September 29

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Business English: “Market Leader” Books

By Gordon Gaffney

September 29, 2021


Business English: "Market Leader" Books 

The Market Leader series is probably the best and best known book series for learning Business English.

They are produced by a British company Pearson and therefore are in British English and were written in association with the Financial Times, one of the most respected financial and business newspapers in the world.

The 3 authors have over 85 years of experience in business, teaching English and in particular teaching English for business and their background is impressive. 

Business English: "Market Leader" Books

Surprisingly, these Business English books aren't just for advanced students. They are for all levels, which are Elementary, Pre-Intermediate, Intermediate, Upper Intermediate and there are also practice packs.

There are many specialised English books out there, you can read my review on English for Engineering here and English for Aviation which is coming soon

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This video explains the course methodology: 

Structure of Market Leader books for English for business

Each Market Leader book contains 12 units and each unit deals with a specific area of Business English.

Topics are chosen logically, with more general topics, such as: Introductions Sales Problems and travel in Market Leader Elementary.

Specialised topics that require an understanding of the subtleties of English and accurate vocabulary are in Market Leader Upper Intermediate, such as: Crisis Management, Mergers and Acquisitions, Raising Finance.

These Business English books are all very well structured and follow the latest language learning methods for groups and for students in private tuition. That is: 

• The topic is presented using a quote and a photo that students discuss as a warm-up exercise.

• There is also listening, reading, speaking and some writing exercises, along with language work, and importantly verbs, vocabulary and phrases specifically for the topic.

• Each unit ends with a skills section using role-play and other exercises designed to practice everything you've learned in the unit and to help fix it in your mind. 

After each unit, there is a case study where a business is dealing with the situation or problem presented in the unit. It is especially suited for groups, but it's also good for a student in private English class. The aim is to use what you have learned in the unit, practice(not train!) your English and apply it here.

This project usually involves some writing and most of my students skip this section, but it's good to do if writing in English is important to you at work.

There are also videos on the DVD that comes with the book that show how a consultant handled the case study issues, which is a big added bonus.

Also, after each block of 3 units, there is a helpful revision section on those 3 units. 

Reading section of Market Leader Business English books 

The articles for the reading sections on Market Leader are very well chosen with actual articles taken from well-known newspapers such as The Sunday Times, The Financial Times, The Telegraph, The Guardian and many more.

These newspapers are considered some of the best papers for journalism in the UK, some articles come from the US, for example, CBS, or from other English-speaking countries like Australia.

Understanding these articles can boost students' confidence, and they will learn new business vocabulary or Business English expressions that native speakers naturally use in writing and speaking, inside and outside of work. 

Listening section of Market Leader books for English for Business

The listening sections have people from different parts of the world speaking, as this again shows what happens in the modern business world, where people from many different countries work through English.

Full scripts for all audio files are at the end of the book so students can follow along with the text while listening to the audio after completing the exercises.

Most students enjoy the challenge of listening to Business English in different accents. A small point to note is that much of the audio in the exercises is spoken by actors who mimic accents, they are not made by a person from that particular city, country or area.

For example, the Irish accent is a notoriously difficult accent to imitate and I could immediately tell that it was spoken by an actor and not a genuinely Irish person. This is not a huge negative, just something I noticed.

Other audio exercises are often actual interviews with successful business people. I think these are excellent as they are a great way to practice your listening as some people speak quickly, some people speak slowly, some use a lot of phrasal verbs and expressions, some don't.

It's also full of “ehh, umm, you know” as in any normal conversation. 

Language work section of Market Leader books for English for Business

I especially like the language work sections in the books, I think they are very well chosen and very well explained. I even use the 1 page difference between simple past and present perfect in my own 60-minute Present Perfect class in my video course and eBook, as I believe it's one of the best and clearest explanations out there.

In the Market Leader Elementary and Pre-intermediate books they deal almost exclusively with essential grammar, in later books for more advanced students they focus on idioms, expressions and advanced vocabulary on the topic of each unit. All grammar work in the book is summarised in approximately 10 pages at the end of each book. 

Exercises and skills section of Market Leader books for English for Business

There are also standard exercises to match verbs/vocabulary with definitions and then using them in sentences, fill in the gaps, etc.

The skills section contains useful short phrases and expressions used in Business English based on the topic of the unit. With a little study and practice you should be able to use vocabulary and expressions naturally in the situations given to you in the role play and this will help you to fix them in your mind. 

Summary of Market Leader books for English for Business

A large part of Business English is learning new vocabularies and verbs, and then understanding the subtleties of phrases, phrasal verbs and expressions commonly used by native speakers and then using them naturally and appropriately at work.

You can use some of the techniques I talk about soon in here.

The Market Leader series of Business English books provides a solid foundation in all of these areas and that's why they are probably the most popular General Business English books available.

It's difficult to find anything to complain about with the Market Leader series of Business English books.

Now let's look at each of the books in the series: 

Market Leader Book: Elementary Business English

Business English: "Market Leader" Books

I found it surprising that there was a Business English book for elementary school students. From the index, you can see that it is structured quite similarly to regular general English books.

Business English: "Market Leader" Books

Market Leader Elementary indice 1

• Unit 1 has introductions, the verb “to be”, nationalities and articles.

