Vocabulary: on the phone-english
Alexander Graham Bell? Elisha Gray? Which one of these two men has really “invented” the telephone? The controversy is still going on, but none of these ingenuous inventors could have imagined that this discovery would be a real revolution in our communications… and that it has now become our young people’s new best friends.
Since that day in February 1876, “the telephone” has been evolving greatly and has become smaller and smaller, handy, and powerful. At present, noboby can predict what it will be like in a hundred years…
A rare and expensive device at first, it was in public places (not in private homes) till a few decades ago, then became “a private landline”, before being “a mobile-phone/ cell-phone”.
A phone box Public phones
– A dial; to dial a number; the dialing tone.
– to activate a key; ” call back on busy”= the call back key.
– the line is busy; to hang up; to hang up on someone.
– Mr X is expecting my call!
MAKING A CALL:
For the learners of a foreign language, phoning is often an ordeal, but it may also be a real test.
Really, it’s very difficult to start and hold a conversation with somebody you can’t see. You can’t use any sign of the body language he or she would be giving. It’s all the more difficult when the speaker knows that his/her correspondant will speak “fast” and perhaps with a strong or regional accent.
1) Introducing oneself and starting the conversation:
– I’d like to speak to Mr X, please.
– I’m calling from… (country, town, or company…)
– I’m calling on behalf of …
2) Taking a call:
– ” Hello! X speaking. Can I help you?”
– “Yes, Speaking! How can I help you?”
– “Where are you calling from?”
3) “Can you hold on a minute, please…”
– “Can you hold on, please? ”
– “Just a moment, please…”
– “Hang on!” = (informal)
– “Can you put me through to M. X. please…”
– “I’m afraid he’s not in the office/ he has a meeting…
– “I’m afraid you’ve got a wrong number! ”
4) During the conversation:
|“I’m sorry! The line isn’t clear!”|
|“Sorry, but your voice is cracking/ jarring! “|
|“Err, the line’s very bad! Can you speak more slowly, please?”|
|“I can’t hear you! Can I call you back, please?|
|“I’m afraid I couldn’t hear you! Could you repeat, please?|
5) At the end of the conversation :
|“Would you like to leave a message?”|
|“Could I leave a message for Mr X, please?”|
|“When can I call back, please?”|
|“Do you want me to repeat my phone number?”|
|“Could you, please, give a message to Mr X?”|
6) Important tips when you’re calling someone: Don’t forget to:
– mention your name.
– adopt a friendly tone.
– speak clearly. Do NOT mumble, use teen language, or speak slang.
– listen carefully, acknowledge, do not interrupt.
– have a pen and paper handy.
Here we are! I hope these elements will have helped you face your future phone calls more serenely. In the meantime, here’s a test to complete your training.
Good luck with THE FORCE!
English exercise “Vocabulary: on the phone” created by here4u with The test builder. [More lessons & exercises from here4u]
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2. ‘ Now that the landlinesmobile phonesphone boxesfixed linedI don’t know are in,
I hope the cell phonestelephone boxesdirectoriesdialsI don’t know will not totally disappear from London! Theyre really part of the landscape. ‘
3. ‘ Hello ! Can he hear meWhere are you fromCould I speak toI don’t know Mrs Pierce, please.
Shes calling me backexpecting my callputting me throughI don’t know.’
I can you repeatcan’t hear youput me throughI don’t know, Madam.
Where put me throughare you calling fromcan you hear mecall him backI don’t know ? ‘
4. ‘Good afternoon! Could you put me through tohang up oncall him backhold onI don’t know Mr Allen, please? ‘
‘ Im terribly sorry, but hes in board, just now. Can you hold onCan you repeatCould you call him backI don’t know, please? ‘
‘Don’t leave a messagehang up onhold onI don’t know me,
I’d simply like to put him throughhang up onhold onleave a messageI don’t know, please.’
