Making a phone call in a language that is not your mother tongue can be quite nerve-racking! For this month's newsletter, we'll look some phrases that are commonly used in both formal and informal phone conversations.
People generally answer the phone “Hello?” on their private line, with “[Last name] residence” on a family home phone number, or more formally by using the word “speaking.”
Hi, this is the Irish Press, Daniel speaking.Play Caption
When you make a call, you will first need to introduce yourself.
Hello, this is Daniel. -Hi Daniel, this is Julia from Phonez and More.Play Caption
Uh, hi, Jonathan. It's Julia Smith for the marketing department interview.Play Caption
You might then need to ask if the person you want to speak to is available. The informal version is “Is [name] there?”, but for formal calls it’s better to use the following:
May I please speak to Daniel in advertising sales?Play Caption
Sometimes you might want to state the purpose of your call right away, so that the person answering can re-direct your call to someone who can help you.
Hi, I'm calling about an apartment that I saw listed on Craig's List?
Caption 33, Jessica and Liz - how much and how manyPlay Caption
The formal way to conclude a phone conversation might involve thanking the person or setting up a next time to talk.
Have a good day and I'll talk to you soon. 'Bye. -Goodbye.Play Caption
Of course, between friends, even if they are cartoon characters, much more informal goodbyes are possible:
I'll talk to ya later, Mick. I gotta go.
Caption 32, A Mickey Mouse Cartoon - Goofy's GrandmaPlay Caption
Watch the business English videos linked above on Yabla English to hear the sentences in the full context of a formal conversation. This helpful webpage provides additional telephone conversations with both audio and a transcription available.