Business & formal English vocabulary for writing

An important part of writing well is choosing the right vocabulary to use. The words we use are like the clothes we wear, they make an impression on the person who reads them.

The more formal and intellectual words and phrases that you use in your pieces of writing (for example, using 'therefore' instead of 'so'), the more professional and intelligent you sound. And as a consequence, the more likely people will respect or trust you and what you are saying.

Use words people know

The problem is that when we want to sound professional and intelligent in our pieces of writing, we can end up using words and phrases which are not commonly understood by people. And if people do not understand or are confused with the meaning of vocabulary you have used, it means that the piece of writing is not understandable. And although sounding professional and intelligent is important in writing, making what we write both easy to read and understandable is far more important.

To help you to sound more professional when writing business or formal pieces of writing (e.g. emails, letters, reports, proposals etc...) and to use vocabulary which the majority of people will understand, I have created the below vocabulary list.

What you'll find

In this list are 24 basic/simple words in English. By pressing/clicking on the word, you will find a selection of the most appropriate formal and polite equivalents (synonyms) of it that you can use in your writing to make it and you sound more professional. To help you use them correctly, you'll also find a short explanation of when and how each is used and an example sentence which shows it being used.

In addition to this word list, you will also find below it a phrase/sentence list. In this you will find set formal phrases and sentences that you can use in your emails and letters and an explanation of when and how to use them.

When to use the lists

I recommend that you use these lists to improve the vocabulary in your piece of writing after you have written the email, letter, report etc... Doing one thing at a time is essential for writing both well and quickly.

To quickly learn how to write over 20 different types of emails, letters and other types of business and formal types of pieces of writing go to our online exercise menu on writing emails/letters.