‘He told me you could call back on his home landlinemobile phonedialscell phoneI don’t know. Here’s the number. ‘
Speaking!-!/A> | !-!A HREF=/cgi2/myexam/liaison.php?liaison=_expression_>Idioms!-!/A> | !-!A HREF=/cgi2/myexam/liaison.php?liaison=_telephone_>Phone calls!-!/A>”>
Английский язык анапа – english club anapa – обучение английскому анапа – the present perfect. exercises (упр. на настоящее совершен.время)
1The present perfect with for
–Answer the following questions as shown in the examples:
Can you skate? (three years)
Yes, but I haven’t skated for three years.
Could you climb a rope? (I left school)
Yes, I suppose I could, but I haven’t climbed one since I
Can you play chess? (ten years)
Can you sing? (I came to England)
Could you milk a cow? (I left my father’s farm)
Can you put up a tent? (I went camping two years ago)
Can you make Yorkshire pudding? (over a year)
Can you read Latin? (I left school)
Could you bath a baby? (fifteen years)
repair a radio? (I left the army)
9Can you ski?
(my last holiday)
Can you read a map? (quite a long time)
Could you make a basket? (I was in hospital)
12Can you sew
on buttons? (I got married)
Can you drive a car? (over six months)
Could you take someone’s temperature? (years)
Can you ride a motor cycle? (I was at the university)
Can you row a boat? (1977)
Can you paint in oils? (some time)
Can you type? (years and years)
2 Rephrase the
following sentences, using the present perfect tense with for
I last read a
newspaper on June 2.
read a newspaper since June 2.
It is two
years since I saw Tom.
seen Tom for two years.
It’s two years since I had a puncture.
It’s two months since he earned any money.
He last shaved the day before yesterday.
I last drank champagne at my brother’s wedding.
years since I was last in Rome.
I saw Tom last on his wedding day.
I last ate raw fish when I was in Japan.
It’s years since Mary last spoke French.
It’s ten weeks since I last had a good night’s sleep.
He last paid taxes in 1970.
I last ate meat five years ago. (Omit ago.)
It’s three months since the windows were cleaned.
It’s years since I took any photographs.
I last watched TV on New Year’s Day.
It’s three months since he wrote to me.
I was last paid six months ago. (My pay is six months in arrears.)
The last time I was abroad was in the summer of 1978.
It’s ten years since that house was lived in.
2 The present perfect and the
simple past. Put the verbs in brackets into the correct tense:
present perfect or simple past. (In some cases the present perfect
continuous is also possible. This is noted in the Key.)
Paul: I (play) football since I was five years old.
Tom: You (play)
since you (come) to England?
Paul: Oh yes. I
(play) quite a lot. I (join) a club the day after I (arrive).
Tom: You (play) any matches?
Paul: We (play)
about ten. We have two more to play. We (have) a very good season, we
(win) all our matches so far, though we (not really deserve) to win
the last one.
Tom: I (play) football when I (be) at school but when I (leave)
school I. (drop) it and (take) up golf.
Ann: Hello, Jack! I (not see) you for ages! Where you (be)?
Jack: I (be) in
Switzerland. I (mean) to send you a postcard but I (not have) your
address with me.
Ann: Never mind.
You (have) a good time in Switzerland? How long you (be) there?
Jack: I (be)
there for a month. I only just (get) back. Yes, I (enjoy) it
thoroughly. I (ski) all day and (dance) all night.
Ann: I (ski) when I (be) at the university, but I (break) a leg five
years ago and since then I (not do) any.
When I first (come) to this house, it (be) a very quiet area. But
since then a new housing estate (be) built and it (become) very
My son (not start) work yet. He’s still at the High School.
How long he (be) at school?
He (be) at the High School for six years; before that he
(spend) five years at the Primary School in Windmill Street.
I just (hear) that Peter is in Australia.
Oh, you (not know)? He (fly) out at the beginning of the
You (hear) from him? Does he like the life?
Yes, I (get) a letter last week. He (tell) me about his job.
But he (not say) whether he (like) the life or not. Perhaps it’s
too soon to say. He only (be) there thJee weeks.
9I (not know)
you (be) left-handed.
I’m not left-handed; but my oil-heater (explode) yesterday
and I (burn) my right hand, so I have to use my left.
