Business English- Functions Review


Responding to typical functional language jigsaw and speaking

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Lesson Plan Content:

Business functions review responses matching jigsaw

Instructions for teachers

Photocopy one copy per student to take away, plus one copy per group to be cut up into playing cards.

Cut up one pack of cards per group of two or three students, with the shaded ones on the left-hand side divided from the ones of the right and all the cards shuffled.

Give out just the shaded cards (questions) first of all, and ask students to brainstorm possible responses. Then give out the other cards (responses) and ask them to match them up. If they get stuck, tell them that there should be three responses for each question.

Give out copies for them to check their answers, and answer any questions.

To practise the language, play a selection of these games:

  • One student reads out a question, and the others try to make as many different responses as they can (not necessarily the ones in the pack)
  • One student reads a response and the other students try to make a question that could produce that response (not necessarily the one on the worksheet)
  • One student reads out a question, and their partner then chooses and reads out one of the responses. They then continue the conversation for as long as they can. After a few minutes of that, they hide the responses and try to have long conversations with just the questions as prompts.


Cards to cut up/ Suggested answers




Have we met?





No I don’t think so. I’m Alex Case. I work in the Yokohama office.



I think perhaps we have. Were you at the conference in March? -




I’m pretty sure we haven’t. Let me introduce myself…




Long time no see!






Yes, it’s been ages, hasn’t it?



Has it really been two years? How have you been?



It has been a while. I almost didn’t recognise you!




Unfortunately, the delivery doesn’t seem to have arrived yet.




I’m sorry to hear that. Hold the line please, and I’ll see if anyone knows what has happened


Just a moment, let me check on my computer. According to my records, it is due tomorrow.


I do apologise. If you can give me the order number, I’ll phone the driver and find out where he is



Could I possibly halve the amount of my last order?





Of course. No problem. I’ll change the details right now.


I’m afraid the order has already been processed, so there’s really nothing I can do. Sorry.


I’m afraid that’s not really possible. I could arrange for some to arrive later, though



I’m really sorry it took me so long to get back to you.






Don’t worry about it


No need to apologise. I know you’ve been really busy.



That’s alright, I’ve been in a meeting all day anyway.





I brought these samples back from Norway for you





Thanks, you’re a lifesaver. I owe you one.



That’s very kind of you. I’ll do the same for you sometime.


That’s very generous of you. You must let me buy you a drink.






Thanks for standing in for me yesterday.





No problem. Anytime.



Not at all. You’re very welcome



It was my pleasure. If you need my help again, just ask.



If we pay that price, can you deliver a week earlier?





That might be possible. I’ll see what I can do



I’m really sorry, I’m going to have to insist on that date




Okay. That’s a deal.




Are you free on Friday?






Do you mean tomorrow or next week?


Just a second, I’ll have a look in my diary. I have a space in my schedule between 2:00 and 16:30.


I’m afraid I’m attending a conference then. How about the following Monday?


Can I speak to someone in your sales department, please?





Of course. I’ll put you through to someone right away.



Please hold, I’ll check who is available.


Of course. If you could tell me what it is concerning, I’ll connect you to the right person




Can you put me through to Mr Smith, please?




I’m sorry, his line is busy at the moment. Can I take a message?


I’m afraid he’s on another line at the moment. Shall I put you through to someone else in accounts?



I’ll check if he is available. Can I ask who is calling?




… and the order number is IB9997TTG





I’m sorry, I didn’t catch the last part.



Can I just check that back?



Sorry, did you say B for bear or V for violin?



Brainstorming stage

Without looking back at the worksheets or cards, write general language (e.g. sentence stems like “Can I…?”) for each of the functions below (things you can remember from above or your own ideas)




Answering the phone






Making arrangements









Replying to thanks



Meeting people for the first time



Meeting people again






Responding to complaints






Responding to apologies



Look at the previous worksheets, add any language that you haven’t put so far, brainstorm more, then compare your extra ideas as a class.

