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Telephoning: getting through
This section features phrases you might hear when you telephone a company
hoping to talk to someone.
Ex.1 Listen to two conversations. In the first conversation Richard Davies is
calling the marketing department of a company and wants to be put through to
Rosalind Wilson. In the second conversation Mike Andrews wants to talk to Jason
Roberts in the marketing department. As you listen, see if you can hear some of the
phrases below.
How can I help?
Can I speak to …, please?
Who’s calling, please?
Please hold
I’ll just put you through
Could I speak to……please?
Who shall I say is calling?
Just a second
I’ll see if he’s in
I’ve got ……..on the phone for you
Hang on a moment
Dialogue 1
Michelle: Hello, you’ve reached the marketing department. How can I help?
Male: Yes, can I speak to Rosalind Wilson, please?
Michelle: Who’s calling, please?
Male: It’s Richard Davies here.
Michelle: Certainly. Please hold and I’ll put you through.
Male: Thank you.
Dialogue 2
Michelle: Hello, marketing. How can I help?
Male: Could I speak to Jason Roberts, please?
Michelle: Certainly. Who shall I say is calling?
Male: My name’s Mike Andrews.
Michelle: Just a second - I’ll see if he’s in. Hello, Jason, I’ve got Mike Andrews on
the phone for you … Okay - I’ll put him through. Hang on a moment, I’m
just putting you through.
Ex.2 Fill in the gaps with correct words and phrases.
Michelle: Hello, you’ve reached the marketing department. … … .. ….?
Male: Yes, can I speak to Rosalind Wilson, please?
Michelle: … .. … … ?
Male: It’s Richard Davies here.
Michelle: Certainly. Please … and I’ll … … … …. .
Male: Thank you.
Michelle: Hello, marketing. … … … … … ?
Male: Could I speak to Jason Roberts, please?
Michelle: Certainly. … … … … … …?
Male: My name’s Mike Andrews.
Michelle: Just a second - I’ll see if he’s in. Hello, Jason, … …. Mike Andrews on
the phone for you … Okay - I’ll put him through. … … …. …….., I’m
just putting you through.
Ex.3 Choose the correct answer
1. When you telephone a company the person answering the phone may ask you a
question. Which is the correct question?
A Who’s calling please?
B Who calls?
C Who it is?
D Who called?
2. Which phrase means the same as ‘hang on a moment?’
A Just a second
B I’ll put you on
C Go ahead
D I’m ready
3. Choose the correct word: “Please ……. and I’ll put you through.”
A stop
B stay
C talk
D hold
4. What is the expression used to connect two people on the telephone?
A I’m sending you through
B I’m putting you through
C I’m calling you through
D I’m talking you through
Phoning scenario
You want to phone someone in a company. You pick up the phone. You hear the
dialling tone and dial the number on the keypad. You don`t know the person`s
direct line number, so you dial the number of the company`s switchboard. One of
these things happens:
a. The number rings but no one answers.
b. You hear the engaged tone (BrE)/ busy tone (AmE) because the other
person is already talking on the phone. You hang up and try again later.
c. You get through but not to the number you wanted. The person who
answers says you`ve got the wrong number.
d. The operator answers. You ask for the extension of the person you wanted
to speak to.
e. You are put through to the wrong extension. The person offers to transfer
you to the right extension, but you are cut off – the call ends.
f. The person you want to speak to is not at their desk and you leave a message
on their voicemail. You ask them to call you back or to return your call.
Asking to speak to someone 1
Can you put me through to extension
123, please?
Can I have extension 123, please?
Extension 123, please.
James Cassidy in sales, please.
One moment, please.
I`m putting you through.
The extension /line is ringing for you.
Sorry to keep you waiting
I think you`ve got the wrong extension.
I`ll try and transfer you .
I phoned a moment ago, but I was cut off
I`m afraid the line`s/extension`s busy/engaged.
I`m sorry, but there`s no reply.
Do you want to hold or would you like to call back
Ex.4 You are trying to phone Delia Jones. She works in a large company. Match
your possible reactions (1 - 7) to the things (a - f) described above. One of the
things is used twice.
1. That`s strange. Their switchboard isn`t big enough to handle all the calls
they get.
