How to Say 20 Business English Verbs CORRECTLY!

Lesson Overview

Lesson Summary 

This lesson will help you to sound more professional and communicate more clearly. We’ll focus on some common pronunciation mistakes – errors that you might be making as you pronounce these English verbs!

Avoid making pronunciation mistakes at work and practice these words with me: share, answer, accept, focus, multiply, risk, measure, purchase, present, determine, exchange, authorise, consider, distribute, produce, develop, value, identify, and negotiate.


Video Transcript
Section 1

Hey there I’m Emma from mmmEnglish. Today I’m going to help you to practise your pronunciation, I’ve got twenty English verbs that my students often mispronounce and these are all essential business English verbs, ones that are really useful in the workplace.

But most of them are actually really common in everyday English as well. You’ll read them in the newspaper, you’ll hear them in films or in podcasts, even if it’s not specifically about business or work right.

If you stick with me throughout this whole lesson, you will definitely be sounding more professional, communicating more clearly. I think we should just get into it.

As I said, I have twenty business English verbs to go through with you today and the reason that many of my students have trouble pronouncing these words is syllable stress, where to put the stress in the word which vowel sound is the strongest and the clearest. And I wonder how many of them you’ve been mispronouncing without realising it.

The good news is it takes a little practice, some regular practice to break your pronunciation habits so that you can finally start pronouncing these words correctly, communicate clearly and effectively and successfully.

So I’m going to go through all of them one by one but later on in the lesson, we’re going to practise using them together in longer sentences because this is often where things get tricky when you start pushing other sounds and other words together around these words.

1. share
/ʃeə(r)/

So let’s start really simple with share. Share. So we start with that xxx consonant sound but that vowel sound may be a little different than you think right? It’s not shah-r but share so it’s that /eə(r)/ as in hair vowel sound.

In my Australian accent, you don’t hear that sound at the end. It’s just finishing on that vowel sound.

2. answer
/ˈɑːnsə(r)/

Another really common verb is answer. Now notice that that W is silent right it’s not ansWer and that’s where some of my students get a little stuck right? That W is silent. Answer which makes it a little easier than trying to pronounce that sound, right?

We’re going to get into some more advanced verbs very soon but it really is quite common for my English students, even my advanced students to still be making pronunciation mistakes like these.

Pronunciation habits are tricky ones to break so don’t feel bad if you’re just realising that you’ve been making some mistakes with your pronunciation.

Today is an awesome day because you get the chance to fix them. Let’s keep going!

3.  accept
/əkˈsept/

So these two consonants here are exactly the same right but they’re pronounced differently so it’s not assept but accept. So there’s a stop on that sound to help you ease into the next syllable, accept.

The first syllable is unstressed right so it reduces down to that schwa sound. The second syllable is the stronger one, it’s clearer. You can hear it very clearly right? Accept.

A quick note, if you would like to learn a little bit more about syllable stress in English then I will definitely link to a great lesson of mine at the end of this video. You can catch it up there if you need it.

4. focus
/ˈfəʊkəs/

You don’t want to mess up the pronunciation here. Kind of like share, the vowel sound might be a little different to what you think okay? It’s a long diphthong sound as in go, right? Not ‘oh’ as in hot. It’s not /fokəs/ which sounds a little rude okay? It’s not /fokəs/ It’s focus.

So see the movement in my mouth when I make that sound? There’s movement in my mouth as I’m making that one sound. Focus.

5. present (verb)
/prɪˈzent/

So when you’re using the verb form of this word, you really need to focus on syllable stress right because it’s also common to hear present with the stress on the first syllable. It can be a noun or it can also be an adjective, present.

But when you’re using the verb form, you really need to shift that stress onto the second syllable, right? Present.

6. produce
/prəˈdjuːs/

So notice where that stress is there as well? So notice where that stress is there as well? Produce.

There are some slight variations in how native speakers pronounce this word. You will hear some Americans saying produce which might be a little easier but in my accent, produce like in jam.