This bicycle (be)
in our family for fourteen years. My father (use) it for the first
five years, my brother (ride) it for the next five, and I Xhaye) it
for the last four.
I hear that your MP, Mr Simpson, (make) a very clever speech last
night. How long he (be) your MP?
Oh, we only (have) him since January. His predecessor Mr Allen
(resign) suddenly because of ill-health and there (be) a by-election.
I hear that Mr Jones (leave).
Yes, he (leave) last week.
Anybody (be) appointed to take his place?
I believe several men (apply) for the job but so far nothing
Peter (meeting Ann at the airport): Hello, Ann. You (have) a good
Ann: The actual
flight (be) lovely, one of the best I (have) ever, but it (take) ages
to get into the plane. First they (think) that one of us (be) a
hijacker and they (search) us all for firearms; then they (announce)
that one of the engines (be) faulty. We finally (take off) an hour
Peter: How you (spend) this extra hour before take-off)?
Ann: Oh, they
(take) us to the restaurant and (feed) us and we (walk) about and
(buy) things we (not need). The time (pass) all right.
You (book) your hotel room yet?
Well, I (write) to the hotel last week but they (not answer)
Peter (meeting Paul unexpectedly in London): Hello, Paul! I (not
know) you (be) here.
Paul: Oh, I (be)
here nearly two months. I (arrive) on the 6th of January.
Peter: When we last (meet) you (say) that nothing would induce you
to come to England. What (make) you change your mind?
Paul: I (find)
that I (need) English for my work and this (seem) the quickest way of
Peter: You (know) any English when you first (arrive) here?
Paul: No, I (not
know) a word.
Ann (to Yvonne, who is going to English classes): How long you
Yvonne: I (learn)
off and on for about five and a half years. (Use the continuous
I (begin) English at secondary school and (do) it for three years.
Then I (drop) it
for a year and (forget) most of it. Then I (spend) two years at a
secretarial college, where I (study) commercial English,
and for the last six
months I (study) in London.
At 4 p.m. my neighbour (ring) up and (say), ‘Is Tom with you?’
Tom, her son, (spend) most of his time in my garden playing with my
children, so whenever she (not be able) to find him she (ring) me.
afraid I (not see) him today,’ I (say). ‘But my children (go) to
the beach this morning and (not come) back yet. Perhaps he (go) with
I just (have) my first driving lesson.
How it (go)? You (enjoy) it?
Well, I not actually (hit) anything but I (make) every other
Old Ben (sell) newspapers just inside the station entrance, and my
father always (buy) his evening paper from him as he (leave) the
station on his way home. But one day my father (arrive) home without
his paper. ‘Ben (not be) there this evening,’ he (say). ‘I hope
he (not be taken) ill.’
On Saturday afternoon I (see) Frederick sitting in his garden.
(think) you (work) on Saturdays,’ I (say).
(work) this morning,’ (explain) Frederick, ‘but at lunch time the
boss (go) off to play golf and (tell) us all to go home. It’s about
time he (give) us a whole Saturday off actually. I (work) practically
every Saturday since the beginning of the year.’
Ann: You (be) to Hampton Court?
Jane: Yes, I (go)
there last week. The tulips (be) wonderful.
Ann: You (go) by
Jane: No, I (go)
with my English class. We (hire) a coach.
Ann: Where else you (be) to since you (come) to England?
Jane: Oh, I (be)
to Stratford and Coventry and Oxford and Canterbury.
Ann: You (see) a lot. When you (go) to Stratford?
Jane: I (go) last
week. The people I work for (take) me.
Ann: You (see) a play at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre when you (be)
Jane: Yes, we
(see) Macbeth. We were very lucky. We just (walk) in and (ask) if
they (have) any returned tickets, and the girl at the box office
(say), ‘Yes, a man just (return) three stalls.’
Ann: You (be) to Wales?
Jane: No, I (be)
to Scotland but I (not be) to Wales. I’d like to go.
Peter: You (see) any good films lately?
Ann: Yes, I (go)
to the National Film Theatre last week and (see) a Japanese film.
