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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: 10 Words You Need to Sound Smart at Work in English

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- Hello, everyone, and welcome back to "English With Lucy."

Today, we are going talk about

10 words that will make you sound smart at work in English.

This video is perfect for improving your vocabulary,

but if you want to improve your pronunciation

and your listening skills even further,

then I highly recommend you try the special method

of combining reading real books

with listening to audiobooks at the same time.

Let me explain.

Take a book you've already read in English

or a book that you would like to read in English,

I've got lots of recommendations

down below in the description box,

and read it whilst you listen to its audiobook counterpart

on Audible.

Reading on its own will not help with your pronunciation.

The way a word is spelled or written in English

doesn't really give you much indication

as to how it's pronounced in English.

Take a look at this word.

I could pronounce it "reed."

I could pronounce it "red."

If you listen to a word as you're reading it,

your brain will start to make connections,

and next time you read that word,

you'll know how it's pronounced,

and next time you hear that word,

you'll know how it's spelled.

This is such an effective method.

It's helped so many of my students.

And the best part is, you can get one free audiobook.

That's the 30-day free trial with Audible.

All you have to do is click on the link

down in the description box and sign up.

I've also got lots of audiobook recommendations

down there too.

Right, let's get started with the 10 words

to make you sound smarter at work in English.

Word number one is mundane.


I love this word, and I use it fairly frequently.

It's an adjective, meaning very ordinary,

lacking excitement, or dull.

Now this is a really good one to use at work

because in a professional environment,

we're constantly trying to not offend people, aren't we?

Especially in British workplaces,

we don't like to say things directly.

We like to use other words to express how we really feel.

Now instead of saying something is boring or uninteresting,

using the word mundane can be really nice way of showing

that you're not interested in something.

So, for example, if you wanted to say

that you found a previous task or campaign or role

very boring and not very exciting and just very average,

you could say, "I found the role to be fairly mundane."

It's just not as negative, and you're almost implying

that your current role is really extraordinary and exciting.

It's also a good word to use in meetings

if you've got a lot of boring things to talk about first

before you move onto the interesting topic.

You can say, "Right, let's get all of the mundane tasks

"out of the way

"and then we can move onto something interesting."

Number two, another beautiful word is accolade.


This word is a noun,

and it means an acknowledgement of merit,

or an award or privilege granted as a special honour.

It's a really nice way of avoiding the words

prize or reward, which are quite mundane.

Perhaps you're congratulating someone

because they've won an award or a prize

and you don't want to repeat those words

and you don't want to say something else mundane,

like "Well done," or "Wow. Great."

Saying something like, "That's a tremendous accolade,

"congratulations" is a really sincere and professional

and heartfelt way of congratulating someone.

Or perhaps you want to emphasise how amazing

an achievement is.

You could say, "Wow, that's the biggest accolade

"in the industry."

Or maybe you're doubting something or someone's merit.

You could say, "Do you think that accolade is deserved?"

Various options for you.

Let's move onto number three.

And number three is capricious.


This is an adjective,

and it means changing mood or behaviour

suddenly and unexpectedly.

It's basically a nice way of warning someone

that somebody is unpredictable

and can maybe have a hot temper.

So say you'd like to warn someone in your team

that someone else is unpredictable, subject to mood swings,

but you don't want to be unprofessional and rude.

You could say, "Robert's known to be a little capricious,

"so I'm not sure how he'll react to that news."

Or you could use the term to speak about a team

or department in general.

For example, "Despite the capricious nature

"of our marketing department,

"the campaign was a roaring success."

Number five.

This has been used to describe me many times.

It could be used to describe my hairstyle today.

It is dishevelled.


Note that in American English,

this is normally just spelled with one L.

I just thought I would mention it

before some smart corrects me, as they always do.

This is used to talk about someone's clothes,

hair, and appearance, and it means untidy or disordered.

Hence why I used it to describe my untidy bun,

or messy bun, as they call it nowadays.

This can be used as a nicer way

to comment on somebody's untidy

and potentially unprofessional appearance.

You don't want to say, "Oh, you look very messy,"

or "You don't look professional,"

'cause that could be very insulting

or it could ruin their confidence.

