Aim: to improve your business telephone etiquette in English






Phonetic spelling

Part of speech


Telephone /phone

/ ˈtelɪfoʊn /


a system for talking to somebody else over long distances, using wires or radio; a machine used for this


/  rɪˈsiːvər/


the part of a telephone that you hold close to your mouth and ear


/ kɔːrd/


a piece of wire that is covered with plastic, used for carrying electricity to a piece of equipment.

Local call

/ ˈloʊkl kɔːl /


belonging to or connected with the particular place or area that you are talking about or with the place where you live

Long – distance call

/  baʊns/


the amount of space between two places or things

International call

/  ˌɪntərˈnæʃnəl  kɔːl /


connected with or involving two or more countries


/ ˈɑːpəreɪtər/


a person who operates equipment or a machine

Directory assistance

/dəˈrektəri əˈsɪstəns /


a telephone service that you can use to find out a person’s telephone number

Emergency service

/  iˈmɜːrdʒənsi   ˈsɜːrvɪs /


The department provides advice on security to the government and to private companies, and prepares for emergency situations

Phone card

/  foʊn kɑːrd /


a card that you buy for a mobile/cell phone so that you can make more calls to th e value of the card

Pay phone

/ ˈpeɪfoʊn /


a telephone, usually in a public place, that is operated using coins or a card

Cordless phone

/   ˈkɔːrdləs foʊn /


not connected to its power supply by wires

Cellular phone

/  seljələr foʊn /


a telephone that does not have wires and works by radio, that you can carry with you and use anywhere

Answering machine

/  ˈænsərin  məˈʃiːn /


a machine that you connect to your telephone to answer your calls and record any message left by the person calling

Telephone book


/ ˈtelɪfoʊn  bʊk/



/ ˈpeɪdʒər /


a small electronic device that you carry around with you and that shows a message or lets you know when somebody is trying to contact you, for example by making a sound



1)   Pick up the receiver/  pɪk  ʌp/(v)  to take hold of somebody/something and lift them/it up : nhấc ống nghe2)   Listen for the dial tone/ ˈlɪsn ˈdaɪəl/(v)   to pay attention to somebody/something that you can hear( the dial tone): nghe tiếng điện thoại3)   Deposit coins/ dɪˈpɑːzɪt  kɔɪn/ (v)   a sum of money that is given as the first part of a larger payment: bỏ tiền vào máy4)   Dial the number/ˈdaɪəl/(v)   the round part on some older telephones, with holes for the fingers, that you move around to call a particular number : bấm số điện thoại5)   Leave the number/  liːv/(v)   to make or allow somebody/something to remain in a particular condition, place, etc: để tin nhắn lại

6)   Hang up the receiver/ hæŋ/(v)   to attach something, or to be attached, at the top so that the lower part is free or loose: gác máy                                                        




Making contact
  • Hello/Good morning/Good afternoon …
  • This is John Brown speaking.
  • Could I speak to ………. please?
    I’d like to speak to ………. please.
  • I’m trying to contact ……….


Giving more information
  •  I’m calling from Tokyo/Paris/New York/Sydney
    I’m calling on behalf of  (Mr. X …)
Saying who you want
  • I’d like to speak to…, please?
  • Could I have the ….. department, please?
  • Is …… there, please?
Stating reason for the call
  • I’m ringing to….
  • I’d like to….
  • I need some information regarding…
Asking for repetition
  • Sorry I didn’t catch … (your name, your telephone number, your company name etc)
  • Sorry could you repeat your ….
  • Sorry I didn’t hear/understand that.
Taking a call
  • X speaking
  • Can I help you?
  • Hello, ……… Department, …. speaking, how can I help?


 Asking for a name/information
  • Who’s calling, please?
  • Who’s speaking?
  • Where are you calling from?
  • Are you sure you have the right number/name?
  • May I ask who is calling please?
  • Who shall I say it’s calling?
Asking the caller to wait
  • Hold the line please
  • Could you hold on please
  • Just a moment please
  • Please hold
  • Hang on a moment
  • Just a second
  • I’ll see if he/she is in
  • Thank you for holding
  • The line’s free now  ….. I’ll put you through
  • I’ll connect you now / I’m connecting you now.


Putting a phone call through
  • I’ve got ….. on the phone for you
Giving negative information
  • I’m afraid the line’s engaged.   Could you call back later?
  • I’m afraid he’s in a meeting at the moment
  • I’m sorry.  He’s out of the office today / He isn’t in at the moment.
  • I’m afraid we don’t have a Mr/Mrs/Miss … here
  • I’m sorry.  There’s nobody here by that name.
  • Sorry.  I think you’ve dialled the wrong number.
    I’m afraid you’ve got the wrong number.
Saying someone is not available
  • I’m sorry or I’m afraid he/she is not available / is in a meeting / not in / away travelling …
Telephone problems
  • The line is very bad.  Could you speak up please?
  • Could you repeat that please?
  • I’m afraid I can’t hear you.
  • Sorry.  I didn’t catch that.  Could you say that again please?
Leaving/taking a message
  • Can I leave/take a message?
  • Would you like to leave a message?
  • Could you give him/her a message?
  • Could you ask him/her to call me back?
  • Would you like him/her to call you back?
  • Could you tell him/her that I called?
  • Could you give me your name please?
  • Could you spell that please?
  • What’s your number please?


Offering to help in other ways
  • Can anyone else help you?
  • Can I help you at all?
  • Would you like to speak to his/her assistant/department?
Promising action
  • I’ll get her to call you back.
  • I’ll give him your message.
  • I’ll call you on Monday.
  • I’ll check that for you now.
  • I’ll put you through to someone else.
Saying goodbye
  • Nice talking to you.
  • I’ll speak to you tomorrow.
  • Look forward to hearing from you again soon.