• Unit 2 covers other essentials such as days, months, dates in a unit on "Work & Leisure" etc. 

You can see that there isn’t a unit on family, for example, instead we have a topic like “problems”, and there is grammar work on adjectives and negatives to help you describe problems.

There are 12 units in the book in total and some interesting units include markets, companies and the web.

The exercises are suitable for students at this level with true or false questions, finding the correct word in the text, listening to audio and writing the word you hear correctly, etc. It reminded me of many textbooks I had when I learned French in secondary school myself. 
Business English: "Market Leader" Books

Market Leader Elementary indice 2

The useful language section at the end of each unit is not just good business English, it's very useful for everyday speaking.

This is a novel approach to learning English “from scratch” and may be of interest to someone who has never learned English before and who needs to learn it for work

Market Leader Book: Pre-intermediate Business English

Business English: "Market Leader" Books

Topics are naturally more advanced than Market Leader Elementary and include managing people, conflict, products and stress.

Business English: "Market Leader" Books

Market Leader Pre Intermediate indice 1

Market Leader Pre-intermediate also has a unit on companies like in Market Leader Elementary, however, more advanced technical vocabulary is used. 

Business English: "Market Leader" Books

Market Leader Pre Intermediate indice 2

The articles are engaging and well-chosen and are actual articles from quality newspapers, although they may be adapted to make them a little easier for Pre-Intermediate learners to understand.

The reading exercises are structured in the same way I was instructed to do on my CELTA teacher training, first the article is read quickly to get the “gist” (essence), this means you have a general idea of what the article is about. Then you read it a second time more carefully and answer questions that require a deeper understanding of the text.

Other exercises include rearranging the words in a sentence in the correct order, matching sentence pairs, filling in the gaps, etc.

Again, the language work in the book is ideal for pre-intermediate students with comparisons between different verb tenses, for example, comparing the simple present and continuous present (I do and I am doing), simple past and continuous past (I did, I was doing) and very important, simple past and perfect present (I did, I have done). Modals, phrasal verbs, conditionals, and reported speech are also covered giving students a good grammatical foundation or review.

All other sections, such as listening and skills, are of the quality you would expect from Market Leader and, if your English level is pre-intermediate, this is a great choice.

You can see on the cover that they recommend this book for A2-B1 English learners. 

Market Leader Book: Intermediate Business English

Business English: "Market Leader" Books

Interestingly, Market Leader Intermediate also contains the past simple and present perfect in a linguistics section, as well as the pre-intermediate. However, this one is just a quick review in Unit 3 “Change” rather than teaching it in its entirety as it is in the pre-intermediate.

Again, this shows how well designed the entire book series is, and how they progress logically from book to book.

Business English: "Market Leader" Books

Market Leader Intermediate indice 1

Business English: "Market Leader" Books

Market Leader Intermediate indice 2

In fact, many topics in Market Leader Intermediate are found in other Market Leader books, such as: Brands, Travel, Change, Culture. But there are also some more subtle and specialised areas of Business English, including Ethics and Human Resources.

In general, the language work section here goes beyond teaching English grammar and into key vocabulary and expressions/idioms, although there are sections on narrative tenses, relative clauses, and passives.

The skills section again starts to deal with the subtleties of Business English that are important for handling sensitive situations, for example negotiating, considering options, presenting/giving presentations and socialising, which is important for networking.

It is another great addition to the Market Leader series, be careful to check you have purchased the correct level of book as there is quite a big difference between Market Leader Pre-intermediate and Market Leader Intermediate, even though some of the topics are the same. 

Market Leader Book: Upper Intermediate Business English

Business English: "Market Leader" Books

The overall goal of the Market Leader Business English books at more advanced levels is not to teach the fundamentals of English, instead it is to expand the vocabulary of students and make them use that vocabulary as well as idioms/expressions and phrasal verbs naturally and at the right time and in the right situation.

Business English: "Market Leader" Books

Market Leader Upper Intermediate indice 1

Business English: "Market Leader" Books

Market Leader Upper Intermediate indice 2

Topics include more specific and subtle topics for students at this level, they include: Risk, Management Styles, Team Building, Raising Finance.

The articles for the reading sections, I believe, are taken directly from newspapers and are not adapted as they are in Market Leader Pre-intermediate, because students at Upper Intermediate level should be able to understand them.

These articles are often taken from their partner the Financial Times, but also Business Week, The Telegraph, the Sunday Times and more.

They feature well-known companies, brands and people like Marriott Hotels:

Business English: "Market Leader" Books

And Anna Wintour of Vogue Magazine: 

Business English: "Market Leader" Books

The vocabulary exercises and useful language sections at the end of each unit have a lot of work on synonyms, idioms/expressions, and common phrasal verbs used in the workplace.

The case studies often feature international companies and the audio files use actors who mimic accents.

As always, make sure this book is suitable for your level of English, if you already read articles online without too much difficulty then this book will be right for you and is perfect for improving your Business English.

Keep checking back here as we will have an article coming soon on Technical English and if you like reading articles online then you can read about tools to help you here, or read about english for aviation in here.

Have you ever read any of these books? If yes, what was your favorite? Leave it in the comments!

Gordon Gaffney

About the author

Gordon is The Irish English Teacher, creator of this blog and many products to help all students learning English as a second language, but with a focus on Portuguese speakers.

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