Friday, September 6, 2013

Social Media in Business

Image courtesy of tungphoto /

Do you like social media?  Do you think it's useful for businesses?  In what ways?  Please read an article about social media and its uses for small businesses and respond to the questions below.  Send your answers to us at  We'll correct them and send them back to you, and we'll give you further learning tips.  Test us for free!

1.  What are some ways that social media can be helpful for small businesses?
2.  Name some advantages and disadvantages of social media for businesses. 
3.  Describe what kinds of marketing work on social media.
4.  Do you use social media?  Why or why not? 
5.  Do you look at company websites or social media profiles?  What do you like or dislike about this kind of marketing?

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Too stressed for work?

Have you ever missed work due to bullying, stress or anxiety?  Do you know someone affected by these issues?  It seems like we often hear about people stressing out, breaking down and burning out. 

First, practice your phrasal verbs related to work and stress on the BBC Learning English Site:

There you can listen to some conversations, read along and take a vocabulary quiz.

Now that you're warmed up, please read this article:

List any new vocabulary that you find, define it and write an example sentence using it.

Then, answer these questions:

1.  Have you ever been too stressed to work?
2.  Would your doctor excuse you from work due to stress, anxiety or bullying?
3.  Do you know anyone who's burned out because of their job or colleagues? What happened?
4.  How would you or do you handle work-related stress or anxiety?
5.  Is there anything you'd change about your job to make it less stressful?  What?

Send us your vocabulary list and answers to for corrections, suggestions and further learning tips!

Monday, April 29, 2013


Do you think that traditional national currencies have a future?  What do you know about alternative currencies?  Can you name a few?  Do you have any local alternative currencies where you live or work?

Read about the Bitcoin and tell us what you think!

Send us your response at and we will respond with corrections and further learning tips.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Business Vocabulary

Practice your business English using the BBC's Talking Business course.  This is a free, interactive business English course with audio and exericses online here:

Choose which module you're interested in and work through it.  When you finish, please write us an email using the vocabulary that you've learned; maybe you can write about a meeting or phone call that you've had to do or make at work or imagine a meeting, phone call or other business situation and write a transcript for the dialog you imagine, of course using the vocabulary you've learned.  Send it to us at and we will send you feedback asap.  Test us today for free!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States, a day when families come together, enjoy good company and good food.  A typical Thanksgiving dinner in my family is turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing (a bread dish), buttercup squash, corn, cranberry sauce, and rolls.  For dessert there's the obligatory pumpkin pie.  (Here's the pumpkin pie recipe that I use, you can use real baked pumpkin or squash instead of canned.)  Then everyone falls into a tryptophan- and carbohydrate-induced coma and rests up for the next day:  Black Friday! 

Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving, the first shopping day of the Christmas season.  It's called Black Friday because it's the first day of the year when stores start making a profit, so they are "in the black" and no longer "in the red".  In the last years sales and retail-mania have been increasing, so that people wait in lines and crowds in front of stores for hours before they open to get the most desired items that are on sale for super low prices and are only available in limited numbers. Last year some stores even opened at midnight to start the Black Friday sales.  Even back when I was a student people were so crazed for the Black Friday deals that they literally got into fistfights over items that were only available in limited quantities.  How's that for some Christmas spirit?

Do you know of a shopping day like this in your home country? 
Would you like to go shopping in America on Black Friday (or have you)?
Answer these questions and check out some Black Friday sales here.  What would you like to buy on Black Friday if you were to go shopping?  Or would you boycott this day?  Why?

Email us your answers to  If you are a student with Virtualingua already, you can do this as one of your tutored exercises.  If you aren't learning with us yet, you can do this exercise and send us your answers to get a free sample of our professional tutoring!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Jobs in America

The job situation in the United States is truly miserable.  Unemployment is very high, young people are returning home to live with their parents if they can't support themselves.  The financial crisis of 2008 is still rearing its ugly head in my home country. 

Please read the article below:

What is the main topic of the article? 
Is this a problem?
What do you think should be done?

Send us your answers to  If you're already a student with us, do this as a tutored exercise, if not send us your answers an we'll correct them and send them back.  Test our tutoring for free!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Small Talk at Work

Having good relationships with your colleagues is important, but how personal can you get?  The following article outlines a few tips.  Please think about these questions:

1.  Do you know your colleagues well?  Do you see them outside of work as well?
2.  How much do you talk about your personal life with your colleagues?
3.  What topics are taboo with colleagues?
4.  What private topics are safe to talk about at work?

Now read the article "Up close and personal " from Business Spotlight.  Answer the questions below:

1.  What strategy does the article describe for starting conversation about personal topics?
2.  How can you react appropriately to positive and negative news from colleagues?
3.  Are you a high discloser or a low discloser, as described in the article?
4.  What's your opinion:  Is it better to have informal conversations with your colleagues or to completely separate your private and work life?

When you are finished, please send your answers to us at  You can send us this work as a tutored exercise if you are already a student with us or if you're new to Virtualingua, send us your answers and test our tutoring for free!  You will receive a reply with corrections to your English and further learning tips.