Telephone words – vocabulary mind map

Time for a new mind map. This one focuses on the vocabulary of phones and phoning.

The mind map has four sections. Three sections contain the nouns used to talk about and describe phones and phone numbers. The fourth section has a collection of verb collocations for talking about phone calls.

You can view the mind map on Popplet or click the button below to download the image file.

DOWNLOAD

After you have done that, test your knowledge with this short quiz. The answers are at the end of the blog post.

Quiz

Questions 1 – Verb collocations

Which of these verbs form collocations with the words ‘a call’?

    1. make
    2. miss
    3. do
    4. get
    5. take
    6. put
    7. hang up
    8. give

Question 2 – Common mistakes

Each of these sentences contains a common mistake. Identify and correct each mistake.

  1. I have to call to my colleagues in Italy.
  2. I’ll put you through my boss.
  3. Your client called earlier. Can you call back him?
  4. In my job, I do a lot of calls with customers.

Question 3 – part of a phone

Match these words to the parts of the phone.

  1. earpiece
  2. screen
  3. keypad
  4. handset
  5. call button

 

 

Now check the answers to see if you were right.

Answers

Question 1

make a call

miss a call

get a call

take a call

give someone a call

Question 2

  1. I have to call my colleagues in Italy.
  2. I’ll put you through to my boss.
  3. Can you call him back?
  4. In my job, I make a lot of calls to customers.

Question 3

  1. earpiece (b)
  2. screen (c)
  3. keypad (d)
  4. handset (a)
  5. call button (e)

 

Other telephone language

Here is some other blogs posts focusing on English for making phone calls.

Checking and clarifying on the phone – 1

Checking and clarifying on the phone – 2

Spellng words with the International Radio Alphabet


 

If you have any questions about the mind map, leave a comment below.

Do you need to practise speaking English on the telephone? Send us a message.

 

Checking and clarifying – test yourself

There are two aspects to successful communication. The first is making yourself understood. The second is understanding the other person. In order to be a good communicator in English, you need to develop both.

So, when you are speaking in English with somebody you should check and be clear that you understand correctly. This even more important when you can’t see the other person’s face, such as on the telephone.

in January we published a video demonstrating how to use checking and clarifying phrases on the telephone.

Here’s a simple interactive exercise you can use to test yourself or review the language from the video. It’s an easy game, click on the ? symbol to see the instructions.


If you have any questions about this exercise, leave a comment below.

Do you need to practise speaking English on the telephone? Send us a message.

 

Socialising and networking in English

Networking in English by Pete Sharma and Barney BarrettOne of the most common reasons people need to improve their English is so they can socialise and network with other people. In the business world, these other people are colleagues, customers and clients – both current and future.

Barney and his regular collaborator, Pete Sharma, wrote a book called Networking in English. It is full of language and advice about how to be a more effective networker.

In the introduction to the book, Pete and Barney list nine skills a language student needs to be a good socialiser and communicator in social situations.

  1. You are able to express yourself fairly fluently.
  2. You have the vocabulary to speak about a range of topics.
  3. You have reasonably accurate basic grammar.
  4. You have fairly good listening skills, and have strategies to deal with problems like listening to fast speech and catching the main message.
  5. You have a knowledge of the same kinds of communication strategies used by good native speaker communicators, such as an understanding of non-verbal communication.
  6. You know the typical forms of interaction in various social situations, such as in a restaurant, and can use a good range of appropriate and useful phrases.
  7. You speak with clear pronunciation.
  8. You are sensitive to cultural differences between you and people from other parts of the world.

(From Networking in English, Barrett and Sharma (Macmillan: 2010)

How would you rate yourself for each of these skills? Be honest. Many people speaking English for business can talk with confidence about their companies, products and services but do not have enough vocabulary to make small talk. Some people are able to talk and talk and talk but find it difficult to understand when other people are talking, especially at noisy social events. Other people find socialising with people from other countries and cultures stressful because they are unsure about differences in acceptable behaviour.

Here are a few videos and activities you can use to test or develop your knowledge and skills.

Making contact

Airport conversationListen to two conversations between people meeting each other in social situations. They use a lot of standard phrases. Notice the questions they ask and the answers they give. Think about the questions and answers you would give in the same situation.

 

The rules of small talk

The Rules of Making Small talk in English videoThe rules of small talk are simple and easy to remember but how do you apply them in English? Watch our video. Notice how the people in the video respond in the wrong way. Pause the video and think about how you would reply before seeing the answer we gave.

 

Stratford Teachers pub quiz

Everywhere you go in the world, the restaurants of France, the cafés of Italy, the diners of America, the hawker centres of Singapore and the pubs of Britain, there are rules and vocabulary unique to those places that are ‘natural’ to local people but confusing to visitors from other countries.

Try our short quiz about the vocabulary used in British pubs, what it means and how we use it. What vocabulary and advice would you give to a visitor to your country?

