Reasons for Phoning

There are fixed phrases to say what we want in "telephone English", for example: I'm (just) phoning / calling to + reason.

take on

Answering enquiries on the phone:
Me temo que el Sr. Smith no está en este momento.
I’m afraid Mr. Smith isn’t in at the moment.
Lo siento, esta fuera en un viaje de negocios.
I’m sorry, he’s away on a business trip.
Lo siento, está reunido en este momento.
I’m sorry, he’s in a meeting at the moment.
Está comunicando ahora.
The line is busy at the moment.
Me temo que no está disponible en este momento.
I’m afraid he’s not available at the moment.

Remember - We say “at the moment” and not “in the moment”

Leaving and taking messages:

¿Quiere que le dé un mensaje?
Can I take a message?
¿Quiere dejar un mensaje?
Would you like to leave a message?
¿Hay algún mensaje?
Is there any message?
¿Quiere que le dé algún mensaje?
Can I give him a message?
Por favor, dígale que llame a Jeff cuando llegue.
Please ask him to call Jeff when he gets in.
Por favor, que me llame.
Please have him call me.
Le diré al Sr. Jones que ha llamado.
I’ll tell Mr. Jones that you called.
Le diré a ella que le llame tan pronto como sea posible.
I’ll ask her to call you as soon as possible.

Do the quiz:

Questions related with telephones:
  • Is your name in the telephone book? ? Why or why not?
  • What is an unlisted phone number?
  • What kind of phone numbers can you find in the yellow pages of a phone book?
  • How can you find someone's telephone number on the Internet?
  • Have you ever called for pizza delivery?
  • Have you ever called a business (airlines, ELI, auto repair, insurance, bank, etc.) for information?
  • Have you ever had a problem with your phone bill? What did you do?
  • Have you ever dialed the wrong number?
    • What happened?
    • How did you feel? (frustrated, embarrassed, relaxed, etc.)
  • Have you ever left a voice mail or a message on an answering machine?
  • What is good telephone etiquette?
    • What is considered rude in your culture?
  • How do you communicate with someone who is in another place/country?
  • Do you have a cellular/mobile phone?
  • Is it difficult to communicate to someone who doesn't speak English very well?
  • Cell phones
    • How many phone calls do you usually receive and make in one day?
    • Do receive phone calls when you are already engaged to another call?
    • Do you have a cell phone?
    • How many people in your family have a cell phone?
    • What cellphone company do you use?
      • How did you decide to use this company?
      • Are you happy with this company?
      • How long have you used that company?
    • About how many text messages do you send in a day?
    • Who pays for your cell phone?
    • What kind of cell phone plan do you have with your carrier?
    • Who is the youngest person you know who has a cell phone?
    • What kind of features does your cell phones have?
    • How long have you had a cell phone?
    • Why have you decided not to have a cell phone?
    • Is it in bad taste to leave your cell phone on when you are at a restaurant?
    • What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of cell phones?
    • Could you live without your mobile phone?
    • How much do you spend a month on your cell phone?
    • When did you first get a cell phone?
    • Have your parents ever been angry with you because of your phone use?
    • At what age do kids now get cell phones?
    • Do you know how to use all the functions on your phone?
    • Have you ever tried getting a date with your phone?
    • Does it ever bother you when people use their cell phones?
    • Are you worried about radiation from you cell phone?
    • Who do you call most often?
    • How many cell phones have you destroyed?
    • What was the most expensive phone call you ever made?
    • Are you allowed to have your mobile telephone switched on in class?
    • Is it illegal to speak on your cell phone while you are driving in your country?
    • Do you think it should be illegal to speak on your cell phone while driving?
    • Has your cell phone ever broken down? What did you do when your cell phone last malfunctioned?
    • Have you ever lost your phone?
    • Has your phone ever been stolen?
    • What age you think children should be allowed to have a mobile phone?
    • Has your cell phone ever broken down?
    • What did you do when your cell phone last malfunctioned?
    • Did you ever let the telephone ring without answering it?
    • What do you think about students who watch X-rated films in silent mode on their telephone in class rooms?
    • How do you communicate with someone who is in another place/country?
    • Is it difficult to communicate with someone who doesn't speak English very well?
    • Do receive phone calls when you are already engaged
    • to another call?
    • Are you aware of the current health risks associated with mobile phones?
    • Do you ever plan to own a mobile phone in the future?
    • Do you know of anybody who has had the mobile phone stolen?
    • Do you know that mobile phones have been used as a method to bully?
    • What reason do you have a mobile phone? Work/personal/emergency
    • Have you ever driven using your mobile phone?
    • Now that you own a mobile phone would you ever consider not possessing a phone in the future?
    • On average how many hours do you use your mobile phone weekly?
    • Do you feel that these risks would stop you from using your mobile phone?
    • Mobile phones can be seen as fashion statement, can this put pressure on you to renew your phone to the newest model?
    • At what age do you think you should be allowed to have a mobile phone?

  • How many texts do you send a month?
  • What are the positive and negative effects of texting?
  • What is texting similar to?
  • Do you text when you drive?
    • Why do you do it if you know it's dangerous?
    • Do you prefer to text ortalk on the phone? Why?
    • How do you text on a phone? (Teach me how to text.)
    • How many texts are included in your phone plan?
    • Should there be a limit to how many texts a child or adult should send? Why?
    • What "textese" do you use, for example, u2, b4, g2do?
    • How is texting similar to chatting and how is it different?

Commonly used English phrases in conversations. How to end a conversation:

conversations 01.jpg


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Using would to be polite

You learnt "would" in básico 1 for the first time, so it's not new for you at all.

The pattern is: would + bare infinitive (e.g. would be)


Email Addresses and Websites

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The Future Continuous

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Building up a Business

broke even
golpe de suerte
lanzar en bolsa
plough back
set up
duro, difícil
stock exchange
La Bolsa


cool (n.)
(la) calma
entrepreneur /ˌɒntrəprəˈn3ːr/
empresario, emprendedor
agudo, sagaz
estado de alerta
seize /si:z/

trabajo de obrero, de peón, de cuello azul
plough in / into
invertir en
cartera financiera

AquaCity (in Poprad, Slovakia)


set up



Expressing necessity and ability

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a low-paid job

a part-time job

a well-paid job

to be well-off
acomodado, pudiente
My parents aren't well-off, so I need to make money to help them out.
to do manual work

to work solidly
trabajar sin descanso
I've worked solidly through till six in the morning.

María Ángeles A.

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