Practice Business Vocabulary

Practice this AWL (Academic Word List) business vocabulary by choosing the correct forms from these lists to fill in the blanks below them. You may need more than one form of a word or word family.

Business Vocabulary

Photo of a young man explaining something on a computer to a young woman who's listening.

(You can just write your answers in order on a piece of paper, or right-click here to download a related pdf version and answers. A left click will give you a printable online pdf.)

If you aren't already familiar with business vocabulary, a good way to start is by reading or listening to business articles.

BBC Learning English has a great series on management gurus. You can find many of these words in the article on Peter Drucker there.

You can learn more about finances in Money Words, and about other terms related to business cycles (adapt, decline, fluctuations,  shifting, and stability) in Vocabulary for Social Change.

A quick review of a few words practiced here: 

  • Economic activity is concerned with the exchange of goods, services, and money. What happens in the world or national economy will affect the local economy as well.
  • Income is money coming in to a company or to a person.
  • Funds are money kept for a certain purpose or purposes.
  • Credit is an agreement to loan money (which must be returned, with interest, later.)
ipad with business vocabulary
  • An investment is money (or effort) put into something with the intention of receiving much more back later. 
  • An incentive is a special offer or reward to move people to take a desired action. 
  • To promote is to encourage people to buy or do something. (Example: The health department promotes exercise.)
  • commission is money paid for certain services OR a government-appointed group with special responsibilities.
  • Administration is management-- the people responsible for administering (overseeing or controlling) a business, school, or government.
  • Annual means every year or once a year.

Business Vocabulary Practice

Fill in the gaps (blanks) with the best of the words above each section (and again at the bottom so you won't have to scroll up the page as much.) The first section is already done as an example.

Pay attention to spelling and to the part of speech. (Ask yourself which form of a word-- a verb or a noun, adjective or adverb-- should go in the gap.) You will not need all of these words-- choose the best form.

If you would like help, click on the question mark for a clue-- the first letter of the word. (This will reduce your score a little.) When you finish, click "check" to see how well you did.

adapt, adaptable, adaptations, annual, annually,
economic, economy, economist, income, policies, promoting, sector

A young businesswoman shaking hands with a young man.

Economic activity is the exchange of goods and labor. (The economy of a country is the sum of such transactions.)  

Businesses make and sell products or offer services. People who buy those products or services are customers or consumers.

Most large businesses are corporations owned by stockholders and run by a board of directors. Most hold meetings of the stockholders annually, to present an annual report (with profits and losses) and to vote on important business.

Operations are supervised by a CEO (Corporate Executive Officer-- the private sector equivalent of the president or prime minister of a nation) who is responsible to the Board of Directors.

Businesses need to make constant adaptations to changes in their markets, labor force, suppliers and competitors. CEOs are well-paid because they must watch all these trends. They need to adjust corporate policies  and procedures to balance all these factors so their companies can continue to make a profit (to take in more money than they must pay out in expenses.)

Businesses have many methods for promoting their products or services to customers. Some stores offer discounts for membership in a special program or for cash payments. Stores may have special sales in which they reduce prices for a certain period of time, or (as is common in auto dealerships) annual year-end sales to reduce their inventory before the nest year’s models arrive. 

administer, administration,  administrators, annually, commission, commissioner, commissions, credits, decline, declining, economic, economists,  fluctuate, fluctuations, fund, funded, funding, incentives, income, stable, stability, stabilized  

Auto dealers, furniture stores, or other companies that sell “big-ticket” (expensive) items often pay their sales people partly or completely by commission, based on the number or value of their sales rather than just their hours of work. are to sell as much as possible since the salespeople’s rises (or declines) parallel to their sales’ performance. (So are the bonuses some companies pay their employees in December based on good work or else on the company’s earnings. If the company’s profits increase, the employees earn more too.)

Several decades ago, factories in Detroit might be open for 3 shifts of 8 hours-- 24 hours a day-- to make enough cars to keep up with consumer demand for them. Competition from overseas caused demand to so much that many factories had to lay off workers. Some factories even closed.

Auto manufacturers hope that demand has now , and that enough customers will buy cars each year to keep the remaining factories busy. An important part of business management is to interpret the of the market to predict when demand will be high (so more cars can be produced) and when demand is likely to drop.

State governments may establish a (a team of experts to investigate a problem) before they pass new legislation to try to resolve the issue. They realize that providing alone is not enough; or other experts must understand the nature of a problem to determine the best solution. In addition, legislators (and program ) must consider other factors that may be affected by a new policy to decide whether it will be effective or whether it will cause more problems than it solves.

For example, health and safety regulations are necessary, and governments must be , but over-regulation and higher taxes can cause businesses to relocate to other states or other countries. A state legislature looks for ways to export products, NOT jobs. In fact, to create (or avoid losing) jobs, governments may offer tax or other incentives to companies that move their headquarters and manufacturing plants to the state.

administer, administration,  adminstrators, annually, commission, commissioner, commissions, credits, decline, declining, economic, economists, fluctuate, fluctuations, fund, funded, funding, incentives, income, stable, stability, stabilized  

3 young men working together on a computer

What's the difference between collaboration &  cooperation? Learn & practice words related to teamwork  here!

5 businesspeople working at a computer

9 websites that can help you learn more business English.

Sports Idioms, with a photo of a baseball ballpark.

These sports idioms are common in business and everyday conversation. How many do you understand?

In addition, get more business vocabulary practice on the Business Terminology Crossword and its Answers and Business English Vocabulary Quiz. 

You can read or listen to many of these words in context in the BBC's Business Gurus series, especially their discussion of Peter Drucker and his business management theories.

HomeTOEFL & IELTS Vocabulary > Practice Business Vocabulary.

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