Using The Telephone

Talking in a second language on the phone is one of the biggest challenges facing language learners. There is no body language, facial expressions or hand gestures to help you understand what the other person is saying. In my classes we always do lots of role plays and I find my students really benefit from repetition ( doing it again and again). We practice different scenarios EG making an appointment, setting up a meeting, confirming a booking etc. 

Let's look at these essential telephone phrases:

Answering the phone: 

  • Hello. ( Informal)

  • Smith's Online English. Keeley speaking. How can I help? ( Formal)

Introducing yourself:

  • Hi Claudia. It's Keeley. (Informal)

  • Hello, my name is Keeley Smith.

  • Person calling: Is that Keeley Smith? Me: Speaking. ( YES)

Asking For Someone:

  • Is Maria there, please?

  • Could I talk to Edgar, please?

  • Would Lily be available? (Formal)

Connecting Someone:

  • Just a sec. I'll get her. ( Informal)

  • Hang on one second. (Informal)

  • Please hold and I'll put you through to his office. (Formal)

  • One moment please. (Formal)


  • Sorry, I didn't quite catch that.

  • Would mind spelling that for me?

  • Could you speak a little slower, please?

Taking A Message:

  • Stanley isn't here at the moment. Who's calling please?

  • I'm afraid Dmitry isn't here at the moment. Can I ask who's calling, please? (Formal)

  • He's not available right now. Can I take a message?

  • After taking details, to check if they are correct: Can I read that back to you, please?

Please email me for a FREE trial class to talk about your English learning needs. You can practice your listening skills here.