Conversation Lesson 6
Lesson 6 - A Telephone Call

Dialogs for everyday use. Short situational dialogs for students of English as a Foreign (EFL) or Second (ESL) Language.
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A Telephone Call

Barbara: Hello.

Fred: Hello. May I speak to Alice Weaver, please?

Barbara: Just a minute… Alice, it’s for you.

Alice: Hello.

Fred: Hi, Alice. This is Fred. Would you like to go to a movie tonight?

Alice: Thanks, I’d love to. I haven’t been to a movie for a long time.

Fred: Good. I’ll pick you up around seven thirty, then. The movie starts at eight.

Alice: Fine, I’ll be ready.
Conversation Notes
  • Hello
  • A simple and usual way of answering the telephone.
  • Business firms, however, frequently identify themselves when answering the telephone: Jones Construction Company, or Good morning, Jones Construction Company, or, possibly, Jones Construction Company, Mr. Smith speaking.
  • May I speak to Alice Weaver, please
  • A possible alternative is I’d like to speak to Alice Weaver. Or the person calling may identify himself: Hello. This is Fred Young. May I speak to Alice Weaver, please?
  • Would you like to
  • This is a polite form of do you want to…? It should be carefully differentiated from do you like to…? which has quite a different meaning.
  • I’d love to
  • Meaning is I would love to, a somewhat more enthusiastic response than I’d like to. (All of these are polite equivalents of I want to.)
  • Care should be taken to include ’d in these expressions in both speech and writing, to differentiate them from I love to and I like to, which differ from them in meaning as well as in form. I haven’t been to… = I haven’t gone to…. Other examples: I haven’t been to England yet, but I hope to go there soon. Have you been out today? We’ve been to the theater three times this week. We hadn’t been there at all until last weekend. This use of BE is rather strictly colloquial and is generally limited to the perfect tenses.
  • I’ll pick you up
  • Meaning is I’ll come to your house so that we can go together. Pick up is a separable two word verb.
  • around seven thirty
  • Meaning is about seven thirty—perhaps a few minutes before or after 7:30. To indicate a more precise time, the speaker would say “at seven thirty.” (Notice that o’clock is often omitted in these expressions.)
  • Fine, I’ll be ready
  • Although this dialogue ends with the line Fine, I’ll be ready, a telephone conversation usually ends with each speaker saying good­bye.
Source: U.S. State Department
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