Free Resources for Students and Teachers of English as a Foreign Language in China - by Paul Sparks

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Paul Sparks - Online English Lesson Plans, Lesson Material and Ideas for Oral English Lessons, Hunan University of Science and Technology...



ORAL ENGLISH: Using the Telephone - Discussion / Telephone Expressions

Lesson Objectives:
Students will learn to feel more comfortable using the telephone and expand their skills when speaking English on the phone. Students will further develop their vocabulary related to telephone calls. They will understand common expressions used in everyday situations and be able to ask for clarification when using the telephone. They will practice spelling names and addresses over the phone.


Adapted From:



Class Discussion:


  • What type of phone calls do you make?

  • What type of telephone calls do you find the most difficult? Why?

  • What things make it difficult for you to understand during a telephone conversation?

  • Do you feel comfortable asking for clarification on the telephone?

  • Do you feel comfortable asking someone to repeat information?

  • Do you feel comfortable asking someone to slow down when they are speaking too quickly?

  • Do you feel comfortable asking someone to spell their name or address?

Key Vocabulary:

social call








wrong number




hang up

nature of the call

residential phones

business phones


Im sorry

area code

directory assistance



Telephone Expressions:


  • What do you say when you answer your telephone?

  • Who answers your telephone at home?

  • What do you say/do if you reach a wrong number?

  • How do you find out if you have written the number down incorrectly or whether you have dialled it incorrectly?

  • What phrases can you use to let someone know you are listening?

  • What do you say if you did not understand something someone has said to you in a telephone conversation?


Useful Telephone Expressions: 

Hello / Hi


This is he/ she

Hes on another line right now.

You can reach her at / on _________.

Shes not here right now.

Hes just stepped out.

Her extension number is 24.

Could you give me some information on . . . ?

Could you tell me about . . . ?

Would you like to hold?

Can I get him to call you back?

Would you like to leave a message?

Shes not in right now. Would you like her voice mail?

Could you hold please?

Could you repeat that please?

Would you mind repeating that?

How do you spell that?

Im sorry I didnt quite get that. Could you repeat that please?

Im having difficulty hearing you, could you speak louder please?

May I speak to / with..?

Good-bye / Bye / Bye-bye

May I take a message?

Talk to you later.


Are you busy right now?

Hes busy at this moment?

Hes not in today.

Shes not at her desk right now.

Im sorry.


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