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How to Answer the Phone

A Conversation in American English







Secretary: Hello, this is Bloomingdales Department Stores. Nancy speaking. How can I help you?

Caller: This is George Brown from Ladies Garments Wholesale. I need to speak to Roger Dodge.

Secretary: Mr. Dodge just left for the day. Would you like to leave a message, Mr. Brown?

Caller: Oh! I missed him. This is an emergency call. Is it possible to speak to somebody else in his office?

Secretary: Regarding what?

Caller: We cannot deliver the order tomorrow.

Secretary: I see. I will connect you to Mr. Dodge's secretary, Linda. May I put you on hold for a second?

Caller: Sure. Go ahead.

The secretary resumes the call in a few seconds.

Secretary: Mr. Brown, Linda is on the phone.

Caller. Thank you, Nancy.

Secretary: You're welcome, Mr. Brown. Thank you for your business with Bloomingdales.



Nancy speaking means "Nancy is speaking." In a telephone communication, this phrase is used by the receiving person to greet the caller, who is making the telephone call. The receiver's informal way of greeting the caller, "Hello, Sue speaking." "Hello, Joe speaking", and etc.

How can I help you? Tell me what you need

left for the day: He or she left the office for the day; and, will not comeback until tomorrow.

leave a message: to tell the secretary what is your message is

miss: transitive verb. Not to get to the person (in this conversation)

emergency: noun. something that requires immediate attention; urgent matter

call: telephone call (in this conversation)

deliver: to send the order to the address

connect: to transfer the telephone call

sure: It's Ok with me.

resume: to pick up the phone again

Idioms and Idiomatic Phrases

put someone on hold: idiomatic phrase. To ask someone on the phone to wait

regarding what? What is that about?

go ahead: You have my permission; please do so.

on the phone: To be either at the calling-end or at the receiving-end in a telephone communication; the act of speaking to the caller or the receiver.

You're welcome: You are welcome. After someone says: "Thank you." you respond with this phrase: "You are welcome". It means: It is my pleasure.


Is it possible? to +verb in the infinitive form. It means: "Is there a chance for me to +verb in the infinitive form?". " Is it possible to see the manager?" Is there a chance for me to see the manager? Is he available to see me?




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