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Making And Handling Telephone Calls

What's in this post? A. Useful Expressions B. Example Dialogues A. Useful Expressions Receiving a call Hello / good morning / good afte...

October 11, 2021

Making And Handling Telephone Calls

A. Useful Expressions
Receiving a call
  • Hello / good morning / good afternoon.
  • Good morning, ...(your institution)....
  • Hello. Dea speaking.
  • Yes, can I help you?
  • Oh, hi! It's been a long time. How are you?
Starting a call (caller)
  • Hello / good morning / good afternoon.
  • May I speak to ...(someone)..., please?
  • Could I speak to ...(someone)..., please?
  • I'd like to speak to ...(someone)....
Telling identity
  • This is ...(your name)... speaking.
  • ...(your name)... speaking.
  • I'm calling on behalf of ...(company)....
  • ...(someone)... told me to contact you.
Asking identity
  • Who's calling, please?
  • Who's speaking?
  • May I have your name?
  • Who am I speaking to?
  • Is that ...(someone)...?
  • Can I ask who’s calling?
We don’t use "Are you ...?"to find out who is on the other end of the phone.
We can ask "Is that Anne?", not "Are you Anne?"

Asking to wait
  • Hold the line, please.
  • Could you hold on?
  • Just a moment, please.
  • Please wait a minute.
  • The line is free now. I'll put you through.
  • Thank you for holding.
Giving information
  • I'm sorry. He/she is not available at the moment.
  • I'm afraid the line is engaged. Could you call back later?
  • I'm afraid he's still in a meeting.
  • I'm sorry. He's out of the office today.
  • I'm sorry. There's nobody here by that name.
  • Sorry. I think you have dialled the wrong number.
Leaving a message
  • I'd like to leave a message.
  • Please tell him that I will meet him next week.
  • Please tell him that I called.
  • That's alright. I'll call back later.
  • Yes. Please tell him to contact me.
Taking a message
  • Would you like to leave a message?
  • Do you have a message?
  • May I take a message?
  • May I have your number?
  • Let me repeat your message. ...(repeat the message and confirm the details, e.g. place, time, telephone number, etc.)
Asking to repeat
  • I'm sorry. Could you speak up, please?
  • Could you repeat that, please?
  • I'm afraid I can't hear you.
  • I'm sorry. I didn't catch that. Come again?
  • I beg your pardon. The line is very bad.
Closing a call
  • Thank you. Bye.
B. Example Dialogues
Dialogue 1
Dave phones Vicki’s number to see if Nigel’s there.
DAVE: Hello, could I speak to Vicki?
VICKI: Speaking.
DAVE: Oh, hello Vicki – I didn’t recognise your voice. It’s Dave.
VICKI: Hi, Dave. How’s things?
DAVE: Not bad, thanks. Listen, I don’t suppose Nigel’s there, is he?
VICKI: No – but I’m expecting him round later on.
DAVE: OK – could you get him to ring me back?
VICKI: Of course. Can you give me your number?
DAVE: I think he’s got it, but let me give you it now just in case.
VICKI: Hang on – let me get a pen . . . OK.
DAVE: Six-seven-nine-oh-four-oh-four. Got that?
VICKI: Got it!

Dialogue 2
Handling Telephone Calls
Julie’s phone rings, and she answers.
JULIE: 247649.
TERRY: Ah, hello. Could I speak to Jim, please?
TERRY: Yes, Jim Fife. Is he there?
JULIE: I’m afraid there isn’t anyone here by that name. Who am I speaking to?
TERRY: This is Terry Smith. Isn’t that Marilyn’s house?
JULIE: No – you’ve got the wrong number.
TERRY: Ah – I’m sorry.
JULIE: Quite all right.

Dialogue 3
Cynthia phones to speak to Bob at work. But she gets through to his secretary.
CYNTHIA: Hello, it’s Cynthia Palmer here. Can I speak to Bob Watford please?
SECRETARY: Hold on, I’ll see if he’s available .... Hello? I’m afraid Mr Watford’s in a meeting at the moment. Would you like to leave a message?
CYNTHIA: Yes – could you ask him to get back to me as soon as possible?
SECRETARY: Yes – has he got your number?
CYNTHIA: Yes, he has.
SECRETARY: Fine – I’ll make sure he calls you as soon as he gets out of the meeting.
CYNTHIA: Thanks.

