Do you know that the exact same English word, when just changing the part of speech, can be used differently in the business world and in daily life? For example, you may hear about ‘inflation’ and ‘deflation’, but what do they mean in our everyday English?


1. Reconciliation vs Reconcile


Business English (Reconciliation): The process of comparing customers’ financial records with those of banks

A bank reconciliation is compulsory for auditing. It is used to eliminate faults and frauds.


Everyday English (Reconcile): To resolve disputes

I have got a conflict with my boyfriend, is there any advice on how to reconcile our relationship?


2. Inflation vs Inflate


Business English (Inflation): A continuous increase in prices

The inflation rate refers to the price increase over time, which results in a decrease in the purchase value of money.


Everyday English (Inflate): To make sth bigger (usually ballons) by filling it with air

Let’s inflate all balloons before the party starts. We need to give a pleasant surprise to the kids!


3. Deflation vs Deflate


Business English (Deflation): A continuous decrease in prices

The deflation rate is the opposite of the inflation rate, which results in an increase in the purchase value of money.


Everyday English (Deflate): To make sth smaller when it loses air

Please deflate and throw away all balloons after the party ends. We need to return the venue to the tenant.


4. Cultivation vs Cultivate


Business English (Cultivation): To grow crops

There are different cultivations in the farming system, such as subsistence farming, shifting agriculture, and intensive farming.


Everyday English (Cultivate): To develop a habit/hobby

It is important for kids to cultivate a good routine and hobbies during childhood.


5. Alleviate


Business English: To ease a problem

PR is recruited to alleviate the issues in public relations so as to keep a good reputation for the company.


Everyday English: To make pain less severe

The doctor gave me medicine to alleviate my sore throat.


6. Aggregate


Business English: The total after addition and subtraction

In audit reports, auditors need to calculate the aggregate value of different items like cash inflow and outflow, in order to present a clear financial statement for shareholders.


Everyday English: People gathering in the same place

The students aggregated in the basketball court last night for no reason.