2. That`s ridiculous! A company with 500 employees, but no one answers
the phone.
3. I ask for Delia Jones and they put me through to Delia Jones.
4. Delia seems to spend all day on the phone. Her line`s always busy.
5. That`s strange. I`m sure I dialled the right number.
6. Oh no I hate this – oh well, I`d better leave a message.
7. They never seem able to find the extension number.
Ex.5 Look at A above. Annelise Schmidt is trying to phone John Cassidy. Put the
conversation into a logical order.
Annelise: Good morning. Can I speak to James Cassidy in Sales?
Annelise: Is that James Cassidy?
Annelise: No, I`m afraid I don`t.
Annelise: Thanks. Oh no, I`ve been cut off.
Switchboard operator: Do you know the extension?
Switchboard operator: Sorry to keep you waiting. … I`m putting you
7. John Cassidy: Cassidy.
8. John Cassidy: No, this is John Cassidy. You`ve come through to Accounts.
I`ll try and transfer you back to the switchboard.
Ex.6 Imagine you are calling a company and want to speak to someone who works
there. Make your own dialogue using the useful phrases.
Telephoning: messages
In this section we'll learn some phrases you might hear if the person you wish to
speak to is busy.
Ex.7 Listen to a telephone conversation between the finance department of a
company and Jennifer McAndrews. Jennifer wants to talk to Adrian Hopwood but
he's not available so she has to leave a message. As you listen, see if you can hear
some of the phrases below.
Can I speak to …, please?
I’m afraid he’s in a meeting
Can I help?
Can you call back later?
Can I take a message?
Could you tell him that…
Hello, finance department
Hello, can I speak to Adrian Hopwood, please?
I’m afraid he’s in a meeting at the moment. Can I help?
No I need to talk to Mr Hopwood, I think. What time will he be out of the
In about an hour. Can you call back later?
Okay, I’ll do that.
Or can I take a message?
Actually, would you mind? Could you tell him that Jennifer McAndrews
called and that I’m in the office all day if he could call me back.
Can I take your number, please?
Yes, it’s 5556872.
5556872. Okay, I’ll make sure he gets the message.
Female: Thanks very much for your help, bye!
Claire: Goodbye!
Ex.8 Fill in the gaps with correct words and phrases.
Claire: Hello, finance department
Female: Hello, … … …. … Adrian Hopwood, please?
Claire: I’m …. … … in a meeting at the moment. …. …. …. … ?
Female: No I need to talk to Mr Hopwood, I think. What time will he be out of the
Claire: In about an hour. …. …. ….. …. ……?
Female: Okay, I’ll do that.
Claire: Or …. …. ….. …. …… ?
Female: Actually, would you mind? ….. ….. ….. ….. ….. Jennifer McAndrews
called and that I’m in the office all day if he could call me back.
Claire: Can …. …. ….. …. , please?
Female: Yes, it’s 5556872.
Claire: 5556872. Okay, …. …. …. …. ….. …. ….. .
Female: Thanks very much for your help, bye!
Claire: Goodbye!
Ex.9 Complete the sentences by choosing the correct words and writing them into
the empty boxes.
1. He’s not in his office at the moment,
__________ ______________ _____________ ___________ _______?
take / can / your / message / I / a / please
2. She’ll be back in the office this afternoon,
__________ ____________ _________ ______________ _________ ?
later / call / can / back / you / soon / message
3. Can I speak to June Wilkinson please?
__________ ____________ _________ ______________ _________ _________.
meeting / afraid / I’m / she’s / a / in / at / on
4. Could you ask him to ring me back please? My number is 020 7558 4567.
__________ , ____________ _________ ______________ _________ _________
_________ ________________.
message / I’ll / sure / make / OK / gets / he / the / an / on
B Asking to speak to someone 2
This is
!You don`t say I am X
X (here)
I speak to Y, please?
Is that Y?
Y speaking.
Is this a good/convenient time to call?
I`m (rather) tired up at the moment.
Could you call back later?
I`m afraid Y
n`t at his/her desk
is on another line
with someone right now
in a meeting
not in the office
out of the office
off sick today
on holiday (until …)
C Giving and taking messages
I`m calling about …
I`m calling to confirm that…
Could I leave a message?
