Telephone and email politeness competition game

Choose one of the sentences below and compete to make it more and more polite.

I can’t hear you

Hold on

British Council. Alex speaking.

We were cut off.

We can’t give you a refund.

Say again.

The product that you sent me doesn’t work.

I got your email yesterday

Write back soon

Phone me back

Say “Hi” to your family from me

Any more questions, just ask

I have to go

This is going to have to be really quick

Here’s the file

This is about the meeting next week

I can’t

He’s not here

Forward this to Mr Jones

You okay to talk?

Work together to change all the sentences to a more suitable level of politeness.

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Telephone and email politeness competition game – Suggested answers

I can’t hear you – I’m afraid I can’t hear you very well.

Hold on – Just a moment, please.

British Council. Alex speaking. – Good morning. This is the British Council. Alex speaking. How can I help you?

We were cut off – We seem to have been cut off.

We can’t give you a refund – I’m afraid a refund won’t be possible at this time.

Say again – Could you repeat that, please?

The product that you sent me doesn’t work – Unfortunately, the product doesn’t quite work as well as I expected.

I got your email yesterday – Thank you for your email of 17 March.

Write back soon – I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Phone me back – Could you phone me back (whenever you have the chance)?

Say “Hi” to your family from me – Give my regards to your family.

Any more questions, just ask – If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

I have to go – I’m afraid there’s a meeting that I have to go to in a couple of minutes.

This is going to have to be really quick – This is just a quick call/ note to say…

Here’s the file – Please find the file attached.

This is about the meeting next week – I am writing to your concerning the meeting on 24 May.

I can’t – I’m afraid that is not really possible at this time.

He’s not here – I’m afraid he is out of the office.

Forward this to Mr Jones – Could you send this to Mr Jones?

You okay to talk? – I hope I haven’t called at a bad time.

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PDF version for easy printing: telephone and email politeness

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