Phrasal verbs in Business English

by / Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Phrasal Verbs in Business English

Phrasal verbs are and intrinsic part of English and these have permeated the business community every bit as much as other aspects of our society.  A common problem with phrasal verbs is that the same phrasal verb can have multiple meanings.  This blog will illustrate this point to show how three phrasal verbs can account for many different business situations.


Set Up

This can mean three different things.


1.       To arrange a meeting with somebody

I will try to set up a meeting with the Human Resources Department next week.

2.       To establish something (e.g. an organisation or an office)

They’ve set up a new office on the site of an old hospital.

3.        To organise/configure something

I bought a new computer last week but I don’t understand how to set it up.


Put Off

Likewise this has three main meanings:


1. To postpone something

I will be too busy to attend the meeting at 10am – could we put it off until 2pm?

2. To distract somebody

We can’t listen to the radio while we work because it puts us off and we cannot concentrate.

3. To be discouraged by something

I was thinking about starting a new job, but the long hours really put me off.


Deal With

Three meanings for deal with:


1. To fix a problem

There is a problem with our Wi-Fi connection – can you ask the IT department to deal with it?

2. To handle situations

There is so much variety in my job, I have to deal with all kinds of people and problems.

3. To conduct business with somebody.

When I contact the supplier I usually deal with Frank.


Like all phrasal verbs, these may appear confusing at first, but try to integrate them into your everyday spoken English and soon enough they will be as familiar to you as their more formal equivalents.  Remember that phrasal verbs are a great way to ‘naturalise’ your English – making you appear more confident with the language and thus more attractive to potential employers.