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Ask Doctor English
Your ESL and English language learning specialist. Ask Dr. English whatever you like about the English language.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


Using English for business purposes can be challenging. Typically speaking business English is more formal than the language used in everyday situations. However you need to consider not only the use of the language, but also the culture when using English in a business environment.

In Canada, when we address people in a business situation, we follow the rule of “Formal First”. What this means is that the first time you meet someone, you should use a formal title such as Mr., Mrs., or Ms., followed by the person’s family (last) name. Remember that the title Mr. is always used for a man, the title Mrs. is for a married woman and the title Ms. is unmarried, widowed or divorce.

After using a formal greeting in your first meeting, it is common for someone to invite you to call them by their first name. If someone invites you to do this (for example, Mr. Smith says, “Please call me John.”) then you should call the person by their first name from that point onward.
It is quite common to use only first names with people in a business environment.

If you would like more information on BIZ TALK, please email Doctor English with your questions at drenglish@vec.ca


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