Business vs Busyness

Business vs Busyness – All you Need to Know + Examples

Hello dear learners. Hope you are enjoying learning English online. In today’s lesson I am going to teach you a very interesting subject.

Do you know the difference between business and busyness? Well, this subject may sound confusing at first. But let’s investigate the meaning of each of these two words to find out their difference.

Let’s start by studying the definition of each word. The pronunciations and examples of the use of each word is provided as well for you.


Don’t miss our new video about “business” vs “busyness” – watch now!

Definitions and Examples

Business (noun) /ˈbɪz.nɪs/

Meaning: The activity of buying and selling goods and services


 My brother’s in business.
 He’s in the frozen food business.
 Our firm does a lot of business with overseas customers.
 Eventually they found a consultant they felt they could do business with (= with whom they could work well).
 Currently, there are fewer firms in business (= operating) in the area than ever before.
 This new tax will put a lot of small firms out of business (= they will stop operating).
 She set up in business (= started her own company) as a management consultant.

Synonyms for “business”
Synonyms for the word “business” include:
 commerce
 enterprise
 trade

Busyness (noun) /ˈbɪz.i.nəs/

Meaning: the fact of working hard or giving your attention to a particular thing


 Some of us can handle more busyness and activity than others.
 I’m exhausted from the intense busyness of work over the past couple of months.
 I hope my busyness is temporary and once my dissertation is finished I’ll have time to relax.
 There is too much busyness in schools.
 Anyone fond of the town’s sleepy atmosphere may resent the busyness that the new townhouse developments will bring.
 A review of public hospitals found many barriers to care provision including the busyness of postnatal wards.

Synonyms for “busyness”
synonyms for the word “busyness” include:
 Liveliness
 Activity
 Attentiveness
 Vivacity
 Hustle

Grammatical points

As you may know, the suffix “ness” is a noun-maker. It attaches to the end of an adjective and makes a noun out of it.

When this suffix attaches to the end of a word that ends with “y”, the “y” is transformed into “i”. When “ness” is attached to the end of the word “busy” to make a noun out of it, it normally changes into “business”.

But the problem is that “business” is a different word with a completely different meaning. Therefore, we use the word “busyness” to talk about the busy nature of a situation and the word “business” to mention a job. Notice that “business” also means a company or firm.

More about the words

The word “busyness” means the state of being busy, having a lot of things to do, lots of responsibilities and tasks and scheduled activities.

“Busyness” is not a very common word like “business”, but you’ll sometimes hear or see it in some situations and contexts. For example, you can say, “I took a vacation to take a break from the busyness of everyday life”.

Or imagine that you are a college student and you have very intense few weeks at the end of the semester.

So, you might not have much time to hang out with your friends during the busyness of final exams; you have a lot of things to do, big assignments and studying for all those exams.

As another example, imagine a company that sells holiday decorations like Christmas lights. Most of their sales are going to be made in December. So, they may start preparing for the busyness of the holiday season from November.

In this example, we can say that the business (that company) is preparing for a season of busyness (having a lot of things to do).

The word “business”, on the other hand, is a more common word that you hear or see a lot. Business generally refers to a person’s occupation or job.

For example, a person might say, “Business is good” to indicate that their sales are increasing. The word business can be used in several other contexts as well.
1. a person’s regular occupation, profession, or trade.

Example: “She had to do a lot of smiling in her business”
2. the practice of making one’s living by engaging in commerce.

Example: “The jewelry business”
“Business” is also defined as making one’s living through commerce in a particular field.

For example, you might have a friend or colleague in the insurance business. In this case, business refers to the job by which the person makes a living.


The pronunciation of these two words is very similar but actually they have a very small and at the same time very important difference.

The word “business” which is spelled /ˈbɪz.nɪs/ has two syllables. However, the word “busyness” which is spelled /ˈbɪz.i.nəs/ has three syllables.


Now let’s look at the etymology of the word “business” which has been taken from
business (n.)

Old English bisignes (Northumbrian) “care, anxiety, occupation,” from bisig “careful, anxious, busy, occupied, diligent”.

The original sense is obsolete, as is the Middle English sense of “state of being much occupied or engaged” (mid-14c.), the latter replaced by busyness. The modern two-syllable pronunciation is from 17c.

The sense of “a person’s work, occupation, that which one does for a livelihood” is recorded late 14c. (in late Old English bisig appears as a noun with the sense “occupation, state of employment”).

The sense of “that which is undertaken as a duty” is from late 14c. The meaning “what one is about at the moment” is from 1590s. The sense of “trade, commercial engagements, mercantile pursuits collectively” is attested by 1727, on the notion of “matters which occupy one’s time and attention.”

Business card is attested from 1840; business letter from 1766. Business end “the practical or effective part” (of something) is American English, by 1874. Phrase business as usual attested from 1865.

To mean business “be intent on serious action” is from 1856. To mind (one’s) own business “attend to one’s affairs and not meddle with those of others” is from 1620s.

As you see in the above quotation from, the word “business” has taken its meaning from “busyness” which means the state of being busy.

Sample context

In the following, I have provided a text for you that includes both of these words so that you understand their usage in context even better. The text has been taken from

“All real estate agents have a choice—they can either be in business or in “busyness.” Most are in busyness.

Why? Their time is not focused on what really must be done to drive their business at a big level.

They are not clear about their models, so they are not clear about the activities and priorities on which they should focus their time. Millionaire Real Estate Agents are just the opposite.

They don’t have a “to do” list—they have a “have to” list. Through time blocking, they make sure that the “have to” gets done before the “to do.”

They know what has to happen, and, at the beginning of each year, month, week, and day, they open their calendar and “block off” the appropriate amount of time to get those things done.

Everything else—their “to do” list—gets scheduled after and around the “have to” activities.”

Concluding note

So, today we read about the differences between “business” and “busyness”. We learned their meanings and pronunciations.

We also read example sentences and a sample context to learn their usage better. Hope you enjoyed this lesson today.

Try to make sentences with these two words to understand their meanings and usages better. And visit my page for more interesting English lessons.

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Hi there, welcome to my website! I’m Omid and now you are reading the text of a passionate teacher. I’ve been teaching the English language for about 12 years while applying different updated methods of teaching. It’s my absolute pleasure that you are visiting my website. Here we go with the hope of improving your English language capabilities using various methods. Let’s learn English together here.