8 Awesome Business English Writing Resources and Courses Online
When you start doing business in English, you’ll quickly learn that learning to speak business English fluently isn’t enough!
You need to be able to write correctly and in an engaging manner.
You need to know the right words to use when emailing your clients or drafting a report to your boss.
In this post, I will provide you with 7 online resources and courses that can help you learn the art of business English writing in a fast and efficient manner.
- Business English Writing Resources
- Business English Writing Courses
- How Is Writing in Business English Different?
- How to Choose the Right Business Writing Course Online
- And One More Thing...
Business English Writing Resources
A free grammar checker, you can use Grammarly as a Chrome extension and it’ll check everything you type for errors while using the web browser. You can also download it for use on Microsoft Word or for Windows in general.
Price: Monthly rate, pricing plans here
You can watch videos such as “Practice Your Business Writing” on FluentU and plenty of other videos that can help you improve your business English writing.
The FluentU program has many other videos to learn from, like movie trailers, news segments, clips from educational programming and an entire business category with hundreds of videos—all organized by difficulty level. The program will show you the definition of any word in a video, and let you add it as a flashcard for later study with personalized quizzes.
You can make a flashcard deck for business vocabulary or business email vocabulary, specifically. From here, you’ll also see other videos that use the words for additional context. And since we often write emails from our phones, it’s a good thing that FluentU can also come on the go with you through any browser, the iOS or the Android apps.
Price: Starts at $4/per user per month
To put it briefly, this is a website that will give you an idea of how “readable” your writing is—it can analyze keyword density, point out clichés and long sentences and will even tell you when you’re using the passive voice. This will give you an idea of what areas you need to improve upon.
Make sure you run your article on this site by either copy-pasting it or uploading the file before sending it to your boss. You can even check the readability of any website with this tool.
If you find this tool to be really beneficial, then you can opt for a premium membership and unlock more features.
4. Purdue Online Writing Lab
Built by the Writing Lab of Purdue University, this website is a storehouse of information and resources. Whether it’s plagiarism, grammar doubts, citations help or practice worksheets you need help with, this site has it all. There’s even a section on business writing for different audiences!
Easy to navigate, Purdue is a handy site to check if you need a refresher. It has loads of references that cover everything from the mechanics of writing to writing letters of recommendations to preparing an application.
Designed with the needs of teachers, students and other users in mind, Purdue is your best friend if you want to learn from your mistakes and improve as a writer.
Business English Writing Courses
Alison is a world-famous learning platform and has around 20 courses geared towards effective English speaking and writing. Tailored to niche needs, people who complete courses through Alison even receive diplomas you can highlight on your resumes.
Moreover, most of the courses can be completed in less than two hours.
So if you’re low on time and have a business presentation to make, this is a great site to use.
Even the diploma courses can be completed in less than 15 hours. Even if you spend just two hours a day on this site for learning, you can master a valuable skill in a week. And here’s the best bit: The courses are all free—you only have to pay for the certificates.
Price: Free (with the option to get a certificate of completion for a fee)
If you’re looking for interactive online classes from the best universities in the world, these two free edX courses won’t disappoint. If you’re constantly making grammar mistakes or unsure about which tense to use, this first course is for you.
The “English Grammar and Style” course by the University of Queensland is an eight-week course that covers all need to know about sentence structures, phrasal verbs, using the right pronouns, the correct usage of prepositions and more.
However, for those who’ve already grasped the grammar basics and are ready to improve their overall writing and presentation skills, the course “Business Communications” by The University of British Columbia promises to be really helpful with a strong focus on sharpening your business communication skills.
Price: A monthly subscription to Coursera is required to access this course, but you can apply for financial aid
Another platform specializing in MOOCs like edX, Coursera has several courses on business writing in English. The course “Business Writing” by the University of Colorado Boulder is a handy introduction to the subject.
It teaches you to craft strong opening sentences and first paragraphs, as well as providing grammar information.
For non-native speakers, you can sign up for the specialization “Enhance Your Business English Communication” by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology which has five courses under it, one of them being “English For Effective Business Writing.” Finally, there’s another course by the University of California, Irvine called “High Impact Business Writing” that covers business reports, documents and presentations.
8. London School Of English
Price: £185 BGP (about $235 USD) per course
Founded in 1812, the LSE is actually the “longest-established officially accredited school in Britain.” They provide numerous online English learning courses all taught by verified experts, one of them being “Business English Online” that you can combine with their Skype English lessons.
It covers a module on business writing, and you’ll get immediate feedback from professionals.
If you’re unsure about whether the course is right for you and your English language level, you can take a free online test on their website to see if you’re the right fit. If you score between three and eight, the course is a great choice.
Although it’s a paid course, you can opt for a free trial. You’ll get a full refund if you inform them within two weeks of your start date that the course doesn’t meet your expectations or skill level.
How Is Writing in Business English Different?
Business writing differs greatly from less formal styles of writing in many ways.
- The language itself is more formal—no short-forms or text message lingo here.
- Whether it’s an email, report or an article, there’s a particular format you must always follow and never play around with.
- Your ideas must be presented in a logical, concise way. You must have grammatically correct sentences and interconnecting paragraphs (no random interjections, ever!).
- Even the choice of words matters—yes, there’s business English jargon and grammar you have to learn and remember.
However, there’s no reason to be fazed. Even if English isn’t your first language or writing isn’t your strong suit, there are tips, techniques and grammar secrets accessible to all that will greatly help you improve and be a pro at it.
How to Choose the Right Business Writing Course Online
The best way to go to learn business writing is to sign up for an online course. Here are some things to consider:
- Decide if you want a free or paid course. Choosing a free course or one that costs money will depend completely on your means and your areas of weakness.
Generally, a free course won’t be as intensive or thorough. However, it could be very useful for understanding the basics of any topic and the important things to watch out for.
- Identify your weaknesses and areas of interest. Whether you’re signing up for a free or paid course, it’s always great to read the course outline carefully and highlight the areas that you’re specifically interested in.
That way, you can focus on your weaknesses first and improve faster.
Remember, writing effectively in business English isn’t about mastering one skill (writing only). It’s about knowing and honing different crafts—grammar, editing, proofreading, formal language, persuasive writing, paragraph structuring and the like.
So if you’re looking to sharpen your skills overall, these might be the type of courses for you.
It’s also important to choose a course that’s at the right level for you. A beginner writing course will look very different than a course for advanced English learners.
- Choose a course that teaches the specific skills you need. Depending on the type of writing you do more frequently, you can focus on courses that cover the art of writing resumes, emails, cover letters and so on.
As a general rule, take an objective look at your previous business writing samples or ask someone you trust to grade your skills and identify your weakest areas.
For instance, you may have impeccable grammar and spelling but haven’t mastered the art of writing formally.
Or you may have difficulties structuring your paragraphs in proper order when writing an email and require immediate help. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses beforehand will help you get the most out of whatever course you sign up for.
It’s always a good idea to sign up for a short free course to gain an understanding of how business writing works and identify your biggest areas of need.
And remember that, even if a paid course is a little pricey, being awesome in the workplace is totally worth the investment!
And One More Thing...
If you like learning English through movies and online media, you should also check out FluentU. FluentU lets you learn English from popular talk shows, catchy music videos and funny commercials, as you can see here:
The FluentU app and website makes it really easy to watch English videos. There are captions that are interactive. That means you can tap on any word to see an image, definition, and useful examples.
For example, when you tap on the word "searching," you see this:
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
The best part? FluentU remembers the vocabulary that you’re learning. It recommends examples and videos to you based on the words you’ve already learned. You'll have a truly personalized experience.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or from the Google Play store.