Could you tell Y that … ?
Could you ask Y to call me back? My number`s
I wonder if you could call back later?
Can I ask who`s calling?/ who`s calling?
Which company are calling from?
May/Can I what it`s about?
May-Can I take a message?/ Would you
like to leave a message?
I`ll ask him/her to call you (when he/she
gets back)
Ex.10 Look at B and C above and change these conversations so that they are
correct and more polite.
A: I want to speak to Mrs. Lee
B: That`s me but I`m busy.
A: Sven Nyman talking. I want to talk
about your order.
B: Call me back later.
A: Are you James Cassidy?
B: No. Who are you?
A: Annelise Schmidt. Is James Cassidy
there and, if he is, can I speak to him?
B: He can`t speak to you. He`s in a
meeting. Give me a message.
A: He has to call me as soon as possible.
Telephoning: arrangements
Making Arrangements
D You get through to the person you want to speak to and fix a meeting.
Can/Shall we fix/arrange an appointment/a meeting?
Would it be useful to meet up soon?
Ill (just) get/check my diary
How about Monday?
What about Tuesday?
Would Wednesday be suitable?
Would Thursday suit you?
Shall we say Friday?
That`s fine.
I can`t/won`t be able to make Monday.
I`ve got to (+ Infinitive)/ a (+ noun)…
E Closing the conversation
Here are some ways of finishing a conversation without sounding abrupt (rude).
See you on Friday then.
I`m going to have to go now.
go to a meeting
I`ve got to
go and see someone
(It`s been) nice talking to you.
Good to talk to you.
Talk to you soon, no doubt.
Yes, I`ll look forward to seeing you on
Nice talking to you.
(It`s been) good talking to you.
Thanks for
We`ll be (back) in touch soon.
Look forward to hearing from you soon.
Ex.11 Annelise Schmidt (AS) gets through to James Cassidy (JC) and arranges to
meet him.
Reorder their conversation, which contains expressions from D and E above.
a. AS: fine thanks. I`m going to be in London on Tuesday and Wednesday next
week. How about meeting up to discuss how Megabook and Sprenger might
work together.
b. AS: Hello. This is Annelise Schmidt. You remember we met at the Frankfurt
Book Fair last month.
c. AS: Look forward to seeing you then. Bye.
d. AS: Sounds good. Shall I meet you at your office? I`ve got the address.
e. AS: Yes, that`s fine.
f. JC: James Cassidy
g. JC: Goodbye.
h. JC: I`ll just check my diary. I won`t be able to make Tuesday. I`ve got to go
to Manchester. Would Wednesday suit you? How about lunch?
i. JC: OK. See you on Wednesday at 12.30, then.
j. JC: Yes, how are you?
k. JC: Yes. Why don`t you come round here at about 12.30? Ask for me at
reception and I`ll come down.
Ex.12 Complete the following conversations with phrases from the list below. Use
each phrase only once.
Hello, is that 10127?
Can I speak to Jack Simpson, please?
2 _________________________________________________________________
See. Well, what time will he be there?
Right, I`ll ring again then. Thanks a lot
Meg Owen.
Oh, I`m fine, thanks. You know, you gave my address to a friend of yours?
That`s right. Roger O`Hare, that was his name. Do you know what I`ve done? I
can`t find his phone number.
Ah, thanks very much. I can call him back now. That`s a real help.
Yes, it would be nice to see you again. Goodbye for now.
I`d like to speak to someone about putting forward a delivery.
11 I`m phoning about our order for three motors.
Yes, it`s FC/172/Y. we`d like earlier delivery if possible.
OK. Could you ring me back today?
That`ll be fine. Thanks very much.
I`ll put you through to Order Inquiries.
From about two this afternoon.
I`ll look it up for you…. It`s 01 420 5071.
Yes, late this afternoon if that`s convenient.
Yes, it is. Can I help you?
Not at all. We must meet and have a drink some time.
I`m afraid he`s out of the office at the moment.
Garston Motors. Can I help you?
Right. Well, I`ll have to check with the workshop.
Can you give me the order number?
The one who does computer software.
Order Inquiries. Can I help you?
m. Oh, hello, Meg. How are you keeping?
n. You`re welcome. Goodbye.
