10 Smart English Words You Should Use at Work Right Now

Jul 10, 2019 | Advanced Vocabulary, Business Professional English

Want to sound confident and professional when you talk to your boss, your colleagues, and your peers in English? I’ve got 10 words to help you do that.

Today you’ll learn 10 smart English words, you’ll sound professional, intelligent and positive. It’s an easy way to be more impressive at work… just a few small changes can have a big impact. Who wouldn’t want that?

So, let’s find out exactly what they are. Plus get examples for how to use them.

👉Stay tuned to the end for my special tip on one English word you DEFINITELY want to avoid (and what you should use instead). 

10 smart English words to use at work — advanced vocabulary.

Lesson by Annemarie

10 Smart English Words for Work (and How to Use Them)

Number 1: Certainly

Certainly is a great alternative to okay or no problem, which are used way too much in English.

So the next time your boss asks, “Can you get that document to me by the end of the afternoon?”

You should respond, “Certainly!”


Number 2: Modify

Things at work are always changing. The problem is many people don’t like change, so the word ‘change’ doesn’t help them feel good or make you look good.

An easy upgrade here, that can make you sound smart is the word ‘modify’. This means it is a small change, so it can sound less terrifying. 

Instead of saying:

 ‘We need to change what we are doing here because the customer isn’t happy.’ 

You can use the word modify and say:

‘Modifying our approach would make the customer happier.’


Number 3: Complications

There is a word that puts fear into almost anyone at work, and that word is ‘problem’.

When someone walks into the office and says ‘there is a problem’, no one feels great! So, to sound less negative and impress a little more, try a fancier word like ‘complication’. 

Rather than:

There is a problem with the order and it is running really late.


There have been some complications and the order’s been delayed.


Number 4: Sensational

Don’t get me wrong, awesome is a fabulous word. That is exactly why we use it so much.

But at work, saying this is awesome and that is awesome all the time, gets old really quickly and the word loses it power from being overused.

So, it is definitely a good move to change it up and use some synonyms for ‘awesome’.

‘Sensational’ is a good place to start, it has the same meaning, that something is really great or wonderful, and it sounds particularly positive. 

If a colleague offers to buy you coffee, what could you say? That would be sensational!! 


Number 5: Elaborate

Elaborate is a great verb that just means to give more details.

So instead of saying to your colleague, “what do you mean?”

You can say, “Could you elaborate?” It’s much more polite and professional.


Number 6: Leverage

Companies love the word leverage. If you talk about this at work, you will definitely impress.

It really means getting an advantage, so you could say to your colleague: Modifying our approach could give us real leverage here (which means, if we change what we are doing we could get an advantage). But using leverage sounds SO much better, doesn’t it?


Number 7: Ramifications

The fact is, at work we sometimes have to talk about bad things that have happened or might happen. So why not take that opportunity to sound super smart while doing it?

The word you need in that case is ‘ramifications’ which means those bad things that happen that we didn’t want or didn’t expect.

We often use this word together with ‘potential’.

For instance, when considering an idea at work, if you want to suggest the team thinks about the possibility for unexpected or unwanted negative effects you could say:

“We may need to consider the ramifications before proceeding.” 


Number 8: Perplexing

Sometimes things are definitely confusing at work.

Perhaps a customer has done something weird, maybe the files you just put on your desk have disappeared… or that email your boss sent didn’t show up in your inbox. 😬

In these instances it is the perfect time to sound smart. Instead of saying, ‘That’s weird!’ or ‘I’m confused’, use ‘That’s perplexing’.

You are simply saying how confusing something is, but you are sounding so impressive doing it!


Number 9: Straightforward

Everyone likes things at work to be easy.

We hope that a project will be easy, that preparing for the presentation will be easy and that meeting our deadlines will be easy.

Instead of saying ‘easy’, impress with your vocabulary and say ‘straightforward’.

For example:

“Working with this client should be quite straightforward, they have clear goals and timelines.”


Number 10: Like (a word to AVOID)

It is time to talk about the all important overused filler that we all need to stop using so much. The word ‘like’.

This word creeps into way too many sentences. I have heard sentences where it pops up 3, 4 or even 5 times!

👉At work it sounds unprofessional, especially when used as a filler. So, instead of throwing ‘like’ in there, just take a little pause and think clearly about what you want to say.

There are some great alternatives for when we are using ‘like’ to introduce information. For instance:

Don’t say: There are lots of opportunities like this for our product.

Do say: There are plenty of opportunities such as this for our sensational product.

Other options include: for instance or specifically.


❤️love this lesson? Be sure to check out these similar lessons on advanced vocabulary:

10 Collocations with the Word Say

Collocations with the Word Think

Visit my full Advanced Vocabulary playlist

Now that you’ve watched the video and learned 10 new smart English words you can start using at work today, it’s time to practice!

Here is an opportunity for you to use them right now.

Of these 10, which is your favorite upgrade that you could imagine yourself using?

Share it with us below and give us an example or two of what you could say. It’s the best place to get feedback and learn from others in the Confident English Community. We look forward to hearing from you! 

Have a fantastic Confident English Wednesday!

~ Annemarie

Get the Confidence to Say What You Want in English

Follow my 3-step solution to speak English with clarity, fluency, and freedom so you can say what you want with confidence.

You'll also get my Confident English lessons delivered by email every Wednesday and occasional information about available courses. You can unsubscribe any time.

More Like This

How to Describe Your Personality in English

How to Describe Your Personality in English

Did you know it’s common in daily conversation & in job interviews to hear this question: “So, how would you describe yourself?” — How would you answer the question? Use this lesson to learn real-life English vocabulary for describing personalities in English.

📣 The Confident Women Community in April
The CWC is where women learn, practice, speak, and make progress. Coming in April we have speaking partner matching PLUS new study guides on travel. 🗺️

I'd love your thoughts and questions! Please share your comment.x

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This