slowing down and making sure all the point are covered properly. It is important you are feel confident to ask other team members or clients to slow down so you can understand them properly. You are learning a new language and it is something to be proud of, but you cannot learn it all from the beginning. Most people will be happy to go over anything and help support you, and that bit of extra time is far better than a list of confused notes and mistakes because you chose not to say say you didn’t understand.


A Simple Guide to Brexit Vocabulary

Whatever country you are in you have probably heard about Britain leaving the EU. It is a very complex situation and people learning English with a view to working or studying in the UK or with people from the UK may find it useful to understand a bit more about it. Some people are very passionate about this subject and can get angry about different sides of the argument. It is really important to be careful about discussing this topic with people from the UK at work or other places. However, understanding some of the key terms used can be very useful!

Here is a short list of the main vocabulary and terms used when talking about Brexit. Understanding and being able to use these terms will make understanding Brexit a lot easier.

Article 50

When the UK joined the EU it agreed to all the rules and Article 50 is part of the agreement that allows any country to leave the EU. An article is simply part of an agreement like a chapter of a book.

No Deal

This simply means that the UK will leaving the European Union with no agreement relating to trade or anything else. This is an extreme situation and one that many people fear while others feel it would be OK.

WTO Rules

The WTO is the World Trade Organisation. This organisation sets trade fees that countries who do not have a trade agreement use. It is a base line way of doing business with any country when no discussions and agreements are made. Often WTO rules are more expensive than trade deals agreed between countries so buying and selling with countries under the WTO rules costs more.

Transition Period

Transition means change and this period of time after the UK leaves the EU was agreed to help both sides plan how their relationship would work. For the transition period to be started the UK would need to agree the plan Theresa May had negotiated with the EU. During this period the UK could not have any kind of say in any EU laws but would still have to abide by the existing rules.


This is one a lot of people have heard of but most people do not understand. At the moment Ireland is split into two countries; Northern Ireland which is part of the UK and The Republic of Ireland which is a separate country. At the moment there is no border between the two countries so goods and people can move freely. Because the Republic of Ireland is in the EU and wants to stay there there is a lot of confusion about if there should be a border once the UK leaves the EU. The backstop is a an agreement between the UK and EU that there will be no Irish border during the transition period while a solution is found. It is a very contentious issue and one that it is best to avoid talking about.

Brexit is very complex but it will be an important part of UK history and whatever happens will affect living an working in the UK for millions of people for many years to come. Learning about it while learning English may be useful.

Why Learning English Isn’t Just for Working in English Speaking Countries

One of the main reasons people learn English is for work. For thousands of people the desire to travel and to work and build a career in an English-speaking country is a big reason to learn English online. But there are other benefits to learning English when it comes to work even in countries that do not use English as a main language.


As a lot of people from non English-speaking countries want to travel and work in other places, so do people from English speaking countries like the UK and the USA. But a lot of people in English speaking countries also want to work in other places too. Many of them learn Spanish, Portuguese, German or other languages so they can travel and work away from home. Why does these mean learning English can help? Well, if you are from Spain, for example, and you are working abroad you may be working with someone who speaks English, and this can help build better relationships. They may enjoy speaking their native language with you and it also shows you know another language.

International Business

You may be working in a country that doesn’t use English but the company you work for may deal with companies from countries that do. Being able to speak English may be very helpful to the company and could be useful in getting promotion! A lot of large companies use English as the international language, so it is a very useful one to learn. It means you could speak easily with clients overseas as well as colleagues that may be based in English speaking countries.

International Business Events

Once again, while you may not wish to work in a country that uses English as the main language. However, you may have the chance to go to a conference or a large business event in a country that does. Being able to speak English may be very useful in making new connections and interacting with other people in your industry. It may also mean you understand some more of the key note speakers and more.

Learning English is Very Useful

Even if you are not speaking English every day in the company you work for knowing English is very useful for international business in all forms. Perfectly Spoken offer a range of free online English lessons and specific advanced business courses for those who want to invest more in business English.


