Telephone language

Here are some common phrases to help you speak politely on the telephone in English.

Answering the phone

Good morning/afternoon/evening, York Enterprises, Elizabeth Jones speaking.

Asking for the caller’s name

Who’s calling, please?
Could I take your name, please?

Introducing yourself

This is Paul Smith speaking.
Hello, this is Paul Smith from Smith Brothers Ltd.

Asking for someone

Could I speak to John Martin, please?
I’d like to speak to John Martin, please.
Could you put me through to John Martin, please?
Could I speak to someone who …

Explaining absence

I’m afraid Mr Martin isn’t in at the moment.
I’m sorry, he’s in a meeting at the moment.
I’m afraid he’s on another line at the moment.

Putting someone on hold

Just a moment, please.
Could you hold the line, please?
Hold the line, please.


I’m sorry, I don’t understand. Could you repeat that, please?
I’m sorry, I can’t hear you very well. Could you speak up a little, please?
I’m afraid you’ve got the wrong number.
I’ve tried to get through several times but it’s always engaged.
Could you spell that, please?

Putting someone through (connecting someone)

One moment, please. I’ll see if Mr Jones is available.
I’ll put you through.
I’ll connect you.
I’m connecting you now.

Taking a message

Can I take a message?
Would you like to leave a message?
Can I give him/her a message?
I’ll tell Mr Jones that you called.
I’ll ask him/her to call you as soon as possible.