Derek Callan . Professional English


Hello everyone!


I hope you're all having a good summer so far.


The first and only post I published about TED Talks was way back in January 2015, so let me remind you of what TED Talks are: is a website where you can watch hundreds of talks on different topics by people from business, sports, technology, politics, science etc. It's a great way to improve your listening skills and learn new vocabulary and phrases along the way.


Here's a nice, short example to give you a taste:



You can also switch the subtitles off or choose another language.


If you enjoy this one, why not check out some more?


All the best,


26.05.2017 - Derek Callan

Number 78: Phrases for formal emails

Hello everybody!

It’s been too long since my last post, but better late than never!

Let's have a look at some useful phrases for formal emails:


Opening lines:

  • I hope all is well. (When you already know the person)
  • I am writing to enquire about ....
  • I am writing to inform you about ...
  • The reason for this mail is ....


  • I have attached a copy of the document you requested.
  • Please find a copy of the requested document attached.

Closing lines:

  • If you require any further information, feel free to contact me.
  • Should you need any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.
  • I look forward to your reply.
  • I look forward to hearing from you.
  • I look forward to meeting you in person next week.


Tip - when referring to an action, the -ing form is always used after the phrase I look forward to…


I look forward to see you. INCORRECT

I look forward to seeing you. CORRECT

I hope you find these phrases useful.

All the best,

30.03.2017 - Derek Callan

Number 77: I'm glad you've brought that up

Hello everyone,


let’s have a look at the following phrasal verb:





to mention a topic or start to talk about it




1.     I don't like to bring this up, but we are having some problems with the new assistant.


2.     Wolfgang: Would it be possible to discuss the new sales strategy for a few minutes?

Boris: Yes, I’m glad you’ve brought that up Wolfgang – we need to clarify a few things.


What will you bring up in your next discussion?

All the best,


28.02.2017 - Derek Callan

Number 76: Get it off your chest

Hello everyone,

I hope all is well.

Take a look at the following phrase:


To tell someone about something that has been worrying you


  • Is everything ok? Is there something you want to get off your chest?
  • Herbert was unsure about his future at the company, so he got it off his chest and asked his boss directly.

Hope you find this post useful.

All the best,

25.01.2017 - Derek Callan

Number 75: Play it by ear

Hello everybody!


I hope you’ve all had a good start to 2017.


Now, let’s have a look at another common business expression:


play it by ear



To do something without preparation, to improvise


Example 1:

James: What should we do if they don’t agree to our proposal?

Simon: I’m not sure to be honest - we’ll just have to play it by ear.


Example 2:

Gill: What do you want to do after the conference?

Bob: We could go for dinner at the hotel, or maybe try the Italian place across the street. Let’s play it by ear.


Do you often “play it by ear”?


Hope you found this useful.

All the best,