Hello there, this is Marcela Harrisberger and here’s another episode of our podcast. There are so many things I want to share with you. Let’s get going!

This past week my students had very interesting questions and I hope you will find them relevant as well.

Do you know how to say ‘incentivar’ em inglês?

The correct verb to use is ‘to encourage’. In English there is the word ‘incentive’, but this is not a verb, it’s a noun that means ‘something that makes you want to do something or to work harder, because you know that you will benefit by doing this’. So ‘incentive’ is not a verb. In this case, you should use ‘to encourage’.

Another word that is easily confused in English is ‘indicar’, when you want to say: me indicou ou indicar alguém. In English we say ‘to recommend’

For example:

  • Ela me indicou para a posição de gerente.

In English you would say: She recommended me for the management position.

  • Eu indiquei um livro para ela.

In English you would say: I recommended her a book.

Don’t use the word ‘indicate’ in this case.

Here’s a nice expression for you:

To walk the line. This expression means: To behave in an authorized or socially accepted manner, especially as prescribed by law or morality; to exercise self-control. It’s similar to the expression in Portuguese: andar na linha.

For example, you could say: I need to walk the line with the new manager.

Here are some things that we usually say in the workplace and how to say them in English:

  • Fazer hora extra – to do overtime
  • Bater o cartão – to punch the clock
  • Pular um item na agenda da reunião – to skip an item in the agenda (don’t use the verb ‘to jump’ in this case, ‘to jump’ is used only for the physical act of jumping)
  • Cobrar (no sentido de performance) – to demand
  • Cobrar (no sentido de dinheiro) – to charge
  • Empatar (no sentido de não gerar lucro) – to break even

Before we finish this episode, I’d like to talk about a structure that is often confusing. When you want to say: eu costumava, estou acostumado and me acostumar. Here’s how you say these in English:


  • Eu costumava trabalhar com finanças.

I used *to work in finance. 
*Notice how the verb is in the infinitive form after ‘used to’ in this case.

  • Estou acostumado a fazer hora-extra toda semana.

I am used to *doing overtime every week.
*Notice how in this case the verb after ‘to be used to’ is in the -ing form.

  • Preciso me acostumar a fazer apresentações em inglês.

I need to get used to *doing presentations in English.
*Notice how in this case the verb after ‘to get used to’ is also in the -ing form.

And something very important here is the pronunciation of the combination of the verb ‘to use’ in the past with the preposition ‘to’. Here’s how you should pronounce it: /ˈjus·tu/. You shouldn’t say: usEd to. This is not the correct pronunciation of this verb in the past. 

Well, that’s it for today. I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode and I’ll be back next week with more insightful ideas to help you improve your English and conquer the business world with your fluency.


Marcela Harrisberger
Business English Trainer & Coach

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