Peter: You (like)
Yes, I (love) it, but of course I (not understand) a word.
Tom: I hear that Mr Benson just (die). You (know) him quite well,
Jack: Yes. We
(work) for the same company for ten years. I (not see) so much of him
after he (leave) the company but we (keep) in touch.
Ann (think) the garage (be) empty, and (turn) off the lights. ‘Hey!’
(shout) Paul from under the car. ‘I’m sorry, Paul,’ (say) Ann,
‘I (not know) you (be) there.’
Father: Tom (not come) back yet?
Mother: Yes, he
(come) in an hour ago. He (go) straight to bed. Father: Funny. I (not
Paul: That’s a live wire. It just (give) me a shock!
Ann: Nonsense! I
just (touch) it and I (not feel) anything!
When Paul (come)
into the room, Ann was sitting in an armchair just behind the door.
Paul, not noticing Ann, (go) to the window and (look) out. Ann
(cough) and Paul (spin) round. ‘Hello, Ann!’ he (exclaim), ‘I
(not see) you!’
Jack: You just
(agree) to go, so why aren’t you getting ready?
Peter: But I (not
realize) that you (want) me to start at once!
present perfect and the simple past. Put the verbs in
brackets into the correct tense: present perfect or simple past.
I (buy) a new house last year, but I (not sell) my old house
yet, so at the moment I have two houses.
Ann (be) on her way to the station it (begin) to rain. Ann (run)
back to her flat for her umbrella, but this (make) her
late for her train.
She (catch) the next train but it (not get) in till 9.00, so she
(arrive) at her office ten minutes late.
Her boss (look) up as she (come) in. ‘You (be) late every morning
this week,’ he (growl).
At 7 a.m. Charles (ring) Peter and (say), ‘I’m going fishing,
Peter. Would you like to come?’
it’s so early,’ (say) Peter. ‘I (not have) breakfast yet. Why
you (not tell) me last night?’
Paul at lunch time and (say), ‘I (not see) you at the bus stop this
morning. You (miss) the bus?’
(not miss) it,’ (reply) Paul. ‘I (not miss) a bus for years. But
this morning George (give) me a lift.’
Ann (go) to Canada six months ago. She (work) in Canada for a
while and then (go) to the United States.
Mary (be) in Japan for two years. She is working there and likes it
How she (go)?
She (go) by air.
When I (buy) my new house I (ask) for a telephone. The Post Office
(tell) me to wait, but I (wait) a year now and my phone still (not
has breakfast at 8.00. Yesterday at 8.30 Peter (meet) Bill and
(offer) him an apple. ‘No, thanks/ (say) Bill. ‘I just (have)
Just as Ann (arrive) at the airfield a plane (land) and a girl
(climb) out. To her surprise Ann (recognize) her cousin, Lucy.
‘Hello, Lucy,’ she (exclaim). ‘I (not know) that you (know) how
to fly a plane.’
only just (learn),’ (say) Lucy. ‘I (go) solo for the first time
Peter (try) to come in quietly but his mother (hear) him and (call)
out, ‘Where you (be)? Your supper (be) in the oven for an hour.’
You (be) to the theatre lately?
Yes, I (go) to Othello last week.
You (like) it?
Yes, but I (not see) very well. I (be) right at the back.
Ann (coming out of a bookshop): I just (buy) a copy of David
Copperfield. You (read) it?
Mary: As it
happens it is the only one of Dickens’s books that I (not read). I
(not even see) the film.
You (be) to Cambridge?
Yes, I (be) there last month.
–How you (get) there?
My brother (take) me in his car.
You (see) Philip lately? I (ring) his flat several times last week
but (get) no answer.
Oh, he (be) in America for the last month. He (fly) out on the
first for a conference and then (decide) to stay for six weeks.
You (hear) from him?
Yes, I (get) a letter shortly after he (arrive).
How long you (be) in your present job?
I (be) there for six months.
And what you (do) before that?
Before that I (work) for Jones and Company.
How long you (work) for Jones and Company?
I (work) for them for two years.
You (like) working for them?
No, I (not like) it at all.
– Then why you
(stay) so long?
