Phone English – Business English Podcast Ep.3

Phone English

Business English Podcast Ep.3

Phone English podcast from Everest Language School. Listen to the podcast about phone English and check out the vocabulary below. There are lots more business English podcasts available here, and we will have one more episode next week. Remember, if you are in Dublin and want to improve your business English, we run express and intensive Business English courses in Dublin.

Basic Phone English:

To pick up the phone

To hang up the phone

To make / take a call

To give someone a shout / bell (informal)

Some additional vocabulary for telephone English.

The 5 main things you might do on a call:

  1. Answering the phone
  2. Introducing yourself
  3. Asking to speaking to sb
  4. Connecting to a new speaker
  5. Leaving a message



  • Answering


Hello? Conor speaking

Hello, Everest Language School. How can I help you?

Paul Smith’s office, who’s calling please?



  • Introducing yourself


One thing students often confuse is “this is” and “I am”. What’s the difference?

[Meeting in person] Hello, I’m Paul Smith. Are you Mary O’Dwyer?

[On phone]. Hello, this is Paul Smith. Is that Mary O’Dwyer?



  • Asking for sb


There are both formal and informal ways to do this.

I was wondering if I could speak to…

Could you put me through to…

Is Paul Smith available?

I’m looking for…

Is Paul there? (Informal)

Can you put Paul on? (Informal)



  • Connecting


We also distinguish between “minute”/ “second” and “moment”, which tends to be more formal.

Hang on / Hold on / Just one minute / sec(ond) / moment

Please hold and I’ll put you through

To be on hold

She’ll be with you in a moment



  • Messages


As if things weren’t bad enough already, if you live in Ireland you have the added fun of local names – “could you tell your boss that Eadaoin O’Shaughnessy from O’Murchu Solicitors called”. Not easy!

Tips for taking messages

  • Ask to repeat (Sorry, could you repeat that name again?)
  • Spell it back / confirm (So, that’s “H-e-a-l-y”?). We often check confusable letters with “c for Charlie”, etc
  • Be aware of variants (double oh / zero zero; 1-2-3-4 / 12-13)


Can I take a message / Would you like to leave a message?

Do you have a pen handy? Let me just grab a pen?

Can you tell her Conor called?


Grammar: Demonstrative Pronouns


This and that are very important for phone calls. These are demonstrative pronouns, they are

used for demonstrating, for showing or pointing out things.

this / that / these / those


Near – this one here / these ones here

Far – that one over there / those ones over there


It can be near in terms of space/distance:Do you like this t-shirt I’m holding, or do you prefer that one over there?”

But also with time:

“This is a great TV show (now)” / “That was a great TV show (we watched last night)”


They are used in other expressions to “demonstrate” something, especially that:

Yeah, that’s right (what you just said) / Wow, that’s interesting / What’s that?


“This” is used  for jokes, stories, and anecdotes. It makes the story more present, and signposts what is next

“A man walks into this bar / This man walks into a bar”

“I had a weird dream last night. I dreamt I was looking at this big red door and then this man came over to me and said…”


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