All jobs have common phrases and expressions that are helpful to know.
Working in an office requires specialized vocabulary no matter what
language you speak. There are many common office supplies that you will
want to be able to describe and locate in an office setting. There are also many people working in an office. That's why we put
together this list of English vocabulary for the office.
In this lesson, you will learn the most common vocabulary
you need to
know to work in an office and locate office supplies.
Every office is different, but these are some common items that you should find in most office settings.
Where you store things
filing cabinet (noun)
A filing cabinet is usually a
tall metal cupboard with three or four drawers to store papers in files. Some
people have filing drawers in their desks for files or a portable filing
hanging files and folders (noun)
File cabinets may have hanging files where
you can put papers. You can use folders
in the hangingfiles to organize papers together. Hanging files and folders can be labeled.
A bookshelf is used to
organize books and binders.
Your desk should have drawers that open to store files, papers, and office supplies such as pens,
pencils, markers, rubber bands, and other items you use often. Some people also store personal items in their desk drawers.
A briefcase is used to carry
papers between home and work. You carry a briefcase by its handle on top.
Your mailbox is where you will
receive any mail at work. Your mailbox might be located in a central location with other mailboxes for all of the workers or on your desk.
A desk is a place to work and
store your office and personal items. Desks usually have drawers to store papers and
These are some of the most common supplies found in an office desk.
They can be stored on top of the desk in containers or in the drawers of the desk.
paper clip (noun) Paper clips come in many sizes
and can be metal or plastic. You use them to keep papers together.
stapler and staples (noun)
A stapler is used to staple
pieces of paper together. A staple
is a small, sharp metal bar which has two ends that curl though the
bottom sheet of the paper to hold all the pieces of paper together.
pens and pencils (noun) Pens
and pencils are common writing utensils in an office.
A hole-punch makes small
holes in paper, so you can put your papers in a binder.
white-out (noun) White-out
is used to cover up mistakes in writing or typing. It can be in liquid
form or a white tape.
business cards (noun) Business
cards are small rectangular pieces of paper that include your name,
title, and contact information.
computer or laptop (noun)
A computer or laptop is used
to type and view documents and access the internet.
A printer is used to
print documents from your device (usually a computer or laptop). In
offices, some printers are combined with copiers and fax machines and
are large machines that everyone uses. However, some people have
individual printers on their desks.
ink cartridges (noun) Printers
need ink cartridges to print
words and images on paper.
photocopier (copier) (noun)
A photocopier (copier) makes copies of papers.
fax machine (noun)
A fax machine (fax) sends documents electronically
to other offices. Many fax machines are now combined with photocopiers
A projector (or overhead
projector) is useful if you want to present information to people in
the office and project text or images onto a screen at the front of the
white board (noun)
You can write on a white board
with white board markers to
present information to a group of people.
bulletin board (noun)
A bulletin board is a place
where you can leave messages and notices for other people.
office chair (noun)
An office chair is a chair you
use at your desk. It is usually padded and may have wheels to easily
There are many people who work in an office. These are some of the most common office job descriptions.
These jobs can change depending on the type and size of the company you
Account Manager (noun) Accountmanagers maintain business relationships with clients
for their company. They understand clients' needs and direct company
resources to help meet the clients' goals.
A receptionist usually works in the front of the office. They are usually the
first person you see when you enter an office. They
greet clients or anyone else who enters the office. They answer phones
and connect callers with the right department. They may also schedule
appointments. A receptionist's tasks can change depending on the type of
company where he or she is employed.
Customer Service Representative (noun)
A customerservicerepresentative handles complaints, processes
orders, and provides information to clients about the company's
products or services. Office Supervisor or Office
The supervisor oversees administrative tasks in an office. This person makes
sure that tasks such as filing, scheduling, organizing, and writing
reports are completed correctly and on time. He or she oversees the office
assistant and may also order office supplies.
Office Assistant (noun) Officeassistants work directly for a supervisor. Their tasks
may include filing, scheduling appointments, writing letters,
proofreading, receiving mail, organizing paperwork, and providing
Mail Clerk (noun)
The mailclerk is a person who works in the mail room of an
office building. This person sorts the mail received by the office and gets it
to the right department.
Accounts Payable Clerk (noun)
An accounts payable clerk deals with money in an office. This person
prepares bills and invoices and makes payments.
A co-worker is a person that works with you, usually in the same office.