3 British Sayings You Can Use Anywhere

Just like every other language there are sayings in English that are used to say things differently. These sayings are often called idioms. They are common across all countries and are often funny or they are a simple way of describing something complicated. Nearly all sayings come from history, many were created a long time ago and some use historic language too.

Understanding Sayings

Being able to understand saying is an important part of learning English. Using them at the right time can make people laugh, it can also really show you understand English and it can help build relationships with friends, new family and people at work.

Below are just 3 English sayings that may be useful at work, home or school.

Open a can of worms

This is a very common saying. It is quite a complicated saying. A can of worms is a very messy subject that once started may end up being a lot of work, trouble, effort or time. For example; you may suggest at work that someone tidy the office cupboard. But people who have worked there a long time know that if you start trying to do that you will find more and more things to tidy and it could take all day. They might say “do not do that, it’s a can of worms” or “do not open that can of worms”. It can also be used when talking about people who may get upset or want to talk a lot about something. You may think it is best not to mention a certain subject as it is a can of worms.

Don’t Shoot the Messenger

Again, this is a very common saying and one that it can be very useful to understand. It is quite a simple one to understand. It is something a person may say if they tell you something bad and you are angry with them. However, they were not the person that did anything wrong; just the person that told you. They may say “hey, don’t shoot the messenger”. By this they mean do not be angry at the person who told you the bad news as they are just the messenger.

Skeleton Staff

This is a very useful saying for word. A skeleton staff is a way of describing having very few people working. In fact it means having the least amount of people working somewhere while still keeping it going. So this might be used over a holiday period perhaps. When no customers are coming in the manager may suggest running a skeleton staff of just 2 people to make sure the shop is OK. Normally there may be 10 people working but a skeleton staff is enough when it is not busy.



Work Language – Idioms and Sayings

It is very common for people to use different words and sayings around friends and family to when they are a work or School. This is something that is very natural when speaking your native language but it can be very hard if you are learning English at any level.

Bad Taste

Using the wrong word or phrase at work can be very bad. It can be rude if the terms is simply something you would only use with close friends or for humour. But if the timing is wrong it can also be in what is called “bad taste”. This describes something that is not rude but is also not very nice. It is not the same as simply insulting someone, it is more subtle. Think of a food that doesn’t taste very good and then image a phrase or word being just like that.


It is certainly common in English to swear among friends, or in anger. A lot of British humour uses rude words and many jobs will be filled with people who use swear words. It is VERY important to understand when swearing is OK and when it can be so rude it could mean losing your job. The best thing to do is simply not use swear words. This is the only way to be sure you will not offend someone. But, in some cases swearing a small amount can help with working relationships. Until you are very confident at speaking English avoid swearing. If you need help, ask a friend. If you have heard a word you should test it out with someone who knows the language and ask when it is OK to use. Using the wrong word with the boss could be a very big problem.

Idioms and Sayings

Idioms are a big part of the English language but they must be used properly. Using them at the wrong time can simply be funny, and if other people know you are learning English they will not be offended. But in some cases they can cause problems.

Below are some examples of idioms that are fine to use at work

  • Bark up the wrong tree
  • The straw the broke the camel’s back
  • Sitting on the fence
  • A night owl
  • An early bird

This all describe things that are not offensive and could easily fit into a work conversation.

Below are some idioms that may not work so well at work

  • To cost a bomb
  • Up the creek without a paddle
  • Has the cat got your tongue?
  • Too big for your boots

These idioms are all potentially a little rude or are related to rude words. To cost a bomb is very casual and not appropriate for work. The last two are normally used when telling someone they have done something wrong and also not very common at work and certainly not good to use when speaking to the boss.

How Learning Better English Can Help With Linkedin

Linkedin is a powerful tool and one that is used right across the business world. It is great for people looking for new jobs, people learning more about their own careers and much more. However, how people communicate on LinkedIn can have a very big impact on if they are successful. Approaching people with badly written messages in the hope of getting a job does not work very well, and the same goes for commenting and joining in with discussions. For many people Linkedin is a great way to look for work in the UK and other English speaking countries but to be successful you need to make sure your English is good enough.

