ABA English

Useful English Phrases for Working in the Service Industry

This post is a contribution from our friends at ABA English.

Like it or not, it is well-known that English has become practically indispensable at work. No matter where we work – even if we are preparing to go abroad in search of new professional opportunities or experiences – we cannot get by without English. In fact, English is an international language and therefore is essential for those who work in the tourism, food service, marketing, and pharmaceutical industries, among others.

The question we should be asking ourselves is, what is the necessary level of English I need in order to be able to perform my job? The answer is: it depends! The vocabulary needed varies by work sector. In some areas, it is enough to know a few basic expressions, while others require a much broader knowledge of vocational language.

Below you can find a list of useful phrases in English, arranged according to the line of work they can be used in. Let’s take a look!

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In a Restaurant

We have selected the most common phrases that you will hear in a restaurant. Knowing English is an advantage when serving the tourists who visit your restaurant. Restaurant language is always formal, polite, and relatively simple.

  • Good morning, here’s the menu!
  • Are you ready to order?
  • Would you like to have something to drink?
  • Would you like something else?
  • Shall I bring the bill?
  • I hope you enjoyed your meal!
  • See you soon.

If you’d like to learn more vocabulary related to restaurants, you can check out our post on phrasal verbs you might need if you’re eating out.

In a Travel Agency

The following are the most common phrases that you will use in a travel agency. Travel agents must answer questions, describe places, and give recommendations and directions. They must communicate politely with customers while making sure that everything is clear.

  • How can I help?
  • Do you need to buy a plane ticket?
  • Do you want to buy the return ticket?
  • Do you need the transport to / from the airport?
  • Are you interested in buying insurance, too?

In a Store

Below are the most common phrases that you need to assist customers in a shop. Whether in a supermarket, a clothing store or a pharmacy, everyone needs to go to the shops. Speaking English to customers will help them find what they need faster and leave happier!

  • Good morning, how can I help you?
  • Are you looking for something in particular?
  • Would you like to try something on?
  • This dress really fits you! That dress looks really good on you!
  • Have a lovely day!

In the Office

Here are the most common phrases that you will use in the office. Many companies now use English to work and communicate in the international market. Knowing how to use English to navigate the workplace can help you enhance your professional prospects.

  • Welcome!
  • I am …, the head of this department.
  • What is the order of the day? What is today’s schedule?
  • Sorry, I didn’t understand you. Could you repeat that, please?
  • Can we proceed? or Can we continue?
  • Today we want to talk about…
  • Does anyone have any questions?
  • Would you like to have a coffee before we start?
  • I agree with you.
  • Thank you for your attention.
  • The main reason for this meeting is…
  • When can I get in touch with you?
  • How do you prefer to be contacted?
  • I will contact you by e-mail.

On Skype

Skype is an application that is used all over the world to communicate easily via voice, video, or chat. The following phrases in English can help your Skype session go more smoothly for both parties.

  • Can you hear me?
  • I understand your point.
  • We will also need to meet in person.
  • I am going to send you an e-mail with the points we have discussed today.
  • Could I have your contact details?

These are just some examples of useful phrases to help you communicate in English at work. The secret to being able to communicate effectively in English at work is good preparation, a lot of willpower, and above all an effective study method.

If you are looking for an easy way to learn English vocabulary that you need for your job, then we have something that is perfect for you. ABA English offers 144 free grammar video classes as well as short films and interactive activities for each level.

If you already know that you will need to use English for your job, what are you waiting for? Start today!


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