Government spending throughout 2021 was a boon to the business sector. Jobs returned, production rose, and many countries ended the year on a positive note. But growth – and years of low interest rates – has raised the specter of inflation, or rising prices. Now all eyes are on central banks, especially in the United Stated, to see how they’ll respond. As the NY Times reports:
Federal Reserve policymakers have moved into inflation-fighting mode saying they would cut back more quickly on their pandemic-era stimulus at a moment of rising prices and strong economic growth. This move will cap a challenging year with a policy shift that could usher in higher interest rates in 2022.
Spring is a busy time for accountants in the U.S. and many other countries. That’s because spring is when corporations and individuals have to file a tax return with the government. It’s our yearly reminder that we don’t get to keep everything we earn.
Of course, those busy accountants aren’t just calculating your revenue and costs. They’re looking for ways to reduce the amount you – or your business – have to pay in tax. And that’s why the chatter around offices and board rooms is all about ways to avoid handing over too much money to the tax man.
Listen to these conversations and you’ll notice many useful expressions. For example, I’ve already used the phrase “file a tax return.” That verb “file” always goes with “return” when we talk about our annual submission to the government. You can learn those words together, as one expression or “collocation.”
A collocation is just a natural combination of words that native English speakers learn as a chunk. With English collocations, we don’t have to go searching for every word in our brain. Instead, we pull out a string of words that matches our intended meaning. Learning these strings of words is more efficient, and will make you sound more natural. As you listen to today’s conversation, try to pick out some of these collocations and we’ll discuss them later in the debrief.
In the dialog, we’ll continue with a conversation about the tax situation of a company called Brando Equipment. Christie has been giving an update to two senior managers: Glen and Ivana. Last time, Christie gave them an overall picture of the tax situation, and today she’s providing more detail.
1. What does Christie say is one factor that increased their reported income? 2. What helped reduce the company’s reported income by about $50,000? 3. What important issue does Ivana want to discuss in more detail at the end of the dialog?”
There’s an old saying in English that “nothing is certain except death and taxes.” But, although taxes are certain, the exact amount you have to pay isn’t. Just ask any accountant. For both companies and individuals, there are all sorts of ways to lower your tax bill. And a lower tax bill means more money in our pockets, or in our shareholders pockets. For this reason, tax is a popular topic of discussion, especially in the spring when most taxes are due.
In this financial English lesson, we’ll listen to three managers at Brando Equipment discuss their tax situation. During the conversation, the managers use a lot of common expressions related to taxes. We call these expressions “collocations.” A collocation is just a group of words that go together naturally.
Some English collocations, such as “take a chance,” are widely used. But many collocations are particular to a certain field of work or topic. And to work in that field or discuss that topic, you need to know these special expressions. When it comes to taxes, for example, you need to know that we use the verb “file” with “taxes” to talk about our yearly report to the government. Learning collocations like this in different fields will develop your vocabulary and help you sound more natural.
In the dialog, we’ll hear Christie, Glen, and Ivana discuss the tax situation at Brando Equipment, a subsidiary their company has recently purchased. Glen and Ivana are corporate managers, while Christie is an accountant. The three colleagues use many English collocations and vocabulary specific to taxes as they talk about how much tax Brando Equipment owes.
1. What does Ivana hope that they finish by the 30th of the month? 2. Near the start of the conversation, what does Christie say is higher than they anticipated? 3. What key piece of information does Glen want to know?
According to Donald Trump, “trade wars are easy to win.” However, as usual, reality appears to contradict Trump’s claims. In the current dispute between the U.S. and China, it doesn’t look like a winner will emerge any time soon. As CNN notes:
The Trump administration made good on its threat to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese exports from 10% to 25%, marking a sharp rise in tensions between the world’s two largest economies. After months of talks aimed at ending a year-long dispute that has already hurt global growth and rattled stock markets around the world, the latest US salvo risks triggering a new wave of tit-for-tat responses.
Every company’s goal is to make a profit. But how they go about that is different. Different industries, different business models, different approaches – There’s no simple recipe for success. And there’s no simple, single way to measure whether a company is performing well.
Instead, we look at many different factors when we measure company performance. We’ve also got a lot of different expressions in English for discussing the topic. And many of these English expressions are what we call “collocations.”
What’s a collocation? Well, it’s just a natural combination of words. Ever heard the expressions “turn a profit” or “boost the bottom line?” We don’t say “grow a profit” or “up the bottom line.” Those simply aren’t natural collocations. And if you say something like that, you won’t sound natural.
So studying collocations is a great way to sound more natural with your vocabulary. You can learn combinations of words, rather than single words on their own. As you listen to the dialog today, try to pick out some of these collocations, and we’ll discuss them later in the debrief.
In the dialog, we’ll rejoin a meeting at a private equity firm. Three colleagues, Maria, Claudia, and Taylor, are talking about some of the companies they’ve invested in. They’ll use lots of great collocations as they discuss the performance of these companies.
1. What does Claudia think about SmartMoney? 2. What does Taylor think they should do before selling off SmartMoney? 3. What has Claudia been focusing on with Byron Industries?