We usually go out on Saturday evenings, but last Saturday (be) so
wet that we (stay) in and (play) cards.
What you (play)?
We (play) poker. I (lose) fifty pence.
When you (begin) school?
I (begin) school when I (be) five. I (go) to a primary school
first. I (stay) there for six years and then I (go) to a
When I (be) seventeen I (start) my university course.
When you (get) your degree?
Oh, I (not get) my degree yet; I’m still at the university.
I only (be) there for two years.
Tom (leave) the house at 8.20. At 8.25 the phone in Tom’s house
(ring), Tom’s wife, Mary, (answer) it. ‘Could I speak to Tom,
please?’ (say) the caller.
afraid he just (go) out’, (say) Mary.
You (be) to Cornwall?
Yes, I (be) there last Easter.
You (go) by train?
– No, I
I(not see) Charles for some time.
– Be (be) ill,
poor chap. He (collapse) at work a fortnight ago and (be taken) to
hospital. They (send) him home after two days but he (not crane) back
to work yet.
There (be) a very
good programme on TV last night. You (see) it?
No. I (take) my set back to the shop last week because there (be) so
ranch distortion; and they (say) it (need) a new part. They (not be
able) to get the new part so far, so I (not watch) television for
about ten days.
You (ever) be to France?
Yes, I (spend) last July and August in Grenoble. I (go) to
improve my French but everyone I (meet) (want) to improve his English
so I (not get) much practice.
postman usually comes between 8.00 and 9.00 in the morning. At 8.45
a.m. yesterday Ann (say), ‘Are there any letters for me?’
don’t know,’ (say) Mary. ‘The postman (not come) yet.’
At 11 a.m. Jack,
Mary’s husband, (ring) from his office to ask if there (be) any
letters for him. ‘No,’ (say) Mary. ‘Nobody (get) letters today.
The postman (not come).’
Mr Speed, Ann’s employer, (dictate) three letters and (tell) Ann
to type them as soon as possible. Half an hour later he (ring) Ann’s
office. ‘You (finish) those letters yet?’ he (ask).
(say) Ann, ‘I (do) the letter to Mr Jones, and I’m now typing the
one to Mr Robinson, but I (not start) the one to Mr Smith yet.’
You (find) out yet about the trains to Liverpool?
No. I (ring) the station last night but the man who (answer)
the phone (not seem) to be sure of the times. He (say) something
about a new timetable.
But the new timetable (be) in operation for three weeks!
Tom and Jack work in different offices but go to work in the same
train. One evening Tom’s wife (say), ‘Jack (move) into his new
house yet?’ ‘I don’t know,’ (say) Tom, ‘I (not see) Jack
today. He (not be) on the train.’
Where you (be)?
I (be) shopping in Oxford Street.
So I suppose you (buy) shoes?
Yes. I (find) a shop where they were having a sale and I (get)
In the evenings I often play chess with my next door neighbour. I
(play) chess with him ever since I (come) to live here ten years ago.
He (be) here all his life; he (inherit) the house from his father,
another great chess player.
You ever (play) chess with the father?
We (play) once or twice but he (die) a year after I (arrive).
I can’t find my gloves. You (see) them?
Yes, you (leave) them in the car yesterday. I (put) them back
in your drawer.
I hope you’re enjoying your visit to England, You (meet) any
Yes, I (meet) a man called Smith at a party last night.
What you (talk) about?
We (talk) about the weather.
Mrs Jones: For years I (do) all my washing by hand; then last year I
(buy) a washing machine and I must say it (make) washing day much
less exhausting. It only takes me an hour now.
Mrs White: I
don’t like washing machines. I always (do) my washing by hand and I
intend to go on doing it. I always (find) it very satisfying work.
Tom: Don’t you think it’s time we (have) something different for
Ann: But we
(have) roast beef for Sunday dinner ever since we (get) : married.
Your mother (tell) me that you (be) particularly fond of roast beef.
Tom: But my
mother (be) dead for five years and in those five years my tastes
Part 2 19 I
Exercise 21 have played/have been playing; Have you played, came; have