Different people from different backgrounds may want to learn English for more than just one reason. Some would like to understand the brand-new books or video-games instead of waiting for them to be translated. Others want to travel more and meet new people.
Whatever the reason, there always comes a moment in the learning process where the students ask: “How is this useful to me, or to my objectives?”
It is a valid question: of course learning a new language and the practice of speaking, reading or listening takes time, effort and sometimes money.
The practical mind is naturally drawn to avoid all that effort and the English student will start thinking that as long as they know the basic vocabulary, everything will naturally come into place afterwards. What could go wrong, right?
Imagine the student is a businessman, a leader of a team, or someone that simply has to relate to other people in a professional environment. Forget about the common courtesies of “Mr./Mrs” or saying “Hello” instead of “Hey”.
Imagine they are all at a barbecue (informal event) discussing a new potential project for two companies, which both parties want to make sure that it happens. Company leader number 1 is telling the story of past events about how they have advanced in the project.
Imagine they are saying something like “If we found someone that helped us in these areas, the company could grow a lot. I could make sure they had a part in the next phase of the project. If everything goes well, we can also go ahead with your idea”.
Let’s continue with our imaginary setting and assume that the person listening is not a good student and has confusions about past events, about determiners, and about possessive pronouns.
First thing that could happen is that the listener might be confused with the story of the company, and might even think that the speaker wants to build a new company following that same script. But that would not be a problem enough to harm a business - except IF the person did not understand the conditional (“If we found — then I could”) they might start to think that this is a done deal. Hiring could take place, wasting a lot of money. And if by the end of the line, Company 2 was successful, but the Company leader 1 is no longer in the Company 1 well… he never made a promise as a company, he only said what HE could do, and the possibilities of the business on the next phase.
This is not even taking into account the signing of contracts, or any formal documents. The relationship could get lost forever between these two companies for a simple misunderstanding - simple enough to be part of the classes in Platzi (come on, it’s on the “Curso de Inglés Práctico: Intermedio”) but important enough to cost you a very important business.
This is not to scare you away of making international business deals! Keep on learning always, and remember to check el Curso de Inglés Práctico: Gramática - And please, we would love to hear any business-english related stories here in the comments!