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March 10, 2020

Ten useful collocations for business

Ten useful collocations for business

Understanding collocations can be a little complicated at times. They are always used in context and the meaning is not always easy to guess or understand. With that in mind, today I have put together a list of 10 collocations that you can start using right NOW in business.

Firstly, just to recap, a collocation is a series of words that go together naturally to form meaning in English and many other languages. They are a type of fixed expression. We have strong and weak collocations. An example of a strong collocation is “take a photo”, while an example of weaker collocation is “take/have a break”. Only “take” works with a photo, while “take” and “have” both work with “break”.

Secondly, you will notice from the example sentences that they are all relevant to current day business and they can be easily applied to your day to day business scenarios.

If you want to impress your colleagues and sound even more native in your next business interaction, then you will want to grab a couple of today’s collocations from the list and throw them into your English vocabulary tomorrow!

Finally, don’t forget to check out the Spanish translation at the bottom of this post.

Let’s dive in and take a look at ten useful collocations for business.  

Ten business collocations

A head for figures/numbers (talent)

Definition: to be good at doing calculations with numbers/at doing things relating to business etc

"Mark has a real head for figures, we always ask him to help us run the numbers."

On an annual/daily basis (every year/day)

Definition: to do every day, week, month year etc.

"I would like you to report back to me on a daily basis until we resolve this crisis situation."

An error of judgement

Definition: Miscalculation

“Getting into business with Mr Benzo was an error of judgement. He is not to be trusted.”

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Have a vast impact on something

Definition: to have a great or large effect on something

“It is essential that we conduct on-going competitor research as we don’t want them to get a competitive advantage by launching a superior product out of the blue."

I’d be grateful if you could

Definition: To appreciate

“The corona virus is having a vast impact on the global economy.”

A fall/drop/rise in the number of…

Definition: Decrease or increase in the number of + countable

“There has been a drop in the number of people booking holidays since the corona virus spread globally.”

Come to light

Definition: Appear

“The firm’s illegal accounting practices finally came to light after the CEO was arrested for insider trading.”

A pressing problem

Definition: Urgent issue

We have a number of pressing problems that we need to deal with in the next manager’s meeting.”

Confronted/faced with a problem

Definition: Meet a problem

We are currently faced with a supply chain problem as a result of the slowing factory output in China.”

Short space of time

Definition: Limited time period

The stock market lost 10% in a very short space of time.”

A point of interest

Definition: Area of concern

I have two points of interest that I would like to see resolved before the end of this meeting.”

Spanish translation

Below you will find the Spanish translation for those of you who are native Spanish speakers.



A head for figures/numbers (talent)

Ser bueno en matemáticas

On an annual/daily basis (every year/day)


An error of judgement

Error de juicio

Have a vast impact on something

Enorme impacto en/sobre

A fall/drop/rise in the number of…

Bajada/subida en el numero de

Come to light

Salir a relucir

A pressing problem

Problema urgente

Confronted/faced with a problem

Ante un problema

Short space of time

En poco tiempo

A point of interest

Un punto de interés

Final thoughts

Learning collocations is a great way to make your English sound more native and fluent. When you use the wrong words to form a collocation it sounds strange to a native English speaker, so it is a good idea to make sure you learn them correctly.

The good news though, is that once you have learnt a collocation it is fixed so it won’t change and there are very few exceptions. All you need to do is learn the expression, it’s meaning and then use it in the correct context and you are good to go.

Are there any collocation that you like to use in your business English? Share your list in the comments section below. If you know a collocation, but don’t understand the meaning, then pop it in the comments below and I will explain what it means and when and how to use it.

Well that is it from me, see you all next week.

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Andrew is the CEO and founder of the Art of Business English. Besides teaching and coaching native Spanish speakers in Business English, he is also passionate about mountain biking, sailing and healthy living. When He is not working, Andrew loves to spend time with his family and friends.

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