How to answer the phone in English
The phone rings, it’s the United States. You have to answer the phone in English!
What do you do? Do you go have a coffee? Do you run to the restroom? Do you pick up the phone?
Answering the phone in English is not so difficult … if you are prepared. If you are not, it’s true that the idea of answering the phone can be scary!
“Will I understand?”
“What will I do if their accent is too strong?”
“I don’t want to say ‘Can you repeat please?’ after every sentence …”
Personally, I hate to telephone in French, so I sympathize with you!
Just as with the politee formulas in emails in English, you just have to know the typical expressions. This way, you start your call with a confidence boost. After you survive the first 30 seconds of the call, the rest is easy as pie!
Answering the phone in English: Make a good start
A useful phrase to answer the phone: “to pick up the phone”. It’s what you do when the phone rings.
When you pick up the phone, you just have to say “Hello?”
Yes, it’s as simple as that. But beware!
If you don’t do it with the right intonation–it goes up at the end–your American friend will think they’re annoying you by calling you!
(This may be the case, but on the phone, it is important to demonstrate politeness with your voice. You can listen for examples in how to do this in today’s episode).
Need to work on your intonation so you don’t sound impolite? There is a video for that: Improve your pronunciation in English
Answering the phone in English: Listen and answer
Then you have to understand what the American says on the phone.
There is a strong chance that he starts with a phrase like “Can I speak to Fred please?”
If you are Fred, you answer with a typical phrase, which all Americans use on the phone: “This is he.” Obviously, this is the phrase for men.
For women, we say “This is she.”
“Can I speak to Christina?”
“This is she.”
Yes, the structure is a little weird. Don’t try to understand the grammatical structure …
You will do you more harm than good! Sometimes you just have to learn the chunks – ready-made phrases – by heart. “This is he / she” is a useful chunk to learn.
You can also answer with just “Speaking.” It’s ok. It’s correct. But personally, I find it a little short.
I want to give you a personal challenge!
Try to use “This is he / she” the next time you pick up the phone and someone asks to talk to you in English. You can do it! #ConfidenceBoost
Everything is explained in this episode of Speak English with Christina TV!
When there’s just one person on the phone, it’s not too bad. But with several people, especially if they have American, Chinese or Indian accents and if the connection is not good, well…
We both agree, conf calls in English can be really difficult sometimes!
And what about you?
Do you have a funny story about answering the phone in English?
Share it with us in the comments!
I love reading your stories, and anecdotes about mistakes in a language are often funny, so have fun with your comments!
Have a lovely week,