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Everyday English Speaking - Level 1

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  1. Everyday English

    Introduction & Lesson 1 – Telephone English Phrases
    4 Activities
  2. Lesson 2 – Apartments & Neighborhoods
    3 Activities
  3. Lesson 3 – TV & Movies
    4 Activities
  4. Lesson 4 – Relationships
    3 Activities
  5. Lesson 5 – Hobbies
    3 Activities
  6. Lesson 6 – Public Transportation
    5 Activities
  7. Lesson 7 – Driving & Directions
    4 Activities
  8. Lesson 8 – Restaurants – Part I
    5 Activities
  9. Lesson 9 – Restaurants – Part II
    4 Activities
  10. Lesson 10 – Ordering Drinks, Coffee, and a Pizza
    4 Activities
  11. Lesson 11 – At the Post Office and Bank
    4 Activities
  12. Lesson 12 – Shopping
    5 Activities
  13. Lesson 13 – Getting Sick & Going to the Doctor
    4 Activities
  14. Lesson 14 – Crime & Safety
    4 Activities
  15. Lesson 15 – Talking about the Weather
    3 Activities
  16. Travel English
    Lesson 16 – Airport (Part 1)
    5 Activities
  17. Lesson 17 – Airport (Part 2)
    5 Activities
  18. Lesson 18 – At a Hotel
    6 Activities
  19. Lesson 19 – Sightseeing
    5 Activities
  20. Lesson 20 – Camping & Hiking
    3 Activities
  21. Lesson 21 – At the Beach
    3 Activities
  22. Social English
    Lesson 22 – Social English: Basics
    6 Activities
  23. Lesson 23: Likes, Dislikes, and Preferences
    3 Activities
  24. Lesson 24: Invitations and Offers
    5 Activities
  25. Lesson 25: Agreeing & Disagreeing
    4 Activities
  26. Lesson 26: Arguing & Swearing
    3 Activities
  27. Lesson 27: Apologizing & Expressing Regret
    3 Activities
  28. Lesson 28: Expressing Concern, Sympathy, and Condolences
    4 Activities
  29. Lesson 29: Worrying, Reassuring, Cheering up, and Encouraging
    4 Activities
  30. Lesson 30: Interrupting & Getting Back on Track
    4 Activities
  31. Lesson 31: Asking Permission & Asking Indirect Questions
    3 Activities
  32. Lesson 32: Common Interjections
    4 Activities
  33. Lesson 33: Common Euphemisms
    4 Activities
  34. Functional English
    Lesson 34: Talking about Information
    3 Activities
  35. Lesson 35: Certainty & Probability
    3 Activities
  36. Lesson 36: Similarities & Differences
    3 Activities
  37. Lesson 37: Talking about Decisions
    3 Activities
  38. Lesson 38: Opinions & Advice
    3 Activities
  39. Lesson 39: Complaining & Criticizing
    4 Activities
  40. Lesson 40: Discourse Markers
    5 Activities
  41. Lesson 41: Idioms for Feelings
    4 Activities
  42. Lesson 42: Using Vague Language
    2 Activities
  43. Lesson 43: Talking about Hypothetical Situations
    3 Activities
  44. Lesson 44: Common Slang
    2 Activities
  45. Lesson 45: Differences between Speaking & Writing in English
    2 Activities
  46. Your feedback & Next steps
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Helen: Midtown Computer Solutions, Helen speaking. How can I help you?

Ryan: Hello, this is Ryan Bardos. May I speak with Natalie Jones, please?

Helen: One moment please – I’ll put you through.

Helen: Mr. Bardos? I’m sorry, Natalie’s in a meeting at the moment. Would you like to leave a message?

Ryan: Yes, could you ask her to call me back as soon as possible? It’s pretty urgent.

Helen: Of course. Does she have your number?

Ryan: She has my office number, but let me also give you my cell – it’s 472-555-8901.

Helen: Let me read that back to you – 472-555-8901.

Ryan: That’s right.

Helen: And could you spell your last name for me?

Ryan: B as in Boston – A – R – D as in dog – O – S as in September

Helen: Okay, Mr. Bardos. I’ll give her the message.

Ryan: Thanks a lot. Bye.

Now let’s listen to the second part of the conversation, when Natalie calls Ryan back.

Ryan: Hello?

Natalie: Hi, Ryan, this is Natalie returning your call.