Ex.13 Choose the missing word from the box.
1.Isn`t that 191 2005? That`s what I ………., I think.
2.No, this is the wrong ………. . I`ll put you on to the switchboard.
3.Sorry to have ……….. you.
4.He`s not in the office at the moment. But I can try to find him on the
………… .
5.I haven`t got the new number. Shall I call ………. inquiries.
6.This is how things ………… at our end. I`m afraid there`s nothing we can do
about it.
7.I`ve ………….. up on the prices you asked about.
8.Now I can …………. the arrangements we made.
9.There have been some ………….. lately, but I think we`ll soon solve them.
10.Can we make another …………… for next week, then?
Ex.14. Choose the best answer.
1. Can you put me through to
Miss Evans, please?
a. I`ll see if she`s in her office at the
b. I`ve got the wrong number.
c. I`ll check again.
2. Isn`t that Seattle then?
a. No, the number has changed.
b. No, you must have the wrong area code.
c. Sorry, I may have dialled the wrong
3. You asked me to confirm the
dates of delivery.
a. Yes, that`s the best time for them.
b. Yes, let me just get a note pad to write
them down.
c. Yes, they`ll come to England soon.
4. No, this isn`t the Metal case
a. So sorry to have troubled you.
b. I`ll call again later.
c. Can you connect me with Mr. Mansour,
5. Miss Pearce asked me to call
this morning.
a. Sorry, your number is the wrong one.
b. Do you know the area code?
c. But there is no person of this name here?
6. We can let you know what sizes
are available.
a. Thank you, I know them.
b. Thanks. I`m glad that`s OK now.
c. Thanks. I can order what we need then.
Ex.15 Complete the following conversation with phrases from the list below. Use
each phrase only once.
Good morning. Could I speak to Jane Lewis, please?
Lesley Winwood.
She said she`d be in all morning.
Jane Lewis.
Ah, yes, Ms. Winwood, it`s about ….
Carl Anderson.
Lindberd, did you say?
There`s no one here by that name.
Yes, this is 08 46 46 24
9 ___________________________________________________________________________
That`s all right.
Anglo-Swiss Travel, Heidi Richter.
Morning. Could I speak to John Peat?
Oh, hello Steve. How are things?
Yes, there`re the ones we discussed: the 12th and the 19th.
Of course. Bye now.
a. Yes, that`s right.
b. Yes, hold the line and I`ll put you through to him.
c. Good. You`ll confirm that to me in writing?
d. You asked me to call as soon as possible.
e. Hold the line, please, and I`ll see if she`s in.
f. Who`s calling, please?
g. Morning, John. Steve Jones here.
h. Oh, isn`t there? Could I check the number?
i. Fine. You asked me to call back about the Geneva group.
j. Could I speak to Mrs. Lindberg, please?
k. Hello, I can connect you now.
l. Reynolds Bicycles, good morning.
m. Oh, I`m sorry. I must have dialed the wrong number.
n. Yes. Can you confirm the dates now?
Ex.16 Choose the missing words from the box.
1. These are our …….. prices for the material you wanted.
2. Couldn`t your manager to ……. Me a better discount for this large
3. That`s not much more than the price you paid last year. You`ve only …… a
4. There`s very heavy ……… for our tents this year.
5. We can offer you a ……… discount if you order before the end of the
6. What would they ………….. if I took a hundred at a time?
7. Yes, but don`t forget that this is a ……………… order.
8. ………………. Prices are quoted on the stock market.
gone up
Ex.17 Choose the best answers/explanations.
1. Can you give me a quotation?
a. We haven`t any more available.
b. This price is very competitive.
c. They cost $ 3.30 each.
2. You wanted a higher discount.
a. It depends on the number you
b. The prices are our lowest.
c. It`s not so much.
3. We are thinking of buying your
a. Then take advantage of our
introductory offer.
b. Business is good at present.
c. Share prices have been falling
4. Can you offer the large size at the
same price?
a. No, it`s cheaper.
b. No, it`s more expensive.
c. No, the price is unchanged
5. The terms are CIF.
a. No credit is allowed.
b. Goods are supplied only if cash is
c. Goods are sent to the customer`s
6. Are those your most favourable
a. Yes, we have plenty available.
b. Yes, we can`t reduce them.
c. Yes, they are very important.