 

Of course, the best way to build up your socialising and networking in English skills is to practise with a teacher who can give you instant correction and advice.

Contact us to find out how we can help you become a better, more effective and more confident socialiser and communicator in social situations.

 

 

Checking and clarifying on the phone

Business English - Talking on the phone

Speaking on the phone can be more challenging than speaking face to face. You don’t always hear exactly what the other person said.

In order to avoid misunderstandings, it’s important to check and be clear you understand correctly.

In our first video of 2018, Louise and Simon play Kate and Tony, two colleagues making a phone call.

The first part of the video shows what can happen when there is a misunderstanding on the phone. The second part shows you how to use a set of phrases for checking and clarifying to make sure you understand.

 

Video by Barney

 

Here are the checking and clarifying phrases they use in their phone call.

Sorry, Kate could you say that again, please?
Sorry, Tony. I didn’t catch that. Could you say it again, please?
Sorry, did you say ten thirty or two thirty?
Sorry. I can’t hear you , Kate. Can you speak up a little?

 

Was this useful for you? Watch our videos and download information about using the International Radio Alphabet to spell words over the phone.

UPDATE (24/03/2018) You can now test your knowledge of the checking and clarifying phrases with this interactive exercise.


If you have any questions about this video, leave a comment below.

Do you need to practise speaking English on the telephone? Send us a message.

Describing a product

WD external hard drive
How would you describe this product?

Does your company manufacture products? Do you have to talk to customers about those products?

How do you describe a product?

One way is to start with the questions that customer might ask about the product.

Watch our video. We ask and answer questions about a common piece of computer equipment. At the end we put the answers together to create a short, clear description of that product.


Now test yourself

Here’s information about another product. See if you can make a question for each piece of information and then write down the answers to create the product description. The answers are at the bottom of this page.

Information

Steam iron

Product type steam iron
Dimensions 275mm x 117mm x 150mm, 550gms
 For use with silk, nylon, wool, cotton, linen
 Country of origin China
 Price €30

 

Answers

These are some suggested answers.

What’s this? It’s a steam iron.
What do you use it for? You use it to iron or press clothes.
How big is it? It’s 275mm long, 117mm wide and 150mm tall.
What does it weigh? It weighs 550 grams.
What materials can you use with it? You can use it with silk, nylon, wool, cotton and linen.
What’s it made of? It’s made of metal and plastic.
Where was it made? It was made in China.
How much does it cost? It costs €30.

 

How well did you do? Did you make any other questions and answers? Use the comment box and share them with us.


Do you need to expand your business English vocabulary? Contact us to talk about it.

 

Lose your job – vocabulary mind map

Last week’s Words making the headlines looked at the vocabulary of losing your job.

This week we have a vocabulary mind map on the same topic. It’s divided into three reasons for losing your job. Those are then split into verbs (blue boxes) and nouns (pink boxes) with an example sentence to illustrate each one.

You can see the mind map on the Popplet website or download an image file.

DOWNLOAD

lose your job - vocabulary mind map

We also have mind maps of Internet vocabulary and vocabulary for talking about trade.


Do you need to expand your English vocabulary? Contact us to talk how we can help.

 

Words making the headlines – lose your job

P45
You receive a P45 document from the tax office in the UK when you leave your job

This week the Bank of England forecast that 75,000 people working in the banking sector in the UK could lose their jobs. This is because many financial services companies are making plans to leave London to avoid the impact of Brexit.

Lose your job is just one of the many ways of saying that a company has stopped employing you. If a company decides they don’t need you any more, they make you redundant, lay you off or let you go.

Grammar is important here. If we focus on the actions of the company, we use the active voice:

“The bank made 2,500 people redundant when it closed its High Street branches.”

If we focus on the person affected, we use the passive voice:

“I was laid off by the insurance company at the start of the year.”

We use a different set of words if you lose your job because of something you did. For example, if you broke the company rules or broke the law. The formal word is dismiss. However, there are lots of slang terms: fire, sack, get the sack, get given your marching orders.1

So, the company report might say:

“Barry Johnson was dismissed for stealing from the Production Department.”

But Barry would probably say:

“I was fired for nicking2 stuff from work.”

Nobody likes to be made redundant and we all hope we’ll never get the sack. However, there’s one day many of us will welcome. That’s the day when we reach the age that we can retire and don’t have to go to work anymore.


Practise your listening. Click on play to hear Barney reading this text.

DOWNLOAD


1
In the US they also say terminate. However, in the UK this word makes us think of the Arnold Schwarzenegger film so we associate it with something much worse than losing your job.

2
To nick is a British slang term which means to steal something.


Find more Words making the headlines.

If you would like to suggest a word from the news for future blog posts, please use the comment box.

Do you need to expand your English vocabulary? Contact us to talk about it.