Ryan: Hi Natalie, thanks for getting back to me. I was calling about the shipment of keyboards for our office – we haven’t gotten them yet.

Natalie: Oh, that’s not good – they were supposed to be delivered three days ago.

Ryan: Exactly, and we have a new group of employees starting on Monday, so we really need those keyboards as soon as possible.

Natalie: Okay, I’ll look into it right away – if necessary, we can send you an emergency overnight shipment.

Ryan: Thanks, Natalie, I appreciate it.

Natalie: No problem, Ryan. I’ll call you back a little later, as soon as I have more information.

Ryan: Sounds good – talk to you soon.

Natalie: Bye.

Telephone English Phrases – Formal Conversation

From these conversations, we can learn phrases for beginning a phone call, taking and leaving messages, checking and clarifying information, and finishing a phone call.

BEGINNING A CALL

When Helen answers the phone, she says, “Midtown Computer Solutions, Helen speaking. How can I help you?” This is a common way for a receptionist at a company or organization to answer the phone. Here are a couple alternatives:

  • “Thank you for calling Midtown Computer Solutions. How may I direct your call?”
  • “Midtown Computer Solutions – good afternoon.”

To introduce yourself, you can say: “Hello, this is…” and if you want, you can add your company name:

  • “Hello, this is Ryan Bardos.”
  • “Hello, this is Ryan Bardos from Paramount Publishing.”

Then, ask to speak to somebody by using the phrases:

  • “May I speak with…?”
  • “Could I speak with…?”

You can also add the phrase “I’m calling about…” or “I’m calling to…” in order to give a reason for your call. Use “I’m calling about…” to introduce a topic, and “I’m calling to…” to introduce an action:

  • “I’m calling about the job opening I saw in the newspaper.”
  • “I’m calling to register for the upcoming conference.”

To connect or transfer the call, the receptionist says, “One moment please – I’ll put you through.” A few other phrases for transferring a call are:

  • “Please hold.”
  • “I’ll transfer you.”
  • “May I ask who’s calling?” / “Who’s calling, please?”
    If you forgot to identify yourself at the beginning of the call, the receptionist will sometimes use this phrase to ask for your name.

TAKING / LEAVING MESSAGES

Unfortunately the person Ryan wants to speak to is not available, and the receptionist says “I’m sorry, Natalie’s in a meeting at the moment.” Here are some additional phrases to use when another person can’t answer a telephone call:

  • “I’m sorry, she’s on another call.”
  • “I’m sorry, Natalie has left for the day.”
  • “I’m sorry, Natalie’s not in her office right now.”
  • “I’m sorry, she’s out of town at the moment.”
  • “I’m sorry, she’s not available at the moment.”

Then, there are two common phrases that are used for offering to take a message:

  • “Would you like to leave a message?”
  • “Can I take a message?”

If you don’t want to leave a message, you can say: “No thanks, I’ll call back later.”

There are two polite ways to leave a message. You can make a statement starting with “Please” or a question starting with “Could you…” – usually followed by the verbs ask, tell, or remind and then “him” (if the message is for a man) or “her” (if the message is for a woman).

  • “Could you ask her to call me back?”
  • “Please ask him to call me back.”
  • “Please tell him/her that the documents are ready.”
  • “Please remind him/her that he/she has a dentist appointment tomorrow.”

CLARIFYING/CONFIRMING INFORMATION

While taking the message, the receptionist used two phrases for checking and confirming information:

  • “Let me read that back to you.”
  • “Could you spell your last name for me?”

The verb “spell” means to say the letters of the word. Ryan replies:

  • “B as in Boston – A – R – D as in dog – O – S as in September.”

It’s common to use phrases like “B as in Boston” and “S as in September” with letters that can be frequently confused with others, such as B and D, S and F, or M and N.

FINISHING A CALL

When you want to finish the conversation, you can use “signal phrases” – these are phrases indicating that the conversation is coming to an end:

  • “Well, it was nice talking with you.”
  • “Thanks for calling.”
  • “Anyway… I should let you go / I should get going.”

If you want to promise future contact, you can use one of the phrases from the second conversation:

  • “I’ll get in touch in a couple of days.”
    (get in touch = contact you)
  • “I’ll call you back a little later”
  • “Talk to you soon.”

Then you can finish the conversation with one of these “final phrases”:

  • “Bye.”
  • “Take care.”
  • “Have a nice day.”

Response: “You too. Bye.”