Conversations and Comments

One way to be successful on Linkedin is to join in with discussions, comment of articles and posts and join groups. This is a great way of interacting with other users in a less formal way and also being noticed. It is really important to say useful and interesting things in comments so that people reply to you and engage with you. If your English is not as good as you would like you may notice people do not comment and reply as much as they do with other people. This may be because they are not sure what you meant or they feel you may not understand their reply. By improving your English and earning more your comments and discussion points will get more response and help you build more connections.

Linking with People

If you have a shared interest or you frankly want to work with someone you can just request to connect. Along with this connection you can add a message. Once again, if the message is written in poor English this may put the person off and they may not accept your request. Do not forget, most people get connection requests everyday and a lot of them are from sales people or others whom they have no connection with. If your message is well written and it uses really good English you are far more likely to succeed.

After the Connection

If someone does accept your request it is really important to follow it up with something useful and engaging. If you just connect in the hope they will offer you a job you are going to be disappointed. Once they have accepted you perhaps comment on some of their posts, get involved with discussions and become a useful connection yourself. Think about posting interesting articles you have read and information about your work. Once again, in order for this to work and to attract English speaking managers, recruiters and business owners you will need to make these posts count and they need to be well written.

Learning English

By building on your English skills and learning more all the time you will find you become more successful in connecting and engaging with potential employers. Learning English is a powerful tool to have if you want to work in the UK or English speaking countries like the USA. We offer a range of courses and access to many hours of video lessons so you can make sure your English is as good as it can be. It is something you should always keep working on and keep trying to get better at in order to give yourself the best chance at success in working in an English speaking environment.

7 Top Business English Vocabulary Terms

Learning English has many different parts and much of the basic learning is all about day to day life. However, as students get more advanced they may start wanting to learn more specific terms aspects of the language. For many students learning English for work and business purposes is a big factor so below we have got 10 important business English words we think everyone should know.


This is a word used to describe another business selling or offering the same thing as the business you work for. They are trying to do better and be more successful and so are competing with you.



This term describes the way companies advertise themselves. Marketing can be TV commercials, websites, social media pages and more. In many jobs it is important to be aware of what marketing your company does and your competitor companies.



This is a type of business that sells things through a website. Some businesses use a shop or shops others just use a website. Some companies use both. But a company selling anything online is considered at least partly an eCommerce business.



Client is another word for customer. It is used when customers are very important as a way of making them different. You might be a customer in a supermarket but you would talk about clients if you worked for a marketing company. Client is an important term in many types of business.



The word appraisal can be used in many different ways. It means to look at something and see if it was done well or badly or how successful it was. In business and the workplace in general an appraisal is a meeting where a member of staff talks with the boss or bosses about how well they are doing. It is a very important part of work in the UK and other countries.



An agenda is a list of things that need to be talked about at or in a business meeting. You may be asked to create an agenda ready for a meeting. But you may also be sent one before a meeting so you know what the meeting is about.



Notice is a term used when someone is leaving a job. The notice period is the amount of time the company gives you to find another job if you are asked to leave. It is also the amount of time you have to carry on working if you want to leave so they can find someone to replace you. It is important to understand your notice period when you take a job.


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  • I didn’t get the ___1___ so I wasn’t very well prepared for the meeting.
  • I’m a bit worried. I’ve been at the company for 6 months and I’ve got (a/an) ___2___ with my boss tomorrow.
  • In the legal profession the ___3__ period tends to be 6 -12 months depending on the seniority.
  • We’ve got an important lunch with ___4__ today. I hope they renew their contract and stay with us and don’t go to the ___5__.

(Answers: 1 agenda/ 2 appraisal/ 3 notice/ 4 clients/ 5 competition)

Is Learning English Good for My Career?

