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Types of Businesses


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Types of Businesses

1.1. Lead-in

Consider the following questions:

  1. How much do you know about private business activity?
  2. Would you plan to set up your own small business after graduation?
  3. What sort of business would it be?
  4. What makes, in your opinion, a successful businessman/woman in your country?


Corporations And Other Types Of Businesses

1. Three major types of firms carry out the production of goods and services in the US economy: sole proprietorships, partnerships, and corporations.

2. Proprietorships and Partnerships

Sole proprietorships are typically owned and operated by one person or family. The owner is personally responsible for all debts incurred by the business, but the owner gets to keep any profits the firm earns, after paying taxes. The owner’s liability or responsibility for paying debts incurred by the business is considered unlimited. That is, any individual or organisation that is owed money by the business can claim all the business owner’s assets (such as personal savings and belongings), except those protected under bankruptcy laws.

3. Normally when the person who owns or operates a proprietorship retires or dies, the business is either sold to someone else, or simply closes down after any creditors are paid. Many small retail businesses are operated as sole proprietorships, often by people who also work part-time or even full-time in other jobs. Some farms are operated as sole proprietorships, though today corporations own many of the nation’s farms.

4. Partnerships are like sole proprietorships except that there are two or more owners who have agreed to divide, in some proportion, the risks taken and the profits earned by the firm. Legally, the partners still face unlimited liability and may have their personal property and savings claimed to pay off the business’s debts. There are fewer partnerships than corporations or sole proprietorships in the United States, but historically partnerships were widely used by certain professionals, such as lawyers, architects, doctors, and dentists. During the 1980s and 1990s, however, the number of partnerships in the US economy has grown far more slowly than the number of sole proprietorships and corporations. Even many of the professions that once operated predominantly as partnerships have found it important to take advantage of the special features of corporations.

5. Corporations

In the United States a corporation is chartered by one of the 50 states as a legal body. That means it is, in law, a separate entity from its owners, who own shares of stock in the corporation. In the United States, corporate names often end with the abbreviation INC., which stands for incorporated and refers to the idea that the business is a separate legal body.

6. Corporations-Limited Liability

The key feature of corporations is limited liability. Unlike proprietorships and partnerships, the owners of a corporation are not personally responsible for any debts of the business. The only thing stockholders risk by investing in a corporation is what they have paid for their ownership shares, or stocks. Those who are owed money by the corporation cannot claim stockholders’ savings and other personal assets, even if the corporation goes into bankruptcy. Instead, the corporation is a separate legal entity, with the right to enter into contracts, to sue or be sued, and to continue to operate as long as it is profitable, which could be hundreds of years.

7. When the stockholders who own the corporation die, their stock is part of their estate and will be inherited by new owners. The corporation can go on doing business and usually will, unless the corporation is a small, closely held firm that is operated by one or two major stockholders. The largest US corporations often have millions of stockholders, with no one person owning as much as 1 percent of the business. Limited liability and the possibility of operating for hundreds of years make corporations an attractive business structure, especially for large-scale operations where millions or even billions of dollars may be at risk.

8. When a new corporation is formed, a legal document called a prospectus is prepared to describe what the business will do, as well as who the directors of the corporation and its major investors will be. Those who buy this initial stock offering become the first owners of the corporation, and their investments provide the funds that allow the corporation to begin doing business.


1.3. Vocabulary development

1.3.1. Match the following words from the text with the correct definitions:

  1. sole proprietorship (par. 1)
  1. (legal) responsibility
  1. partnership (par. 1)
  1. business typically owned and operated by one person or family
  1. corporation (par. 1)
  1. a document providing details about a business to people who are interested in investing in it. //a small book describing a school, university etc., and giving details of its courses
  1. liability (par. 2)
  1. something such as money or property that a person or company owns
  1. assets (par. 2)
  1. a company that has the legal status of a corporation
  1. bankruptcy (par. 2)
  1. two or more owners who have agreed to divide, in some proportion, the risks taken and the profits earned by the firm
  1. to charter (par. 5)
  1. a situation in which a person or business fails
  1. incorporated (par. 5)
  1. a large company or business organisation
  1. stockholder (par. 6)
  1. all the property and money that belongs to someone, especially someone who has just died
  1. estate (par. 7)
  1. an official document describing the aims, rights, or principles of an organisation
  1. prospectus (par. 8)
  1. person that owns shares/ stocks

Notice the difference: Own/ owe

Own: possess; have possession of, be in possession of, be the owner of, hold

Owe: be indebted, be in debt, be obliged, have a loan from

Notice how the following words are formed:

Proprietorship, partnership, ownership: ~ + ship

Liability, responsibility < liable, responsible ~ + ty

Savings, belongings: verb + ing(s)

Unlimited: un + adj

Look for some other derived words in the text. Make a list and using the examples at hand, build other words with the same prefixes and suffixes.

1.4. Language focus: The Genitive

1.4.1. The Genitive

Consider the following examples:

“the owner’s liability” (par. 2)

“The nation’s farms” (par. 3)

“the number of partnerships” (par. 4)

“the key feature of corporations” (par. 6)

‘s / of in the examples above indicates the Genitive

Look for some other examples with the same problem in paragraphs 7 and 8.

The Genitive indicates possession.

Types of Genitive

The Synthetic Genitive: ‘s

Used with:

persons: Roger’s suitcase

abstractions: economics’ importance

measurements: a mile’s distance; five minutes’ time, today’s meeting

nouns indicating natural phenomena: the night’s silence

nouns indicating continents, countries, cities: Africa’s animals, Romania’s agriculture, London’s traffic

nouns such as: the sun, the moon, the earth, car, ship, boat, vessel, body, mind, science: the ship’s commander, the sun’s light

time: yesterday’s film

Note: the nouns: house, shop, store, office, cathedral are usually omitted after nouns at synthetic genitive: St. Paul’s (cathedral) is a historical monument. // One can buy bread at the baker’s (shop).

The Analytic Genitive: of

Used with:

all kinds of nouns: the decrease of the income

names of material: the shine of gold

expressions of quantity: a lump of sugar

full containers: a glass of water

inanimate things: the windows of the house

The Implicit Genitive

Used with:

scientific terms: economy laws

titles: The European Union Parliament, The United Nations Organisation

1.5. Functions

Presenting information

I’m going to talk about….

First of all, let’s look at……….

After that…….

As you can see from the bar graph…………

Now, if we turn to………..  Now, turning to…….

Finally , let’s look at……….

In conclusion……….. So, to conclude…….


Present the advantages and disadvantages of having one’s own business in Romania.

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