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Talking on the Telephone - Part 2

Talking on the Telephone - Part 2


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Talking on the Telephone - 2 – Calling someone (social plans)

Hello! In this lesson, we will learn some English associated with making a phone call. There are many reasons for making a phone call, but in this lesson we will concentrate on a social phone call to plan an activity.

The steps of a social call are basically the same as those for a business call, but the language is more social and there are many personal references.

Basically, we must identify ourselves, state the reason for the call, verify, and come to closure. But social calls are filled with social niceties and "small talk". We will also practice some "small talk", the polite chatty language that makes for a friendly conversation.

When someone answers a phone, the first step the caller must always take is to identify himself or herself. For example, when Jennifer calls someone, the first thing she says is "Hello, this is Jennifer Jones." If she is calling someone she knows quite well, she can say "Hi, this is Jennifer.". If she is calling her best friend named Beth, She can say "Hi Beth, it's Jennifer." or "Hi Beth, this is Jennifer.". Maybe Jennifer is calling for Beth, but Beth's aunt or husband answers the phone. Jennifer would say "Hi, this is Jennifer Jones. Is Beth available?" or "This is Jennifer Jones. Could I speak to Beth, please?" or "Hi this is Jennifer Jones. Is Beth there?".

Beth might say "Hi Jennifer. How are you?" and Jennifer might say "Fine, and you?" or Beth might say "Hi Jennifer. What's up?" and Jennifer might say "Not much." or Beth might ask "How have you been?" and Jennifer might answer "Good, how about you?" or Beth might ask "What's going on?", and Jennifer might answer "I just wanted to let you know … ".

Maybe Jennifer wants to invite Beth and her husband to come over for dinner. She might say "I just wanted to let you know that we're planning a dinner party for Saturday night." or "Would you and your husband like to come over for dinner tomorrow night?" or "How would you two like to come over for dinner tomorrow?".

Maybe Jennifer would like to ask Beth to go shopping with her later this week. She might say "Beth, do you want to go shopping with me later this week?" or "Should we go to the mall?". She might want Beth to go to lunch with her. She could say "Are you free for lunch?" or "Would you like to go out for lunch Wednesday?" or "Let's meet for lunch.".

Since Jennifer invited both Beth and her husband to dinner, Beth might need to check with her husband to find out if he is free to go to dinner. In that case, Beth could say "I'll have to check with my husband, and I'll let you know.".

Jennifer and Beth might have to make arrangements for when and where to meet. Or Jennifer might want to tell Beth what time she is planning to pick her up in the car. Jennifer might say "Can you meet me at the restaurant at noon?" or "Should I pick you up a few minute before noon?". She might say "Let's get together at the mall.".

After they make arrangements, they will close their conversation by informally verifying their plan. Jennifer might say "See you tomorrow at noon!" or "See you at the mall!"Beth might say "Okay" or "See you then!" Then both will say "Good-bye" or "Bye".

Let us listen as Jennifer calls Beth.

Beth: Hello?

Jennifer: Beth? This is Jennifer.

Beth: Hi Jennifer! How have you been?

Jennifer: Pretty good. What’s up?

Beth: Not much. What’s going on?

Jennifer: I was wondering if you and your husband could come over for dinner on Saturday.

Beth: This Saturday?

Jennifer: Yes, this Saturday, the twenty-third.

Beth: I think we can. I'll have to check with Ben.

Jennifer: Okay. See if you can come over at about 6, and we'll plan to eat at around 7:00.

Beth: Great! I'll check with Ben and let you know tomorrow.

Jennifer: Wonderful Hope to see you Saturday!

Beth: Okay. Talk to you tomorrow.

Jennifer: Okay. Take care.

Beth: Okay thanks. Bye.

Jennifer: Bye now.

Beth answers her residential phone in the typical way, by saying "Hello?". Some people answer the phone by giving their last name. For example, David and Jennifer's last name is Jones, so they might say "Jones' residence". Some people do not want to give any information, even their name, until they are sure who the caller is.

Jennifer says "Beth? This is Jennifer.". Since she recognizes Beth's voice, she might say "Hi Beth, it's Jennifer.". If Beth and Jennifer are very good friends or have a habit of calling each other every day at a particular time, Jennifer might say "Hi, it's me.".

Beth says "Hi Jennifer! What's up?". The expression "What's up?" means: what is happening?, but sometimes it can also mean: why are you calling?, depending on the tone of voice. A very concerned "What's up?" might mean the same as "Is there a problem?".

Beth answers "Not much.". She means nothing important has been happening. "Not much" is a typical response to the question "What's up?" unless there is important news to share.

Beth returns the question by asking "What's going on?". Since Jennifer made the call, this usage of "What's going on?" probably really means the same as "Why are you calling?", but it is friendlier and chattier.

Jennifer then states the reason for her call. She says "I was wondering if you and your husband could come over for dinner on Saturday.". The expression "I was wondering …" is a common way of introducing a new topic. She could also have introduced this invitation by saying "Do you think you and your husband could come over for dinner tomorrow?" or "How would you and your husband like to come over for dinner tomorrow night?". The expressions "Do you think you could …" and "How would you like to …" are also ways of introducing an invitation to an activity.

Beth verifies by asking "This Saturday?". She could have asked "This coming Saturday?" or "Saturday the twenty-third?". Jennifer verifies by saying "Yes, this Saturday, the twenty-third.". She could have said "Yes, this coming Saturday.".

Beth says "I think we can. I'll have to check with Ben.". Since Beth is married to Ben, she will have to ask if he is able to go to dinner. "Checking" with someone means verifying the time with them, or asking if they can participate in an activity. Beth could have said "I'll see if Ben is available." or "Let me check with Ben.".

Jennifer continues "Okay. See if you can come over at about 6, and we'll plan to eat at around 7:00.". The imperative expression "See if you can …" means: (Translate: check to be sure that). She could have said "Check whether you can come over at about 6.". The expression "come over" usually means to come to someone's house or wherever they are.

Beth says "Great! I'll check with Ben and let you know tomorrow.". She could have said "I'll ask Ben and tell you tomorrow." or "I'll get back to you tomorrow.". "To get back to someone" means to call them back or contact them again.

Jennifer says "Wonderful! Hope to see you Saturday!". Jennifer is abbreviating her sentences in a typical way. The entire sentences would be "That's wonderful! I will see you Saturday!". It is very typical to say "See you …"

Beth agrees "Okay. Talk to you tomorrow.". Her complete sentences would be "That's okay. I will talk to you tomorrow.". It is typical shorten some sentences in this way.

Jennifer says, "Okay. Take care." The expression "Take care." is a kindly goodbye greeting that means "Take care of yourself.", (translate: take care of yourself)

Beth thanks her and they close the conversation by saying "Bye" and "Bye now.". They could have said "Goodbye".

Great! Now you have learned the English and "small talk" associated with a phone call for planning a social activity. "Have fun!"