Do the same with these other common business functions 




Responding to offers






Responding to requests






Responding to invitations



Introducing people



Making suggestions



Responding to suggestions



Starting conversations



Ending conversations



Saying hello



Saying goodbye



Showing people around



What functions above are most useful to you?

What language in those sections above are most useful to you?


Suggested answers

Clarifying – Did you say… (or ….?)/ Can repeat (the first part/ the name/ the address/ the last part/ the number)?/ Sorry, I didn’t catch…/ Is that (one five or five oh)?

Phoning – Can I speak to…, please?/ Can you put me through to…, please?/ This is … (from …) I’m phoning about…/ I’m sorry, I dialled the wrong number/ Hi John, this is Alex 

Answering the phone – 01323 678931/ (This is) Alex (Case) speaking. (How can I help you?)/ Stevie Smith’s phone/

Making arrangements – Let’s make it (12 o’clock)/ Why don’t we…?/ How about…?/

Negotiating – If…, can…?/ I’m have to insist (on…)/ It’s a deal/ That sounds acceptable

Thanking – Thanks/ Thank you so much/ That’s very kind of you/ You shouldn’t have!/ That’s very generous (of you)/ I’m very grateful/ I’ll do the same for you sometime/ How can I (ever) repay you?

Replying to thanks – You’re welcome/ Not at all/ Anytime/

Meeting for the first time – Nice to meet you/ Pleased to meet you/ How do you do?

Meeting people again – Long time no see!/ It’s so nice to see you again/

Complaining – Unfortunately,…/ I’m afraid…/ Could you do something about…?/ I’m not very satisfied…/ You said… but…/ Although you guaranteed…

Responding to complaints – Actually…/ To compensate you, we’d like to offer/ What can I do to make that up to you?/ It won’t happen again

Apologising – Sorry/ I am terribly sorry/ I do apologise/ I’m afraid…/ I’m sorry but…

Responding to apologies – Don’t worry about it/ Oh well, no damage done/ Just make sure that it doesn’t happen again/ I’m sorry, that really isn’t good enough

Offering – Can I help?/ Do you want me to…?/ Would you like (me to)…?/ Can I be of any assistance?/ You look like you could do with some help

Responding to offers – Yes please/ That would be lovely/ That’s okay, I think I can manage. / Thanks for the offer, but…

Requests – I’d like…/Can I…?/ Could I…?/ Can I speak to…?/ Can we (make it)…?

Responding to requests – Of course you can/ Here you are/ Here you go/ Go ahead/ Help yourself/ I’m sorry, that’s not allowed here/ I’m sorry but…/ I’m afraid…/ (To be honest) I’d rather you didn’t

Invitations – Do you want to (come)….? / Would you like to (come out)…?/ I’d like to invite you to…/ I’d like to take you to…/ I know a …. that I’d like to show you (if you are free)/ Do you have any plans for tonight?

Responding to invitations – (Thanks) I’d love to (but…) / That sounds great/ Great, see you there/ I’m afraid (I’m meeting…/ I’m a little tired/ I really need to get home)

Introducing people – Bob, this is Babs/ Jon have you met Madge?/ Can I introduce…?

Making suggestions – How about…?/ Why don’t we…?/ Have you thought about…?

Responding to suggestions – (Thanks) that’s a great idea/ I’ll give that a try/

Starting conversations – Do you have a minute (to talk)?/ Is this a good time?

Ending conversations – I really have to go/ I’ll let you get on/ I really must be going/ It was nice to talk to you/ Thanks for phoning

Saying hello – Hi/ Hello/ Alright?/ Hiya/ Good morning/ Good afternoon/ Good evening

Saying goodbye – Ciao/ Bye/ See you/ Take care/ See you (next week)/ Have a good (weekend/ week/ holiday)/ So long/ Good luck/ All the best (in your future…)

Showing people around – After you/ This way please/ Please take a seat/ Help yourself to…/ Make yourself at home/ You can leave your… here (if you like)/ Can I take your coat?

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