Source: Colloquial English: A Course for Non-Native Speakers by Gareth King

September 09, 2021

Exercises: The Simple Past VS Present Perfect Tense (Intermediate)

Simple Past VS Present Perfect
n this post, we are going to do some exercises on contrasting the Simple Past with the Present Perfect tense. To learn about the differences between the Simple Past and the Present Perfect tense, read "Contrasting The Simple Past VS The Present Perfect Simple".

To learn more about both tenses separately, read "Simple Past Tense: Bentuk, Penggunaan, dan Latihan Soal" and "Present Perfect Tense: Bentuk, Penggunaan, dan Latihan Soal".

A. Use the words in brackets to answer the questions.
Man: "Has the package arrived?"
Woman: "Yes, ...(a few hours ago)...."
Answer: "Yes, it arrived a few hours ago."
  1. Man: "Have you seen Bob?"
    Woman: "Yes, ...(a few minutes ago)...."
  2. Woman: "Have you started your new job?"
    Man: "Yes, ...(last week)...."
  3. Man: "Have you had lunch?"
    Woman: "Yes, ...(an hour ago)...."
  4. Man: "Have you submitted the report?"
    Woman: "...(yesterday)...."
  5. Man: "Have they contacted you?"
    Woman: "...(on Monday)...."
B. Right or wrong? Correct the underlined verbs if they are wrong.
  • I've lost my key. I can't find it.
    Answer: RIGHT
  • Have you seen Bob yesterday?
    Answer: WRONG: Did you see Bob yesterday?
  1. I've finished my work at 2 o'clock.
  2. I'm ready now. I've finished my work at 2 o'clock.
  3. What time have you finished your work?
  4. Sue isn't here. She's gone out.
  5. Jim's grandfather has died in 2009.
  6. Where have you been last night?
  7. I have started my carreer as a teacher in 2002.
  8. I have worked as a teacher for more than 20 years.
  9. Laila left a few minutes ago.
  10. The letter hasn't arrived yesterday.
C. Put the verbs in the simple past or present perfect.
  • I ...(lose)... my key. I can't find it.
    Answer: I've lost my key. I can't find it.
  • We ...(not have)... a holiday last year.
    Answer: We didn't have a holiday last year.
  1. My friend is a writer. He ...(write)... many books.
  2. I ...(play)... tennis yesterday afternoon.
  3. What time ...(you/go)... to bed last night?
  4. ...(you/ever/meet)... a famous person?
  5. The weather ...(not/be)... very good yesterday.
  6. My hair is wet. I ...(just wash)... it.
  7. I ...(wash)... my hair before breakfast this morning.
  8. Kathy travels a lot. She ...(visit)... many countries.
  9. Sonia isn't here. She ...(not/come)... yet.
  10. We ...(live)... in Malang for two years but now we live in Jember.
  11. Man: "Have you ever been to Bali?"
    Woman: "Yes, we ...(go)... there on holiday last year.
  12. Man: "Where's Tika?"
    Woman: "I don't know. I ...(not see)... her.
  13. Lia works in an office. She ...(work)... there for almost two years.
  14. I ...(meet)... your sister at a party last week. She's very nice.
  15. I ...(wait)... here since seven o'clock and she ...(not come)... yet.
  16. I ...(look)... at this picture for five minutes, but I can't see you in it.
  17. COVID-19 outbreak ...(start)... in early 2020.
  18. Since then, the government ...(take)... various measures to stop the spread of the virus.
  19. The World Health Organization ...(declare)... COVID-19 a pandemic in March 2020.
  20. ...(you/see)... a good movie lately?
Want to practice more? Try to do another exercise on contrasting the Simple Past with the Present Perfect tense HERE.

