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3. Exercises

Ex.1. a). Study these phrases for starting calls.

Identifying who is speaking

This is Paul Blake.

Paul Blake speaking.

Is that Julia Brown?

Finding your correspondent

Can I / I’d like to speak to Lisa, please.

Can you put me through to Diana Carter?

Hello? Is that Mr.Blake?

Is that Julia Brown?

Extension 586 please.

Identifying yourself

This is Tom Brown (speaking).

Tom Brown here.

Identifying the caller

Who’s calling / speaking, please.

Could you give me your name, please?

Which company are you from?
Asking caller to wait

Hold on, please. / Hold the line, please.

I’m trying to connect you.

Could you call back later?

Can Mr.Blake call you back?

Explaining absence

I’m afraid / I’m sorry, but he’s in a meeting / with a client / sick / on holiday.

Leaving a message

Could you take a message?

Could / Can I leave a message?

Takeng a message

Can I take a message?

Would you like to leave a message?

I’ll pass on the message.

I’ll give him/her the message.

Deiling with problems

I think you’ve got the wrong number.

Could you speak up – it’s a bad line.

Could you speak more slowly, please?

Saying who you want to speak to

Could I

speak to...?

Can I

I’d like to speak to...

Extension 586, please.

b). Supply the missing words in these conversations

  1. Ms. Brunet: Sales Department, good morning.

Mr. Keller: _____________ Helena Steiner, please?

Ms. Brunet: Hold on. I’ll get her.

  1. Mrs. Steiner: Hello, Sales.

Mr. Keller: ______________ Helena Steiner, please?

Mrs. Steiner: ______________

  1. Switchboard: Curtis Holdings

Mr. Keller: _____________ 293, please.

Miss Delmont: Accounts Department.

Mr. Keller: _____________ Jean Delmont?

Miss Delmont: Yes, ____________. How can I help you, Mr. Keller?

Ex.2. Work with a partner. Take it in turns to dictate abreviatiions and write them down.

a). IBM


b). VAT






















Ex.3. a). Notice these different ways of saying telephone and fax numbers.

91430 nine one four three zero (American English)

nine one four three oh (British English)

6687 six six eight seven (American English)

double six eight seven (British English)

b). Exchange your work and home numbers with a partner.

c). Work with a partner. Take it in turns to dictate telephone numbers and write them down. One person dictates the telephone numbers “a”, and the other dictates the “b” numbers.













In phone and fax numbers, English speakers normally group the numbers in threes, not in twos as is common elsewhere in Europe, 914306 - nine one four, three oh six.

Ex.4. When you transfer information by phone, try not to leave long silences or pauses. These phrases will help you.



Go ahead.


Have you got that?

Got that.


Anything else?

That’s all.


Could you read that back to me?

Could I read that back to you?

Dictate these messages to your partner.

  1. Phone Mike Brown between 2 and 4 p.m. (03) 445-881-932

  2. Phone Paul Cartner tomorrow morning (05) 19963924

  3. Send a quatation for 2.000 pieces, ref. No. 25/8867, to Ford Motor Company.

  4. Fax invoice №34711 to Head Office

Ex.5. Sometimes we meet new situations or problems and we have to say what action we’ll take.

  1. The line’s busy.

  2. I’ll call back later.

  1. Could you take a message?

  2. Hold on. I’ll get a pencil.

Decide what to do in these situations:

  1. The Managing Director is busy now. (later).

  2. We need some more paper. (order).

  3. They don’t speak English. (translator)

  4. This quotation is very high. (another supplier).

  5. They want written confirmation of the order. (a fax).

  6. Mr. White is on the other line. (later).

  7. I’m afraid your train is delayed. (a taxi).

Ex.6. Work with a partner. Make up conversations deciding what to do when someone is not available.
  1. Could I speak to Mary Forest, please?

  2. I’m afraid she’s on holiday this week.

A. Can you ask her to ring me next week?

These phrases will help you.

I’ll hold.

I’ll call back later.

Could you take a message?

Could you give her a message?

