Business is any activity that involves an exchange of money for goods (products) or services (labor).

  • He’s interested in big business.
  • She wants to open her own business.
  • Many people go into business for themselves.

Notice the use of the reflexive pronoun in these sentences:

  • I went into business for myself.
  • You went into business for yourself.
  • She went into business for herself.
  • They went into business for themselves.

The United States is a country of small and large businesses, so it helps to know how to talk about this subject. Here are things you’ll hear people say:

  • Someone is opening a new business.
  • They’re starting a business.
  • He wants to get into business.
  • He wants to be a business man.
  • She has her own business.
  • She’s a business woman.*
  • Let’s do business.
  • What kind of business are you in?
  • Are they open for business yet?
  • It looks like that place is going out of business.
  • They lost their business.
  • That business failed.

There are many idioms and expressions that use the word "business."

  • There will be no more monkey business. (Stop playing around.)
  • That’s none of your business. (This situation does not concern you–stay out of it.)
  • Mind your own business. (same as above)
  • They have no business doing that. (They shouldn’t be doing that.)
  • Where’s the business end of the machine? (Where’s the part of the machine that does the work?)
  • Everything is business as usual. (Nothing has changed, or everything is back to normal.)
  • This is strictly business. (This situation does not involve personal matters.)
  • Let’s get down to business. (Let’s do our work, or let’s now talk about serious matters.)
  • That’s show biz. (That’s the way things go. The word "biz" is short for "business.")

business manHe’s a business man.

*Note: It’s also common to hear a man or a woman in business described as a business person.

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March 2, 2014