August 25, 2021

Some VS Any: Exercises

fter studying the difference between "some" and "any" and how to use them HERE, do the following exercises.
A. Fill in the blanks with "some" or "any".
Some VS Any
  1. I bought ... cheese but I didn't buy ... bread.
  2. I am going to the shop. We need ... sugar.
  3. There aren't ... shops in this part of town.
  4. Rio and Hannah haven't got ... children.
  5. Have you got ... brothers or sisters?
  6. There are ... beautiful flowers in the garden.
  7. Do you know ... good hotels in Malang?
  8. Would you like ... tea? I've just made ....
  9. When we were on holiday, we visited ... very interesting places.
  10. Don't buy ... rice. We don't need ....
  11. I went out to buy ... milk but they didn't have ... in the shop.
  12. I'm thirsty. Can I have ... water, please?
  13. Can you give ... information about places of interests in the town?
  14. I was too tired to do ... work.
  15. Man: "Have you seen ... good films recently?"
    Woman: "No, I haven't been to the cinema for ages."
B. Complete the sentences with "some" or "any" + one of these words.
air   cheese   help   emails   photographs   batteries   friends   languages   milk   shampoo
  1. I want to wash my hair. Is there ...?
  2. We have received ... from buyers complaining about the product.
  3. I haven't got my camera, so I can't take ....
  4. Do you speak ... foreign ...?
  5. Yesterday evening I went to a restaurant with ... of mine.
  6. Can I have ... in my coffee, please?
  7. The flashlight isn't working. There aren't ... in it.
  8. It's hot in this office. I'm going out for ... fresh ....
  9. Man: "Would you like ...?"
    Woman: "No, thank you. I've had enough to eat."
  10. I can do this job alone. I don't need ....
C. Complete the sentences. Use "some" or "any" and the correct form of the verb in the brackets. Number 1 and 2 has been done as an example.
  1. Ann didn't take any photographs but I took some. (I/take)
  2. Man: "Where's your luggage?"
    Woman: "Oh, I haven't got any/I don't have any." (I/not/have)
  3. Woman: "This coffee is too bitter for me. Can I have some sugar?"
    Man: "Yes, ... in the kitchen. (we/have)
  4. Man: "Do you need any money?"
    Woman: "No, thank you. .... (I/have)
  5. Man: "Can you lend me some money?"
    Woman: "I'm sorry but .... (I/not/have)
  6. The tomatoes in the shop didn't look very good so ....(I/not/buy)
  7. There were some nice oranges in the shop so .... (I/buy)
Study and review how to use "some" and "any" and the differences HERE Reference:
  • Murphy, Raymond Essential Grammar In Use. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.
  • Prev: How to Educate ESL Students, Tue 04232013 0755PM PV 397

    August 21, 2021

    Some VS Any: What's The Difference?

    Some VS Any
    n this post, you are going to learn how to use "some" and "any" quantifiers and how they are different. Read the dialogue below in which there are sentences with "some" and "any" quantifiers. Pay close attention to how "some" and "any" are used.
    A. Example Dialogue
    Raka is visiting Hadi and his mother, Mrs. Wira, after school. Here's their conversation:
    Mrs. Wira:Do you have any homework today, Hadi?
    Hadi:Oh, I forget. But I think we don't have any homework today. I'm glad. I don't like homework.
    Mrs. Wira:I know you don't like it, but - are you sure you don't have any homework?
    Raka:I think we have some homework, Hadi. Yes! We must write an English exercise!
    Hadi:Oh, Raka!
    Raka:Look - this is the exercise.
    Hadi:Yes. I remember now.
    Mrs. Wira:Well, you'd better start your homework now.
    Hadi:Yes .... Oh, I don't have any paper.
    Mrs. Wira:Here's some paper. Do you have a pen?
    Hadi:Yes. Oh, my pen is out of ink, and I don't have any spare pens.
    Mrs. Wira:Oh, dear! Raka, do you have a spare pen?
    Raka:Yes, Mrs. Wira.
    Mrs. Wira:Good. Please lend it to Hadi.
    Raka:Here you are, Hadi.
    Hadi:Thank you.
    Mrs. Wira:Now, Hadi, you have some paper and a pen. Now you can write that exercise.
    Hadi:There! That's finished now.
    Mrs. Wira:Let me see it, Hadi. Hmmm, you have some mistakes here, I think.
    Hadi:Do I? Where?
    Mrs. Wira:Look at this sentence. That isn't correct. Can you improve it?
    Hadi:Oh, yes! I remember the correct words now. I must change that sentence.
    Mrs. Wira:Let me see your exercise, Raka.
    Raka:Oh, Mrs. Wira, I think I have some mistakes too.
    Mrs. Wira:No, no, Raka. This is very good. You don't have any mistakes in this exercise.
    Hadi:Raka usually doesn't make any mistakes. But I always make some. Please look at this sentence again, Mom. Is it correct now?
    Mrs. Wira:Yes, I think so, Hadi. I don't see any mistakes now.
    Mrs. Wira:Well, would you like something to drink now?
    Hadi and Raka:Yes,please.
    Mrs. Wira:Good. Let's have some lemonade. .... Oh, I don't have any lemonade, but we can have some tea!
    B. Explanation
    1. "Some" is used in positive sentences. Examples:
      1. I'm going to buy some books.
      2. There's some ice in the fridge.
      3. We did some exercises.
    2. "Any" is used in negative sentences. Examples:
      1. I'm not going to buy any books.
      2. There isn't any ice in the fridge.
      3. We didn't do any exercises.
    3. Most questions (but not all) use "any". Examples:
      1. Is there any ice in the fridge?
      2. Do you have any money?
      3. Why didn't you do any exercises?
    4. When we make offers or requests, we normally use "some", not "any". Examples:
      1. Would you like some ice cream?
      2. Can I have some coffee, please?
      3. Can you lend me some money?
    5. We can use "some" and "any" without a noun. Examples:
      1. I didn't take any photographs, but Ann took some. (=some photographs)
      2. I've just made some coffee. Would you like some? (=some coffee)
      3. We don't have any sugar. I'm going to buy some this afternoon. (=some sugar)
    To check your understanding about the difference between "some" and "any", proceed to the exercise page HERE.
  • Murphy, Raymond Essential Grammar In Use. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.
  • August 16, 2021

