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Business English & Business Writing

Course #:PDC 011-1
Lecturer:Patricia EbanksEmail:
Start Time:Spring 2021Tel: (345) 623-8224

Course Description 

The purpose of this course is to enable students to communicate effectively in professional business contexts.

Course Objectives: This course will cover— 

  • Mechanics—basic grammar and sentence structure, and basic business vocabulary.
  • Business Writing—standard letter formats, memos and summary/report, with attention to style, audience, and purpose.
  • Personal and professional presentations in a variety of business contexts—use of telephone, negotiating, teamwork, interviews etc.
  • Critical analysis skills—analyzing passages to gain an insight into misleading, manipulative communication, as opposed to more effective ways of conveying information. Identifying main points and supporting evidence.


Lectures, discussions, in-class assignments, role playing, and group and individual assignments and presentations

Start Date: January 20, 2021

End Date: March 25, 2021

Duration: 8 weeks, at 4 hours each week, totally 32 teaching hours and 16 hours tutorial, totalling 48 hours

Instructional days: Tuesdays and Thursdays

Time: 2 hrs. on instructional days, 5:30 to 7:30 pm

Suggested tutorial: Weekly group or individual tutorials by appointment as needed.

Course Grade

Students will be graded on the basis of mastery of content on a continuous-assessment basis, for a total of 70% of final grade. The remaining 30% of final grade will comprise a group project involving a written critique of an advertisement of students’ choice, at 10%. Students will make a related presentation on the final day of the course, for 20% of the final grade.

Text: Barron’s Business English, Fifth Edition.

Student course evaluation

Student course evaluation is performed in accordance with guidance issued by the University College.

MODULE 1: Commencing, January 20/Ending February 4

Course Content Outline


Week I
Jan. 20: Introduction
  • Course outline and approach
  • Students’ role and responsibilities

Achieving “buy in” with customers, peers, and supervisors

  • Brief intro to the physiology of processing information
  • The persuasion cycle
  • The core rules for persuasion

Basics of office protocol

Phone protocols and meeting procedures

  • use of phone/role play:
    • checking & clarifying information;
    • diffusing situations;
    • notetaking/follow through;
    • confidentiality
Use of English
  • Vocabulary building
  • Identifying subject and verbs
  • Subject-verb agreement
Week II
Jan. 26/28

Meeting procedures/role play

  • Preparing for meetings
  • Conducting and contributing to efficient meetings, and
  • Putting results to productive use

Practicum: Core Rule 1 for persuasion

Assignment: practise Core Rule 1 and report.

Handling a company’s correspondence

  • In-house correspondence
  • Composing business letters and email communication
  • Different types of business letters
    • “Request” and “Reply” letters
    • “Complaints, Claims, and Adjustment” letters
    • “Sales and Public Relations” & “Social and Business” letters

Assignment 1: Draft a standard business letter

Practicum: Core Rule 2 for persuasion

Assignment 2: Practise Core Rule 2 and report

Use of English
  • Vocabulary building
  • Verb forms
  • Choosing appropriate tenses
Week III
Feb. 2-4


Achieving authenticity in report writing

  • Plagiarism
  • Basics of summarising

Identifying essential ideas and lines of thought

Reports and news articles

  • Informal and formal reports
  • Numerical reports

Practicum: Core Rule 3 for persuasion

Assignment: Practise Core Rule 3 and report.

Practicum: Core Rule 4 for persuasion practicum

Assignment: Practise Core Rule 4 and report.

Use of English
  • Vocabulary building
  • Sentence completers

MODULE 2 Commencing February 16/Ending February 25


Week IV
Feb. 16/18


  • Identifying thesis, supporting evidence
  • Different types of “appeals”
  • Misleading arguments
  • Identifying literary devices
  • Audience awareness
Use of English
  • Vocabulary building
  • Identifying key ideas
  • Identifying and avoiding pitfalls:

Fallacies, ambiguity, verbosity, clichés, tautology, colloquialism

Week V
Feb. 23/25

Analysing and critiquing advertisements

Practicum: Core Rule 5 for persuasion

Assignment 1: Practise Core Rule 5 and report

Assignment 2: write a critique of an advertisement of your choice, due on Tuesday, March 9

Use of English
  • Vocabulary building
  • Introduction to clauses and phrases
  • The sentence vs.
  • fragments vs. run-ons
  • Identifying complete sentences
  • Pronouns/antecedent agreement

MODULE 3, commences March 9; course concludes March 25


Week VI
Tuesday, Mar. 9.

Employment Correspondence

Job interview

Objective writing in work context

Written Ad Critique due

Use of English
  • editing for subject-verb agreement/pronoun antecedent 
          agreement/sentence structure
  • Mechanics: punctuation, capitalization, abbreviations, numbers
Thursday, Mar. 11

Social networking

  • speed networking;
  • small talk;
  • turn-taking;
  • business conventions

Feedback on Ad Critique

Practicum Core Rule 6

Assignment: Practise Core Rule 6 and report.

Use of English
  • Advanced sentence structure
  • Vocabulary building
  • Editing for grammar and mechanical errors
Week VII
Tuesday, Mar 16

Presentation skills

  • Organizing a presentation
    • Introducing a topic effectively
    • Presentation body
    • Presentation close
  • Responding to questions
  • Delivering your presentation

Practicum Core Rule 7

Assignment 1: Due final day: Presentation based on critique.

Assignment 2: Practise Core Rule 7 and report

Use of English
  • Vocabulary building
  • Editing for grammar and mechanical errors
Thursday, Mar 18

Review of presentation skills

Practicum Core Rule 8

Review of achieving “buy in” / Role playing

Use of English
  • Vocabulary building
  • Editing for grammar and mechanical errors
Tuesday, Mar. 23

Practice presentation and feedback

Use of English
  • Vocabulary building
  • Editing for grammar and mechanical errors
Thursday, Mar. 25

Final Session

Oral group presentations based on critique


Use of English
  • Vocabulary building
  • Editing for grammar and mechanical errors
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