Telephoning functions review

Without looking at the list below, listen to your teacher read out a list of phrases and as soon as you are sure what function they all have put up your hand and guess.

From your memory of the stage above and your other knowledge of telephoning language, write as many phrases as you can in the spaces below

Answering the phone

Speaking machines- Ansaphone, call waiting and automatic switchboard messages

Starting the phone conversation- the caller

When someone is not there- the receiver


Taking dictation

Asking people to wait

Technical problems

Asking for someone’s name

Bringing the phone call to an end

Check your answers with the list below. If there are any differences between your list and the list below, check with your teacher if your versions are also correct. Ones which are rare are marked with an asterisk (*) and optional parts are marked with brackets

Answering the phone


(This is) Alex speaking

01323 894389

British Council. How can I help you?

Case residence*

Good morning, reception. Who do you wish to speak to?

Good afternoon. Rose Green Construction Limited.

Speaking machines- Ansaphone, call waiting and automatic switchboard messages

I’m afraid that I can’t answer the phone at the moment

All our operators are busy at the moment

You are through the answer machine of George Clooney

Please leave your name and number and we’ll get back to you (as soon as we can)

Your call is important to us

… or press nine if you want to talk to a customer service representative

You are through to…

There’s no one here at the moment. Our business hours are…

Starting the phone conversation- the caller

Can I speak to someone in your finance department, please?

May I speak to the head of marketing?

I need to speak to someone about my student loans

This is Alex Case from the British Council (calling)

Someone phoned me from this number, so I am calling back

I had a message that I should call you

Hi (Steve), it’s Alex (again)

Is that John?

Is that the marketing department?

I’m not sure if I’ve got the right number, but I need to talk to someone about my water bill

Hi Julie, I just got your message

Hi John. Is this a good time?/ Are you free to talk?/ Sorry to phone you at lunch time

Sorry, we got cut off. Now, where were we?

I’m just returning your call.

I’m calling/ phoning about/ to…

When someone is not there

Can I take a message?

Would you like to leave a message?

I’m afraid that he is away from his desk (at the moment)

He isn’t answering his phone

He’s on another line

Shall I ask her to call you back?

Can I take your name and number (and I’ll ask him to call you back)?

I’ll make sure he gets the message

I’ll tell him you called

I’ll get someone to ring you first thing in the morning

I’ll pass that message on as soon as I can

I’m sure he will get back to you soon.

I’ll do my best to get that message to him before lunch.


New line

New word

Do you want me to spell that for you?

Do you want me to repeat that?

I think she already has my number, but here it is just in case. Oh seven oh double three treble nine two.

Forward slash




Open brackets- Close brackets

Taking dictation

Could you spell that/ your name please?

Could you speak a little slower please?

Let me take that down

Let me write that down

Can you spell the first word (for me)?

Can I just check that back?

Let me read that back (to check)

Is that one word or two words?

Is that B for Bobby or V for Virgin?

One five or five oh?

I didn’t catch the last part

Do I need any punctuation (in that email address)?

Got it

Is that everything?

Could you speak slower please?

Asking people to wait

I’m putting you on hold

Please hold (the line)

If you could wait just one second

I’ll just get a pen and paper

I’m looking for the file right now

Just a moment, I’ll get your account up on screen

I’ll check if he’s available

Technical problems

It’s a terrible line

I can’t hear you very well

I’m going into a tunnel

You’re breaking up

My battery is nearly flat

There’s a bit of a delay

Asking for someone’s name

I’ll just check if he’s available. Who’s calling please?

Of course. Can I take your name please?

May I ask who is calling?

Certainly. Who shall I say is calling?

Is that John?

Could I have your name?

Choose one which you would like to use (preferably one which you don’t already use) from each section above


PDF for easy saving and printing: TelephoneFunctionsReview

Telephoning e-books with over 400 pages of similar activities

Teaching Telephoning: Interactive Classroom Activities

Really Learn the Most Useful Telephoning Phrases

Related pages

Telephoning page

Functions reviews page

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