Practice Business Vocabulary

Practice this business vocabulary by choosing the correct words  to fill in the blanks. 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. Learn 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.
  • An enterprise is a business or other major project requiring a lot of planning and effort by many people. Someone who is enterprising is capable, ambitious, and willing to work hard and overcome obstacles in order to succeed.
  • 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 more back in the future. 
  • 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 often money paid for certain services. It is also the word for a government-appointed group with special responsibilities.
  • Administration is management. It's the people who  administer (oversee or control) 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. (They're also listed 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 these words-- choose the best one for each blank.

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, enterprising, founder,
incentive, 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. They hold stockholder meetings annually. There they present an annual report of profits and vote on important business.

The person who started (founded) a company is its founder. A CEO runs the company and supervises operations. (CEO stands for Corporate Executive Officer. It's the private sector equivalent of the president or prime minister of a nation.) The CEO reports to the Board of Directors.

Businesses must make make constant adaptations as their circumstances change. They need to track 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 these factors so their companies can make a profit. (A profit means 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. Some (like auto dealerships) have annual year-end sales. This lets them reduce their inventory before the next year’s models arrive. 

Businesses may pay bonuses to enterprising sales staff who figure out ways to exceed their targets and sell much more than others. (A bonus offers an incentive for extra effort.)

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

Auto dealers and furniture stores that sell “big-ticket” (expensive) items often pay their sales people partly or completely by commission. They base the amount of a commission on the number or value of their sales rather than on the hours worked. 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. Managers need 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 an issue. They realize that providing alone is not enough. or other experts must understand the nature of a problem to determine the best solution. Legislators (and program ) must also consider what other issues a new policy may affect. Considering all the implications will help them decide whether it will be effective. They do not want the new policy to cause more problems than it solves!

For example, health and safety regulations are necessary, and governments must be . But governments need to limit the burdens they impose. Over-regulation and higher taxes can cause businesses to move to other states or other countries. A state legislature looks for ways to export products, NOT jobs. In fact, governments may offer tax or other incentives to encourage companies to move their headquarters and manufacturing plants to the state. They hope this will create (or avoid losing) jobs.

administer, administration,  administrators, 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?

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. See especially their discussion of Peter Drucker and his business management theories.

HomeTOEFL & IELTS Vocabulary > Practice Business Vocabulary.

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