If a colleague or employee comes into the office

looking very messy, very disorderly,

you could say something along the lines of,

"You're looking a bit dishevelled.

"Perhaps you can go and straighten up

"before the presentation.'

What you want to say is clear,

but you don't have to use insulting terms.

Or perhaps it could be you asking for feedback.

Maybe you've come back into the office after lunch

and you've had a windy walk to the office.

You want to know if your hair still looks professional.

You could say, "Am I looking a bit dishevelled or am I okay?"

Better than, "Do I look like a total hot mess

"or am I looking great?"

Number six is elucidate.


This means to make something clear

or to explain something that was formerly murky

or confusing.

And there's wonder how this word came to be.

It's derived from lucid,

and that itself is derived from the Latin word,

excuse my pronunciation, lucre,

it sounded more Italian, that, which means to shine.

This is just a lovely word that you can use

instead of explain, which itself is often very overused.

It's nice to have an alternative.

I also think that this word can sound very professional,

teetering toward stern.

So if you want to be very serious with someone,

and you want to ask them to explain themselves,

you can ask them to elucidate.

So if someone's made a bad decision

and you want an explanation, you can say,

"Please elucidate the reasons for your decision."

Or maybe someone's struggling to understand you

and you're getting slightly frustrated.

You can say, "You've not understood me.

"Allow me to elucidate.

"Allow me to explain further."

Obviously, this was murky.

Make it more clear.

Number seven.

This one's fun to say.



I hope you're all practising at home.


This is a verb.

This means to make a problem

or negative situation even worse.

So this is a great word to use

if you're talking about an increasing problem.

For example, "Kerry's redundancy will only exacerbate

"the staff shortage issue."

Really, all we've said is, Kerry's redundancy

will make the staff shortage problem worse.

But exacerbate sounds so much better

and more intelligent.

Another example, "The high prices of raw materials

"only exacerbated the falling profits."

Number eight is quintessential.


This is an adjective used when something represents

the most perfect example or a quality or class.

For example, if a client is looking for a campaign

that really represents their culture to a T,

as in perfectly, you could say,

"Out clients want the campaign

"to be quintessentially British," or wherever they're from.

Or talking about British traits,

"Queuing, along with warm beer and afternoon tea

"is a quintessentially British trait."

Number nine is ubiquitous.


This means present, appearing, or found everywhere.

If something is ubiquitous, it's everywhere.

Maybe you can use this in the workplace

to talk about something that's on trend.

An example: "Leather is very much on trend this season,

"as is the ubiquitous denim."

Denim is just always around.

Or you can use it to discuss something that is overused

or is overpresent.

For example, "We live in a society

"where the term risk is ubiquitous."

It's just everywhere.

We're too worried about risks.

And number 10 is perfunctory.


This is used to speak about an action

that is done is a routine manner with little care.

This is a very good word to use

if you want to imply that more care should be taken.

For example, "Their audit was completed

"in a perfunctory manner,"

as in, I wish they had taken more care with their audit.

Or maybe if you want to warn someone

that because an employee has been at a company

at a very long time, they're now doing things

as if they're a robot, rather than an engaged human being.

For example, "Due to the fact that Anne has done these tasks

"for many, many years,

"she now completes them in a perfunctory manner."

Right, those were the 10 words that I have chosen for you

so that you can appear more professional in the workplace

or in a professional environment.

Feel free to share any more down below

in the comments sections.

I love hearing all of your recommendations

and suggestions.

Your homework is to write five sentences

using five of these words, your five favourites.

If you can, try to make them business-related sentences.

Don't forget to check out Audible

and try out that special method

of listening to audiobooks whilst reading the book version.

You can get your free audiobook and 30-day free trial

by clicking on the link in the description box

and signing up.

And don't forget to connect with me

on all of my social media.

I've got my Facebook, my Instagram, my Twitter,

and my second channel, my Lucy Bella Earl channel.

Very funny.

I've had a lot of comments saying,

"Oh my god, you've lost all your subscribers,"

'cause people don't realise

it's not the English With Lucy channel.

I have two channels.

And there, I talk about life,

and everything that's not to do with English.

I will see you soon for another lesson.


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