It is essential to know common English expressions used on the telephone in todays world.

The telephone- one of the greatest inventions of all time! The telephone is a fast, easy, and efficient way to keep in touch. And these days, with the technology of the cell phone, you can contact just about anyone, anytime, anywhere in the world.

Whether you consider the telephone as an absolute necessity, a handy device in an emergency, or just a plain nuisance, there are a number of standard expressions that are used when talking on the phone. Look at some of the examples below.

Expressions: English used on the telephone

    Expression: Hello
    Response: Good bye.
    Expression: May I speak to (… Benny)?
    Response: Hold on, I’ll get him.
    Expression: Is (… Amanda) there?
    Response: Speaking.
    Expression: (… Ace Investments), how can I help you?
    Response: Yes, I’m calling for Mrs. Daniels.
    Expression: Hi, (… Mrs. Martin, is Betty) there?
    Response: No, she went to the library. I’ll have her call you when she.
    Expression: I would like to speak to (… Mr. Kinsey)
    Response: May I ask who’s calling?
    Expression: He’s not here right now. Can I take a message?
    Response: Yes, please have her call Emily as soon as possible.
    Expression: Could you give him a message?
    Response: Of course, what’s the message.
    Expression: I got your message.
    Response: Thanks for calling back.


Staff: Eva’s Mexican Food.
Caller: I’d like to place an order to be picked up.
Staff: Of course, what would you like?
Caller: I would like the number seven plate.
Staff: Would you like soft or crisp tacos?
Caller: Soft, please.
Clerk: Would you like anything to drink?
Caller: No thanks, but could I also get an order of chips and salsa?
Staff: Of course. Could I get your name and telephone number?
Caller: Billy and my number is 555-2345-89898.
Staff: Your order should be ready in 20 minutes.
Caller: OK, but I changed my mind about the drink. Can I get a large ice tea?
Staff: Of course. The total will be $18.49.
Caller: OK, I’ll see you in 20 minnutes.
Clerk: Thanks for calling.

Practice Activities

Find a partner and role play talking on the telephone. Use the situations below as topics for the call.

Call a friend to see how he/she is doing.
Call a doctor to make an appointment.
Get a call from a salesman selling insurance.
Call a business to talk to someone not their and leave a message.
Misdial a number and get a wrong number.

To find other conversation activities and dialogues for English used on the telephone take a look at:
Conversation Made Easy OR Talk, Talk, Talk

Other Links for Telephone Use
English Club
Resourced for EFL Teachers
On the Telephone