    Factual Reports About Covid-19

    Reading text 1

    Covid in Indonesia

    Covid-19 Covid-19 or Coronavirus Disease-2019 is an infectious disease caused by a new virus called SARS-Cov-2. This disease was first identified in Wuhan, China, in the end of 2019. The virus widely spread over many countries and then in March 2020, WHO declared Covid-19 a pandemic.

    This disease attacks respiratory system. Covid-19 also makes infected people experience several symptoms. The common symptoms are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some also experience aches, sore throat, diarrhea, conjunctivitis, headache, and loss of taste or smell. More serious symptoms are shortness of breath, chest pain, and loss of speech. However, there are many who do not experience symptoms.

    It takes about 5-6 days for the symptoms to show. However, the incubation period takes 14 days. People who have mild to moderate illness may recover without hospitalization. Meanwhile, those who experience serious symptoms have to seek medical attention. The virus spreads through droplets when infected people sneeze or cough. Therefore, WHO recommends us to prevent infection by wearing a mask, washing hands regularly with soap and water, avoiding touching the face, covering our mouth and nose while sneezing or coughing, staying at home, and practicing physical distancing.

    Questions A:
    1. What does "COVID-19" stand for?
    2. When and where was the disease first identified?
    3. What are the common symptoms of the disease?
    4. What happens in more serious cases?
    5. How long does it take for the symptoms to show?
    6. How long is the common incubation period?
    7. How does the virus spread?
    8. How can we prevent the disease according to WHO?

    Reading text 2


    Covid-19 is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered virus namely SARS-Cov-2. This virus first appeared in Wuhan, China and eventually spread into many countries, including Indonesia.

    In Indonesia, the first case of Covid-19 was reported on March 2, 2020. After WHO declaring Covid-19 a pandemic, activities such as working and studying have been done in homes.

    However, the number of novel coronavirus cases kept growing. By the end of March 2020, the total case of the disease had reached 1528 cases. To respond to this pandemic, UNICEF has been leading efforts with governments, the World Health Organization and other partners.

    The President also issued regulations regarding the pandemic, including Government Regulation No. 21/2020 which regulates a large-scale social restrictions (PSBB, now PPKM) and has been implemented in coordination and collaboration with various parties, in accordance with statutory provisions.

    Questions B:
    1. According to the text, what virus causes Covid-19?
    2. When was the first case of Covid-19 identified in Indonesia?
    3. How many cases had been identified by the end of March 2020?
    4. What did United Nations' organizations do to deal with the pandemic?
    5. What did the President do to respond to the pandemic?
    6. What is Government Regulation No. 21/2020 about?
    Adapted from

    August 03, 2021

    Conditional Sentence Type 0 And Type 1

    Conditional Sentence Type 0 And Type 1
    reviously in our earlier post, we have learned about all types of Conditional sentences, i.e. type 0, 1, 2, 3, and mixed conditionals, including their usage or functions, examples, and exercises as well.

    In this post, we are going to focus and take a closer look at Conditional sentence type 0 and type 1.

