A Look at What is the Difference Between Business English and Literary English

Language is used differently depending on what it is being used for, and at which audience it is aimed. Normal, everyday language between small sets of people is fundamentally different from sophisticated language that is reaching a larger group of people. Even within formal language, there are many different groupings depending on what is being discussed. This is true in all languages, so in English, we need to ask what is the difference between business English and literary English.

The two forms of English can be defined as follows. In English used for business, the English language is being used for a very practical purpose; that is, making money. This form is concerned with commercial affairs. English that is literary in nature can be regarded almost as the opposite of this. It focuses on artistic or idealistic matters, and is not interested in money matters.

Since the people who use business English are talking about money, the vocabulary they use will mostly consist of words describing financial affairs. They might use many technical terms from accounting and economics that the average person would not understand. On the other hand, literary English will not have most of these words, but it will use a larger diction since its sphere of influence is wider, and therefore needs more words to describe more things.

The styles will also be different. Literary forms of English are more flowery and ornate, and the sentences are often longer. Not only is what it says important, but how it is said is also worthy of attention. In contrast, business English will use sentences that are short and to the point.

Literary English users will mainly be native speakers of English, or if English is not their mother tongue, they will have spent many years studying it in order to acquire an advanced facility in it. On the other hand, because these days business is more global than in the past, many business English users will only have a basic familiarity with it and might only be able to understand it and carry on a rudimentary conversation. It will be easier to use, since many of its users are not well-experienced in the English language.

English used to describe financial affairs will use more statistics and figures, and is more analytical in nature. It seeks to describe something, or if it is argumentative it will build its case using hard data. Expect to see a lot of numbers in it. In literary English, numbers rarely appear. It is more subjective, and works more on an emotional level.

There has been an increase in the use of both kinds of English over the past century, and this increase will likely increase. The global nature of the world economy means that people from all corners of the globe must be able to communicate to do business with each other, and because English is so widespread, English for business purposes will be widely used. As well, worldwide interest in the English arts and in the popular arts — especially mass media such as movies and television — will promote the dissemination of literary versions of English.

English is the world’s leading popular language. People will continue to be interested in it for business purposes as well as for expressing non-practical matters.

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