7. purchase
/ˈpɜː(r)tʃəs/

So with this one, we really do need to focus on syllable stress all right because many of my students pronounce or they put the stress on the second syllable which is incorrect. It’s not /ˈpɜː(r)tʃeɪs/. That’s incorrect. That’s pronouncing both syllables with equal amount of stress right and of course, this rarely happens in English.

We usually have one syllable that is stronger than another. So here, the correct pronunciation is purchase. Can you hear that weaker syllable in the second syllable? We use that schwa vowel sound. Purchase.

8. risk
/rɪsk/

And finally, a one syllable word where we don’t need to worry about syllable stress, right? But now we’ve got a different problem, we’ve got a very tricky set of consonants.

It’s really, really tricky to push those two sounds together, right? As always, when you have two consonant sounds or even three together in English words, the best way to practise is to slow right down and practise the two sounds next to each other as closely as you can without adding any extra sounds, just pausing between them. Try and bring them closer together, make them a little closer.

9. consider
/kənˈsɪdə(r)/

This is a really great, more advanced word to use instead of think. It’s a great way to sound more professional and to upgrade your English. Consider.

Can you hear the stressed syllable? Where is it? It’s in the middle, consider. But it’s not the ‘eye’ vowel sound all right? It’s that short vowel sound, there it is. Consider.

So even though it’s a stressed syllable, that vowel sound is still short though it’s the strongest one okay and naturally the other two syllables either side, they reduce down, all right?

They’re unstressed so they are lower in pitch, they’re softer. You don’t hear them as loudly as the middle one. Consider.

10. measure
/ˈmeʒə(r)/

Probably the trickiest thing about this word is that consonant sound in the middle. You know the shhh consonant sound right? Well this sound is the voiced pair to that sound which means that we need to activate our voice box in order to make it, right? Shh is made with air.

You can feel that air coming out but /ʒ/ is made with your vocal cords back here. Less air, more vocal chords and vibration. Measure.

Now listen to the difference between the two vowel sounds in these different syllables. Okay, so there is a difference in the way that the vowel sound is pronounced as well. Measure.

11. identify

That stress is on the second syllable, right? The others are short, they’re quick. Identify.

12. multiply

So take a look at the stressed vowel sound, right? It’s short, it’s that sound as in up but multiply. Multiply.

13. develop
/dɪˈveləp/

Now this one is tricky for my Indian, Ukrainian, Russian students, anyone who doesn’t have the consonant sound in their native language, right?

Often you will mispronounce this word /dɪˈweləp/ Okay? This can get you into trouble so really spend some time focusing on that sound okay. We want the bottom of your top teeth here to be touching on your bottom lip.

Of course, this sound is voiced so we need to activate your vocal cords. Develop. We want to see those teeth all right? Get those teeth out touching that lip.

14. value
/ˈvæljuː/

In fact, while we’re at it let’s also talk about value. All right? Value as a verb is a useful one to use professionally, it helps you to talk about things that are important to you, your team, your organisation. You can also use it to talk about financial value as well. So it’s value.

Keep practising if you’re finding it a little tough. Value. Can you also hear that /j/ sound in the end there as well, right?

15. determine
/dɪˈtɜː(r)mɪn/

Not de-te-myne all right? That last syllable is unstressed. The vowel sound is short, reduces right down. Determine.

16. exchange
/ɪksˈtʃeɪndʒ/

There are quite a few crazy looking consonants going on there, aren’t there? Let’s just break it down a little. That first syllable is unstressed so it’s lower in pitch and it’s quick. Just like six but without the /s/.

Then our second syllable is our stressed syllable right so it’s stronger, it’s clearer, it’s louder than the first one and that vowel sound is the diphthong sound /eɪ/ as in day, right? Same sound but either side of that sound, we’ve got an interesting consonant pair right? These two sounds are related, the /tʃ/ consonant sound.