The answer to this question is yes, it really is. Learning English is useful for many reasons but if you want to work in different countries to likelihood is that knowing English will mean you can communicate with most people.

Getting Ahead

Before you even start thinking about working and speaking English as part of your job it is worth thinking about how English may help you get a job in the first place. If you are looking for work in the UK, USA or even across Europe and into the Far East you are likely to find being able to speak English during the interview will be helpful. It may actually mean you can get ahead of other people going for the job and it just might be the reason you get it!

Customer Service

One of the basic rules of customer service is being able to understand the customer and them being able to understand you. If you are working or looking to work in any kind of customer facing role then the being able to speak English well will really help. Taking the time and effort to learn English will mean companies with English speaking customers will be much more likely to employ you. Customer support and service jobs make up a huge part of the global job market using both spoken and written English. Getting good at using English will mean getting a chance at a getting a lot of different jobs.

English for Certain Business Types

As mentioned, customer support and care for the vast range of digital products and services as well as mobile phones and TV is one major sector where English is useful. But there are also other sectors where it would also be needed.

  • Tourism
  • Medicine
  • Legal
  • Marketing
  • Media
  • Finance

All of these sectors have businesses who have offices all over the world and many that will use English as the main language.

Travelling the World with Work

Travelling is something many people dream of but there are different ways to do it. The idea of backpacking is certainly appealing to a lot of people but travelling around and working in different offices around the world while getting paid may seem a lot more interesting for others. The idea of taking a promotion and moving to a new country and a great salary is a real option for those who can speak more than one language. Learning English will open doors around the world for people who want to work in business.

Ways To Learn

There are many different ways to learn English. Many people attempt to learn themselves by using online videos without any structure. Others pay for expensive college courses which can be very good but not many people can afford them. Perfectly Spoken offers a way to take a full course but by doing it online make it far cheaper. Click Here for more information about our online English courses and lets us help you improve your career by learning English.

Why English is so important in Business

How Many People Use English?

OK so here are a few facts that show how widely used English is. The British council states English is the first language for around 373 million people. But it is a second language for another 500 million on top of that number so nearly 900 million people can speak English. These numbers are very approximate but give a strong idea of the real number. The really big fact is that it is estimated another 1 billion people are learning English. As a language it is recognised officially in 80 countries and spoken widely in another 100 countries.  Another estimate suggested by 2020 another 2 billion people will be learning English. There is no doubt in this globalised world English is very very important.


Big Business

It is worth pointing out that English is not the most widely spoken language in terms of a native tongue. However, according to people speak in English live in countries that make up 29.3% of the words GDP. This means there is a lot of business power behind the language and the countries that use it.


English in Business

Due to the fact most big corporations have offices all over the world there was a need for a single language to be used in meetings and the like. English has become that language. It is now the default choice for teams and executives meeting up online and in person across the world. For example if a sales manager from Berlin were to meet the head of HR from Korea they would most likely choose to speak English. People that can’t speak English may well find it hard to keep up with meetings and even get the bigger jobs in the first place.


Branding and Language

Again, as companies become more global so too does their use of language. Corporate identity and language are becoming simpler and many big firms are choosing to use English. Nokia, Daimler and Renault are just a few big names that have done this. This not only means that, as mentioned before, all meetings and company literature uses English but also the values of the company and even names of services and products all start to rely on English and understanding it is critical.


English in Science and Technology

Science and Tech are big growth areas and probably always will be. If anyone wants to make a huge impact on the business world then these are the sectors where they head. Recent data suggested that around 95% of all scientific papers written in the Science Citation Index were in English. Nature is written in English as is the Lancet both of which are very important publications. What this all means is that when a publication or company wants to communicate with the most possible people they use English and this is only going to get more popular.


Learning English is popular, there are lots of ways you can do it. Perfectly Spoken offer a chance to do a structured course but you can do it online and it doesn’t cost as much as many other courses. Visit our online English course page for more information and find out how you can improve you English and join the global business and tech community, improve your job prospects and more.