Increase your English Vocabulary for Phone calls




A cell or mobile phone

New generation phones or smartphones without cables.

A mobile phone is much more useful because I can go anywhere with it.

A switchboard

An equipment, used especially in the past, for directing all the phone calls made to and from a particular building or area.

A very busy switchboard operator is permitted to ask “Who’s calling?” Or “Who’s calling, please?” Before redirecting calls from one device to other.

An operator/ a phone operator/ a switchboard operator

A person who operates switch boards

Could you please phone the operator to find out?

The cord

Wire made of twisted threads that connects the handset to the device.

Cords tangle when users pick up a phone with one hand, transfer to the other hand to listen, then return the handset to the device.

The dial

That part of a device that shows you a measurement of something such as speed or time.

Can you read what it says on the dial ?

The dial (tone)

A continuous sound when the receiver is picked up that signifies the line is in order.

Wait for the dial tone to begin pressing the number keys.

The extension

The required specific code to call a foreign country.

I need to make a call to India. Do you know what the extension is ?

The line is busy/ engaged

There is already someone else phoning this person so the latter can’t be reached.

You’ll have to try again later as the line is busy/engaged.

The receiver

The receiver is the person or individual to whom a message is directed. It could also refer to the telephone device (handset) of a person receiving the message or the person dialing a number.

Could you please pick the receiver and keep it down? I am not in a position to answer calls.

The voice mail

An automated telephone system that enables people to record and send messages when a person is unavailable, or a default message recorded by a person to suggest to the caller that he/she is not reachable.

If I am unable to answer you, leave your message on my voice mail and I will communicate with you as soon as possible.

To be on the phone

To be on line and talking with someone.

The project is really hard and tiring because you have to coordinate with people and be on the phone non-stop.

To be/get cut off

To be interrupted in the middle of a phone call.

Due to poor network, we were cut off.

To call back someone

To make a second, third, Xth call to someone you’ve already phoned but didn’t get.

He is not available so call him back later.

To contact someone on an extension

To dial the shorter internal number to phone a colleague.

To go faster, they contacted him on his extension (number).

To dial a number

To call someone with the help of the number keys on the telephone system.

Could you please dial a number for me? I need to make a call asap.

To get/receive a message

To have on your desk or at the front desk a message being written to you.

The manager got all his messages thanks to his personal assistant.

To hold the line

To stay connected while you’re on the line.

Please hold the line and I’ll you you through to the accounting department.

To put through to someone

To transfer a call to a person.

The sales department is available so I’ll put you through to its representative.

To reach someone

To manage to have someone on the phone.

Unfortunately, I can’t reach her so I’ll have to call her back.

To ring someone

To phone someone.

Could you please ring her on her cell phone?

To take a message

To take notes for someone who is absent so that he/she has them when he/she is back.

Secretary are trained to take messages.

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