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Business English Phrases To Avoid

August 21, 2018


Some English expressions are just old and outdated . . . or they’ve lost their meaning from overuse. Avoid using the following English Business idioms and instead use the expressions or phrases we have provided as alternatives.

Business English Phrases To Avoid


What it means: A joking term for the internet.

Why to avoid it: It sounds as if you are unfamiliar with the internet: people might question your abilities regarding technology.

Instead: Use technical words to describe what you are referencing: the internet, the search engine, the web host, etc.

Business English Phrases To Avoid

It is what it is

What it means: This expression suggests that you can’t change something.

Why to avoid it: People want to work with those who can make change, not accept things without trying to make them better.

Instead: Use words or phrases such as “at the moment/currently/right now” to show that these are temporary situations that can change. Then use expressions or words that show your ability to make change, like “Let’s brainstorm ways to improve” or “Let’s collaborate on . . . “

Business English Phrases To Avoid

Thank you in advance for . . .

What it means: You are thanking someone for something they haven’t done yet.

Why to avoid it: This expression is presumptive. It assumes that the person will do what you have requested.

Instead: Use expressions to show that you are there to help, like “If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me” and expressions to show you will speak with them soon, such as “I look forward to your reply.”

Business English Phrases To Avoid

Think outside of the box

What it means: To think originally and uniquely.

Why to avoid it: This expression is so overused that it’s neither original or unique!

Instead: Encourage people to share their opinions, but do not use this phrase.

Business English Phrases To Avoid

To be honest

What it means: This expression begins a sentence where you will speak your mind . . . whatever comes after “to be honest” is never positive.

Why to avoid it: It’s meaningless and can seem rude. (It also makes the listener wonder if everything the speaker said before this phrase was dishonest.)

Instead: State your opinion, without this phrase.

Business English Phrases To Avoid

Yours truly

What it means: This is the way to close a letter or email.

Why to avoid it: It is outdated.

Instead: Find other ways to close an email, such as “Thank you,” “Best regards,” or “Best.”



Business English Career English Featured San Diego Student Life Voices of CISL

CISL Career English Student Tatiane Learns Marketing with an Event Planning Company

March 23, 2018

Tatiane spent time with Gaslamp Event Management, in Downtown San Diego’s hip and historic neighborhood called the Gaslamp District.

With CISL’s Career English program, students practice their English in the CISL classroom and then spend time at an American company. At their host company, students practice English in the office, in meetings, and through writing emails and creating documents. The CISL Career English program is the perfect way to gain important language skills for your career!

Career English student Tatiane recently wrote a report about her experience working with Gaslamp Event Management, a successful event planning company located in Downtown San Diego. We are impressed with her experience and with how good her writing skills are!

Here are some of the highlights of Tatiane’s report.

Why Tatiane chose CISL’s Career English Program  

My main objective when I chose the program was the opportunity to volunteer in an American company and then add it to my curriculum as a international experience with higher relevance.

What the Career English Program consisted of

In order to start the program, I completed 6 weeks of English classes and went through preparation for interview. GEM was my second interview and I feel confident to make it. With Grace, the program coordinator, help and support I corrected all mistakes regarding my resume and I learned how to create cover letter.

In general, the program meets my expectations. In addition, I would recommend CE for potential students who aim curriculum enrichment and an alternative international experience.

About her experience with Gaslamp Event Management

In GEM, I worked with Sin Bosier, the owner and CEO of the company. When I first started, it was close to Halloween Holiday and the company was hosting a event called San Diego Zombie Crawl. I worked during this event, taking care of the social media and also helping to organize the final details. I also worked in the two days of the event, checking in people and making live videos to post on Instagram.

After the event I focused on Downtown Dolls, which is a division of GEM. My main tasks were:

1 – Responsible for the social media for Downtown Dolls (IG + Facebook).

2 – Develop and launch the new Website for Downtown Dolls, by working with the web developers to make all the changes necessary and also all the site design. So, basically, I needed to identify problems and come up with solutions for them to change on the website.

3 – Talent managing in Downtown Dolls –  select the models that applied and schedule the interviews. Fill data base and point out models who fits the Downtown Dolls profile.

4 – Support if it’s necessary the others with tasks – proposal to clients, quotations, follow up and recap of the events.

Her final thoughts on the Career English Program

My experience at GEM helped me to feel more confident with the use of my English and I can tell for sure that I was not treated like a foreign or a outsider. Sin always pushed me to work as I was native and helped me with all I needed. What I enjoyed the most was the fact the I could really see what is like a company in another country and also the trust that was confided in me.

We are so pleased that you enjoyed your experience, Tatiane! Best of luck to you in Brazil!


Business English CISL Premier English

Business English Phrasal Verbs for Inspiring Employees

November 16, 2017

Business English Phrasal Verbs for Inspiring Employees

Sometimes managing people in the office means more than just supervising: bosses are often required to inspire their employees, especially when times are difficult. This can be difficult for managers whose native language is not English. These Business English phrasal verbs for inspiring employees will help executives keep their employee morale high.

Business English Phrasal Verbs for Inspiring Employees

Cheer up

Definition: To be less unhappy.

Example: Cheer up: I know our sales are down this quarter, but we will work hard to improve!

Give up

Definition: To stop doing something; to stop putting effort into something.

Example: Don’t give up on this client: I think they will make a decision to buy our product soon.

(In this case, we use the negative “don’t give up.”)

Keep on

Definition: To continue.