Can you put me through to her secretary?

Ex.7. a). We use these phrases to ask other people to do things.

Can you ...? - less formal

Could you ...?, Would you ...? - When we don’t know the person well.

You are on the phone. What do you say in these situations:

a). You can’t hear the other person.

b). You want them to repeat something.

c). They are speaking too fast.

d). You want them to spell a word.

e). You want them to transfer you to the Sales Department.

b). We can reply to request like this.

Practice these expressions with a colleague. Ask them to:

1). Spell their surname to you.

2). Tell you the time.

3). Give you a lift home tonight.

4). Lend you some money.

Ex.8. We use these phrases to ask if it’s OK to do things.

Asking: Can I...?, Could I...? , May I...?

Saying Yes: Yes, please do.

Of course.

Yeah, go ahead (informal)

Help yourself (inviting someone to take something)

Saying No: I’m afraid ....

I’m sorry but ...

Practice with a colleague. You are in the office and you want to:

a). Use their phone (pen)

b). Smoke

c). Copy a file on their computer

d). Borrow their car

Ex.9. a). Who makes these requests: a customer or a supplier?

  1. Can I place an order?

  2. May I have your name and company name?

  3. Could you tell me the delivery address?

  4. Can you deliver next Monday?

  5. Could I have an address for the invoice?

  6. Could you tell me how much it will cost?

  7. May I have a discount?

  8. Would you confirm this order in writing?

b). Work in pairs. Make up a conversation between a customer and a supplier. Use as many requests as you can.

Ex.10. Work in pairs. One person looks at the information A and the other looks at the information B.

  1. You sell computers. A foreign customer phones you. Answer their enquiries about your lap-top computer, the NC-200. They will ask you about:

  • your prices

  • delivery terms

  • the guarantee

  • discounts

  • your terms of payment

  1. Telephone a foreign suplier and ask them to:

  • supply you with 40 lap-top computers NC-200

  • quote you a price CIF

  • deliver in one month

  • give you a two-year guarantee

  • give you a 20% discount

  • give you 60 days to pay.

Ex.11. Act out these telephone calls. One person looks at the information A. The other uses the information B.

A. Call 1.

Your company’s new price lists are still at the printers. You expect them to arrive today. A customer calls with a request. Write down the details.

Call 2.

Phone your partner and ask them to speak at the GMB Congress at Queen Margaret’s Hall, Manchaster on July, 13th. You want them to give a talk on their company’s current projects.

B. Call 1.

Phone your partner and ask him/her to send you an up-to-date copy of their company’s price list. Don’t forget to give your name and address.

Call 2.

Your partner phones you with a request. Say yes and write down the details.

Ex.12. Match these comments to their replies.

  1. Sorry, could you spell that?

  2. Could I speak to Mrs. Blake, please?

  3. Could you take a message?

  4. I’m afraid the line’s busy at the moment.

  5. I’m sorry but he’s away this week.

  6. Could you repeat that?

  1. Yes, it’s 01814329191

  2. That’s OK. I’ll hold

  3. I’ll call back next week, then

  4. Speaking

  5. Yes, of course. I’ll get a pen.

  6. Yes, it’s M-E-E-U-W-S.

Ex.13. Choose the correct words to complete the telephone conversations:

1) A. Fenton Engineering.

B. Number / Extension 465, please.

  1. I’m afraid the line’s broken / engaged. Will you hold?

  2. Yes.

2). A. The line is free now. I’ll put / connect you through.

B. Thank you.

C. Paint shop.

B. I’d like to speak to Mrs. Isaacs.

C. Who’s / Whose calling, please?

  1. Mike Brown.

C. Wait / hold on, Mr. Brown. I’ll bring / get her.

C. I’m afraid / regret she’s in a meeting. Do you want to call up / later?

B. No, it`s urgent. Could you leave / take a message?

C. Yes, I will / of course.

B. May / Could you ask her to call me back?

C. Does she have your number?

B. No. It’s London - the code / area is 00331 then the number is 46589394. Could you say / read that back to me?

C. 0033146589394.

B. That’s right.

C. Anything / What else?

B. No, that’s anything / all. Thank you very much.

C. You are welcome / fine.

B. Goodbye.

Ex.14. Put these phrases into two groups:

Could you ...?

