Monthly Archives: December 2015

Six-Pack of Financial Words

Just a few words for work conversations today.

  • bankruptcy – noun – a time when a company runs out of money and can no longer pay their debts.
  • liquidation – noun – a time after bankruptcy when the company’s stuff is sold to get money to pay their debts.
  • liquid asset – noun – an asset is something that a business or person owns. A liquid asset is one that is easily sold or exchanged, like cash, gold, or certain investments.
  • fixed asset – noun – A fixed asset is not as easily sold or exchanged as a liquid asset. This group might include real estate, machinery, inventory, or contracts.
  • expenditure – noun – the money that a business needs to spend in order to do business. This might include buying supplies, paying salaries and rent, repairing machines, or advertising products.
  • revenue – noun – the money that comes into a business from doing its business activities, before expenses are paid

Yeah, right!

We say it a lot. But did you know that you might be sending the wrong meaning?

“Yeah, right” is most often used in sarcastic comments by advanced English speakers:

  • Jay: Marcelo, did you know that my test score was better than yours?
  • Marcelo: Yeah, right. You can’t beat me! I got 100% plus three bonus marks.

However, most students use it to show agreement:

  • Livia: Amy, we are meeting at Pizza Palace at 5:30 tonight, right?
  • Amy: Yeah, right. See you tonight.

The problem comes when you speak to your Canadian friends. You think you are agreeing with them, like Amy above, but they think you are being sarcastic, like Marcelo’s example. To be safe, say either “yeah!” or “right!” to show you agree. You’ll be easier to understand and people will think you are more polite.

  • Naja: Does class start tomorrow at 9:30?
  • John: Yeah. See you then!
  • Simon: Right. Don’t forget your homework!

The Vocabulary of Customer Service

Serve is not the same as service, though they are both regular verbs (serve/served/served, service/serviced/serviced).

Serve is the verb of waiters, clerks, and attendants, and it means “to help a customer.”

  • The attendant served his customers quickly and efficiently.

Service is the verb of technicians, and it means “to repair or maintain a machine.”

  • The mechanic┬áserviced the car before the trip.

If you use the verb “service” in place of “serve,” it is incorrect.

  • The waiter serviced his guests <- never, unless the guests are robots.

Service is a noun relating to the ability of waiters, clerks, and attendants to do their jobs.

  • The service is great here. I never have to ask them to pour more coffee!

Google Documents Spellcheck

I use Google Docs in several classes. One problem that comes up a lot is the spell-checker. If my students’ Drive language isn’t English, their English spell-check won’t work. Here’s how to fix it:

With your document open in Google Docs,

Highlight all your text.

Go to the File > Language menu, and

Select English (United States).

Now you should be able to see any incorrectly-spelled English words (and, of course, correct them!)