See how my lips are flaring out to make that sound, my teeth are together. This sound is unvoiced okay? It’s made with air coming through your mouth and making that sound.

But if we keep our lips and everything in the same position, we change that unvoiced sound to be a voiced one using our vocal chords /dʒ/ These two sounds are the ones either side of our stressed vowel sound.

17. analyse
/ˈænəlaɪz/

So we’re starting with a really strong stressed syllable here. But then the schwa sound, an unstressed syllable follows. Then we add that /z/ voiced sound at the end to finish things off. Analyse.

Sometimes this verb is mispronounced because it’s quite similar to the noun, analysis right? Analysis is the result of this action, right? To analyse.

So when you say it make sure you feel and you hear that final consonant sound. Analyse, right? For all my Vietnamese speakers, make sure you hit that final consonant sound okay?

18. authorise
/ˈɔːθəraɪz/

Same with authorise. Starting with /ɔː/ as in door followed by the TH sound, right? It’s the unvoiced TH sound made with air followed by the schwa. Authorise.

19. distribute
/dɪˈstrɪbjuːt/

Say it with me. Distribute. Can you notice where the stress is? It’s in the middle right? It’s on the second syllable. That first syllable is unstressed. Distribute.

20. negotiate
/nɪˈɡəʊʃieɪt/

And the last trickiest one, negotiate.

The end of the word is really tricky, right? It doesn’t really look like how it should sound. Really it’s pronounced, if you close your eyes and you just listen. Negotiate.

So those are all of the words for today’s lesson. If you want to go back over those words before we practise them together, no problem! You’re in control. Just rewind, watch them through again.

But right now I want to put those words into longer sentences to help you practise them more quickly right, practise them at pace and this is often where you get stuck right? So as you speed up your speech and you start adding extra words and sounds around these words, that’s where things get a little tricky and that’s exactly what we’re about to practise.

I’m gonna read it out first. You can listen but then it’s your turn okay? Make sure you’re somewhere where you can practise out loud.

After you do it, I’m gonna say it one more time again. Don’t forget that you’re in control of this video okay? If you need to pause, listen again, rewind a little, play it again, it’s totally up to you.

Take your time, do what you need to do to practise. In fact, you can even slow down the speed of this video by using the controls down there, slow it down to help you really focus on my pronunciation. Listen to if you’re pronouncing it in the same way, make some adjustments. There is absolutely no problem. You’re in control.

Right, so you’re ready to try with me?

  • I don’t want to risk losing this customer. Perhaps we should consider a different option.
  • If we don’t measure our growth, how will we determine if we are profitable?
  • The company distributes profits based on the deal negotiated by each shareholder.
  • I would have never authorised that payment without the contractor accepting our terms.
  • Are happy to answer a few questions about your experience?
  • Amy identifies new cultural trends and exchanges ideas with researchers at the university.
  • Before we present the new strategy to the board, we need to determine the resources needed to deliver it!
  • Whenever we purchase new property, we analyse the market to ensure the value is justified.
  • Since developing a new masterplan, the number of new residents has multiplied every month.
  • Let’s focus on strategies to produce new content to share on our website.

How’d you do? I know a couple of them were a little bit like a tongue twister but you did really well to get all the way through them. Thank you so much for joining me today. I hope that you enjoyed the lesson, that you enjoyed the practice.

And I want to know which of those words were especially difficult for you to pronounce?

Make sure you spend a little bit of extra time this week practising those tricky sounds and those tricky words right? Bookmark this video, come back to it when you need to. It’s always going to be here to help you practise your pronunciation of these tricky English verbs.

All of my English lessons can be found over on the mmmEnglish blog and the link to the blog is just down in the description below. You can also subscribe to my channel right over there. I make new English lessons every week so if you want to find out about them, make sure you turn on that notifications bell so that I can let you know when there’s a new one ready for you.

Speaking of new English lesson, have you checked out that one yet? I’ll see you in there!

Links mentioned in the video

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