Can I ...?

Would you ...?

May I ...?

Can you ...?

Could I ...?

a). Asking other people to do things.

b). Asking if it’s OK to do things.

c). Use these phrases in the sentences below.

What would you say:

  1. to ask a friend to tell you the time?

  2. to a colleague if you wanted to smoke in their office?

  3. if you wanted a friend to give you a lift to the station?

  4. if you wanted to borrow your boss’s copy of the production plan?

  5. if you wanted to copy a file from a colleague’s computer?

  6. if you wanted a colleague to lend you a book?

Ex.15. Here is a short telephone conversation between the receptionist at Burton Electrics and Mr. Brad Barnes. Eight common words and phrases are missing. Try to decide what they are. Look at the list.

Line; put you through; Could I speak to; leave a message; call me back; Hold on; extension; engaged.

R: Hello. Burton Electrics.

BB.: _____________ Mr. Evans, please on _________ 225.

R: Certainly. ______________ a minute please. I’ll ____________.

(short pause).

R: I’m sorry. His ______________ is ____________. Would you like to _______________?

BB: Could you tell him that Brad Barnes of Inigo Incorporated called and ask him to ______________?

R: Certainly Mr. Barnes. Thank you for calling. Good-bye.

Ex.16. Read and translate the sentences. Pay attention to the words underlined.

1. If you have no telephone at home you can use a call-box in the street. All you have to do is to put the necessary coin into the slot, pick up the receiver and dial the number wanted. 2. If you want to make a call to another city you must book a trunk-call. 3. You are wanted on the phone. London is on the line. 4. Can you put me in touch with the Head of the Department? - Sorry, he is out at the moment. - Hold on the line. I want to leave a message for him. 5. The line is clear, you may put your call through. 6. Go ahead! You are through.

Ex.17. Complete the sentences.

  1. Is this Mr. Blake’s ...? I’d like to speak to ... Who’s ...? This is Helen ...

  2. Is Mr. Black in? - Sorry, he is ... Would you like to leave ... for him? - No, thank you, just tell him I ...

  3. You are wanted on ...

  4. Is this 3521166? Hold ... London is ...

  5. Is this 555-42-64? No, this is 555-43-64. You’ve dialled ...

  6. I couldn’t get in ... with you. Your number was ...

  7. Don’t ..., Alice is just coming.

Ex.18. Make up sentences with these word combinations:

to be on the line; to be through; extension number; to hold the line; to ring smb. up; to book a call; to connect; to disconnect; to cut in; to be cut off; your time is up.

Ex.19. Translate into English:

1. Ви можете зателефонувати мені сьогодні ввечері?

- Так, звичайно, але боюсь у мене немає вашого номера.

- Запишіть, будь ласка, 224-16-62.

2. Наташа, тебе до телефону.

- Запитай, хто дзвонить.

- Це Борис.

- Скажи йому, я не можу зараз підійти до телефону. Я передзвоню йому пізніше.

3. Можна Аню до телефону? - Ні, її немає дома. Що-небудь переказати їй? - Ні дякую.

4. Алло, можна Майка до телефону?

- Ви помилились номером.

- Це 115-27-40?

- Ні, це 116-27-40.

- Вибачте.

5. Не кладіть слухавку. Я з’єдную вас з Лондоном. Говоріть.

Ex.20. Make up your own dialogues based on the following situations.

  1. You call up your friend who turns out not to be in. You speak to his (her) mother leaving a message.

  2. You call up your partner and make a date for a meal.

  3. You get a trunk-call from an old friend of yours whom you haven’t seen for years.

  4. You are having a business talk over the telephone.

  5. You book a trunk-call.

  6. You inquire the Information for the telephone number of a person you need.


 Київський інститут інвестиційного менеджменту

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