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Learning English -
David EvansDavid Evans: writer, broadcaster and trainer who specialises in business English

David Evans has written seventeen books, including the award-winning Powerbase series, and has given lectures and workshops in over thirty-five countries from Argentina to Uzbekistan. From 1991 to 1999 he was a producer for BBC English and was responsible for numerous business series.

David answers you questions about the ways for business communicators to meet new challenges:

- Business jargon
- New technologies, competitiveness and persuasion
- Globalisation and intercultural communication
- Test yourself!
- Live Chat transcript

Is business English really just about jargon?

Every part of business life has its own specialist language and it's easy to dismiss such language as 'jargon'.

But we must be careful to distinguish between times when obscure terms are used to impress or confuse others - what I would call 'bad jargon' - and the times when these words are used to describe a particular technical process or a particular phenomenon with precision.

Can you give an example of what you mean?

You can see this if you look at the ways in which the verb 'leverage' is used in business. Some businesspeople might talk about 'leveraging a position' when they could just as easily use a simpler and more easily understood phrase such as 'taking advantage of the situation'. For me that's a bad use of jargon.

However when a corporate financier talks about 'leverage', he or she will be using the term in a precise way to describe a company's ratio of debt to equity - a perfectly valid and clear use of technical vocabulary...

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  1. Learning Tips
2. Business Communication
3. Studying in the UK
4. Grammar Surgery
5. English in the News
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  More tips on Business Communication from our interactive event on 2/3/04

Check the transcript