Example: Keep on trying to contact the client: I’ll try her boss as well.

Business English Phrasal Verbs for Inspiring Employees

Hang in (there)

Definition: To persevere, to maintain a level of effort.

Example: I know that these hours are difficult, but hang in there: our busy season is almost over.

Hang on

Definition: To wait.

Example: We are going to create a new position for you. In the meantime, hang on.

Work on

Definition: To improve or develop.

Example: We will work on the computer system so that it is more efficient for our employees.  

Business English Phrasal Verbs for Inspiring Employees

Converse International School of Languages offers Premier English courses for executives in San Diego and San Francisco. Contact CISL to learn more about its programs, including the Global Success English Program in San Francisco and its Executive English Program in San Diego. All courses are incredibly small (no more than 4 students) and are taught by professional, qualified instructors.


Business English Career English CISL San Diego Featured

Meet our CISL Career English Host Company, Martinez + Cutri Corporation!

October 24, 2017

Career English CISL San Diego

With CISL’s Career English program, students attend English classes at CISL and improve their language skills. Students then interview with an American company and are placed in a host company where they practice their English skills in a business setting (and learn many things about an industry).

We interviewed Anthony G. Cutri who is the Principal/Partner Architect of his firm Martinez + Cutri Corporation. Over the last few years, Martinez + Cutri Corporation has hosted numerous CISL interns (so far, they’ve taken students from Germany, Switzerland, and Russia). Let’s learn a little about this wonderful company and how they work with CISL students!

Career English CISL San Diego

Could you please provide a brief description of your company?

We are a full service architecture/urban design firm, we make buildings – from low/midrise to high rise building. We design schools, hotels, high density mixed use housing amongst other building types.

 How long have you been taking interns with CISL?

About 18 months

 What are some of the qualifications or qualities you look for in an intern?

A good portfolio and resume along with an in person interview.

Career English CISL San Diego

 What are the typical duties for a CISL student who is “working” at your company?

We try to have them get experience in most of the tasks in the office from drafting and design to job site visits and everything in between.

 What are the advantages of having an international student in the workplace?

It is very helpful for us at M+C to know how the practice of architecture works in other countries.

Career English CISL San Diego

Thank you to the Martinez + Cutri Corporation for providing such a wonderful environment for our students!

To learn more about CISL’s Career English program, contact CISL

All photos are from Martinez + Cutri. 

Business English Career English CISL San Diego Featured

CISL Student Florian Learns Project Planning, Social Media, and Corporate Design at Casas Advisors!

September 28, 2017

Have you dreamed of improving your English skills for a future job? CISL’s Career English program provides students with the English skills necessary to succeed in the work environment AND offers international students a chance to spend time at an American company!

Our German student, Florian, recently learned English at CISL and then spent time at Casas Advisors, a real estate company. Florian shared some of his experience with us.

CISL Student Florian Learns Project Planning, Social Media, and Corporate Design at Casas Advisors!

Objectives and expectations

Florian’s goals before the Career English program were clear. “My main objective and intention to enroll for the Career English Program at CISL was to improve my business English and to gain some work experience abroad to improve my CV.”

Why did Florian choose CISL? He admits that it’s not easy for international students to find such an experience at an American company without the help of programs such as CISL’s Career English. Florian recalls that “A major issue for finding a company for me was that most companies require to pay their interns and therefore they need to have a working visa.” Thankfully, with the help of CISL’s Career English Coordinator, Florian was able to find a placement at Casas Advisors, a real estate company in San Diego.

Florian’s tasks and responsibilities

Florian spent two months at Casas Advisors, where the “team was very dedicated to integrate me into the team and to always find challenging tasks for me.”  His responsibilities were varied and challenging. “To summarize my activities I created the following list for a quick overview:

  • Creation of social media analysis and planning tool; definition and implementation of recommendations
  • Development of corporate design
  • Creation of buyers & listing presentation
  • Calculation of ROIs of planned real estate investments for creation of investors pitches
  • Increased transparency of projects through Gantt-Project management planning
  • Administrative activities (reply to enquiries, ordering etc.)
  • Revised marketing material

Improving English through a host company

Florian says he saw great improvements to his English skills after spending time with his host company. “Reviewing my time as an intern at Casas Advisors I can say that those two months were great . . . [I was] able to improve my business English in this environment. Mostly this improvement was caused by making phone calls or attending meetings and holding presentations.” Another reason Florian’s English improved is because of his interactions with employees of the company. “Working together with my co-workers made my work more fun, interesting and flexible at the same time. I worked closely with Linda Paz, the Broker’s assistant, and Santiago Orvananos, the Owner and Broker of Casas Advisors.”

Was it worth it?

Florian says yes. “I was very pleased with my working experience in San Diego. Through the aforementioned activities I was able to improve my skillset according to Excel & PowerPoint . . . it was an awesome experience which I highly recommend. I can only speak highly of Casas Advisors.

Congratulations to Florian for a successful experience with a host company, and many thanks to Casas Advisors for providing such a welcoming environment for Florian to improve his English!


CISL’s Career English Program offers students the opportunity to improve their English skills in the classroom and at an American company. Students first spend time in the CISL classroom, which has small class sizes (no more than 8 students!) that allow English learners to quickly improve. Students then work closely with the Career English Coordinator to create an American resume (which is different than a CV) and interview with American companies. Students spend at least two months improving their English in a work environment, either while still taking classes at CISL or after completing their CISL English courses. Contact CISL for more information.