Ex.18 Choose the missing words from the box.
Hello, who`s that …………?
Just a ………………, please?
I`ll ………………. if she`s here.
I`ll get the information you want; …………., please.
You asked me to ……………… when I was in town again.
Sorry, he`s not ………….. at the moment.
You can …………………. him any evening…………………. six o`clock.
Well. I can ring ………….. later if it`s convenient.
hold the line
ring up
Ex. 19 Choose the best answers.
1. I`d like to speak to Mr. Kahn,
a. Yes.
b. I`m afraid he`s not here at the
c. Well, you can`t.
2. Can I speak to Mr. Kahn, please?
a. Hold on please.
b. Don`t go away.
c. All right.
3. Could I speak to Mr. Kahn,
a. Who`s calling?
b. Who are you?
c. What`s your name?
4. Who`s speaking?
a. I`m Fred Bentley.
b. This is Fred Bentley.
c. Fred Bentley speaking.
5. Can I ring you back later?
a. Yes, ring me.
b. Yes, please do.
c. Of course, yes.
6. When can I reach you?
a. One hour.
b. When you want.
c. I`ll be in all evening.
Sending faxes
F Jaime Vasconcelos in Los Angeles, USA is on the phone to Anna Friedman in Sydney,
Anna: Yes, I think you`ll be interested in our latest designs.
Can you send them by fax?
Sure. I`ll fax you right now. What`s your fax number?
1 for the US, then 213 976 3412.
OK. I`ve got that.
Can you fax the information you think we need?
I`ll fax you everything we have. There are about 30
Jaime: If you could fax it all over to us, that would be great!
H Receiving faxes
to send something by
to fax someone
to fax something
to fax someone
to fax something
(over/across) to
15 minutes later
Did you get my fax?
You are not going to believe this, but the paper got stuck and
the machine jammed.
No problem. I`ll send it through again.
Did the fax go through OK this time?
Yes, but pages two and three weren`t legible: I couldn`t read
No problem. I`ll resend them.
Ex.20 Bertil Lagerkvist of Moda Fashions in Stockholm is talking to Kim Wang
of Outrageous Designs in Hong Kong. Look at F above and correct the mistakes.
Yes, I think you`ll be interested.
Can you (1) telefax your most exciting designs?
Sure, I`ll (2) fax to you the drawings. What`s your (3) number of fax?
46 for Sweden, then 8 753 42 98.
46 8 753 42 98. I`ve got that.
You know the sort of thing we sell. Can you (4) telefax to me the designs our
customers will be most interested in?
K: I`ll (5) fax to you to straightway. There are about ten pages.
B: If you could fax everything (6) between, that would be great!
Ex. 21 Kim Wang sends fax to Stockholm. The person receiving the fax phones
Kim. Read what is said, and complete the statements using expressions from G
1. ‘Swedish Paper Products here. We`ve received a fax from you to a company
called Moda Fashion. Our fax numbers are very similar. There must be some
mistake.’ Swedish Paper Products (SPP) are not the ………………….
……………………., and so they tell the person sending the fax: they
……………… the ……………… .
2. ‘The designs you received are top secret. Please could you tear them up and
throw them away.’
The information is ……………………..
. Kim wants SPP to
……………….. the fax so that no one else can see it.
3. ‘Don`t worry. There`s something wrong with our fax machine so we can`t
read it anyway, including most of the first page.’
The person can`t read the fax: the fax, including most of the ……………..
…………….. is ………………. .
Ex. 22 Kim Wang sends the fax again, this time to correct number. Complete the
commentary, choosing appropriate forms of the expressions in brackets from G
and H above.
There were no problems when she ………… (1 send again/resend) the fax. The fax
……………. …………………….. (2 send through/ go through) perfectly: the
paper ……………….. ……………… ………….. ……………. (3 not get
struck/ not get through) and the machine ………........... ………….. …………….
(4 legible/jam). Kim didn`t have to ………………… anything ………………. (5
go through/ send through) again. The fax was ………………..
(6 legible/struck) and Bertil could read it.
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