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Telephone: messages


In this section we'll learn some phrases you might hear if the person you wish to speak to is busy.

Imagine you work as a receptionist and you receive a call for someone who isn't there. What might the caller say, and what would you say in reply?

Now listen to a telephone conversation between the finance department of a company and Jennifer McAndrews. Jennifer wants to talk to Adrian Hopwood but he's not available so she has to leave a message. As you listen, see if you can hear some of the phrases above.

Check understanding

Check your understanding by reading the script below:

Claire:Hello, finance department
Female:Hello, can I speak to Adrian Hopwood, please?
Claire:I’m afraid he’s in a meeting at the moment. Can I help?
Female: No I need to talk to Mr Hopwood, I think. What time will he be out of the meeting?
Claire:In about an hour. Can you call back later?
Female: Okay, I’ll do that.
Claire:Or can I take a message?
Female:Actually, would you mind? Could you tell him that Jennifer McAndrews called and that I’m in the office all day if he could call me back.
Claire:Can I take your number, please?
Female: Yes, it’s 5556872.
Claire:5556872.  Okay, I’ll make sure he gets the message.
Female:Thanks very much for your help, bye!

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Language Expert

Language Expert

Our expert explains the multi-word verbs like "hang up" or "hold on" that often feature in telephone conversations.