    Conditional sentence type 0

  • If / when ...(Simple Present)..., ...(Simple Present)....
  • If / when ...(Simple Present)..., ...(Imperative)....
  • Usage / function:
    • Conditional sentences in "If / when ...(Simple Present)..., ...(Simple Present)..." can be used to express general truths / facts. (see examples a and b below)
    • Conditional sentences in "If / when ...(Simple Present)..., ...(Imperative)...." can be used to express suggestions, instructions, or commands. (see examples c and d below)
    1. If the moon passes between the sun and Earth, a solar eclipse happens.
    2. If we heat water to 100 degrees Celsius, it boils.
    3. If you arrive at the station, call me.
    4. If you want to turn on the device, press this button.

    Conditional sentence type 1

    If ...(Simple Present)..., ...(Simple Future / Modals)....
    Usage / function:
    Conditional sentences in "If / when ...(Simple Present)..., ...(Simple Future / Modals)..." can be used to express;
    • reminders (see examples a and b below)
    • suggestions (see examples c and d below)
    1. If you eat too much, you will get a stomachache.
    2. If you don't shut that window, we will die of cold.
    3. If we want to see the sunrise, we will have to leave very early.
    4. If you want to buy that car, you should provide a bigger garage.
    A. Match the sentences on the left with the ones on the right. Number 1 has been done for you as an example.
    If you need help,somebody will open the door.
    If we keep ice in a hot temperature,they will get wet.
    If you fail the exam,let's go for a swim.
    If you ring the bell,it melts.
    If it rains,consult your advisor.
    If it is fine,you'll need to take a remedial test.
    1. If you need help, consult your advisor.
    2. ....
    3. ....
    4. ....
    5. ....
    6. ....
    B. Write correct conditional sentences by putting the verbs in the bracket into the correct form. In some sentences, conditional sentence type 0 and 1 can be used interchangeably. Number 1 has been done as an example.
    1. If I get a ticket, I (go) to the concert.
      Answer: If I get a ticket, I will go to the concert.
    2. If we have time, we (visit) you.
      Answer: ....
    3. If you don't watch the TV, (turn) it off.
      Answer: ....
    4. If the weather is fine, we (go) to the beach.
      Answer: ....
    5. If you want those pictures, I (send) you the copies.
      Answer: ....
    6. If you don't feel well, (stay) at home.
      Answer: ....
    C. Complete the following conditional sentences using your own ideas and words.
    1. If you pass the exam, ....
    2. If I finish my study, ....
    3. If you want to have it, ....
    4. If you have a question, ....
    5. If the weather is fine this afternoon, ....
    You can also study the lesson about conditional sentences type 0 and type 1 through the slide presentation attached below.

    March 28, 2021

    How to Make and Respond to an Offer

    Making an Offer
    n our daily life, there are occassions where we feel that we should offer help, a service, or something to friends, work colleagues, or other people in order to be polite, kind and friendly. We do that for a social purpose, to maintain and improve good relationships with people around us. Offering help or something can be a great way to show them that we care and appreciate them. Now, if you’re not sure what to say when you want to make an offer in English, don’t worry. Below you’ll find common expressions you can use in making and responding to an offer.
    A. Making an Offer
    How to make an offer
    GambitsExample Sentence
    Shall I ...?
  • Shall I close the door?
  • Shall I turn on the lights?
  • Can I ...?
  • Can I help you?
  • Can I show you how to do it?
  • Would you like ...?
  • Would you like some tea?
  • Would you like a cup of coffee?
  • Would you like me to carry it?
  • How about ...?
  • How about some tea?
  • How about going to the beach?
  • What about ...?
  • What about some drink?
  • What about going to the beach?
  • Do you want me to ...?
  • Do you want me to carry it?
  • Do you want me to type it?
  • I'll ..., if you like.
  • I'll do it, if you like.
  • I'll make you some tea, if you like.
  • Also read "Offering and Asking for a Favor or Help" HERE

    Making an offer is different from giving advice and suggestion. Learn "Asking For, Giving, and Responding to Advice and Suggestions" HERE
    B. Responding to an Offer
    To accept or refuse an offer, you can use one of the following expressions.
    How to respond to an offer
    Accepting an OfferRefusing an Offer
  • Yes please.
  • Yes please. That's very kind of you.
  • Yes please, that would be lovely.
  • Yes please, that would be great.
  • Yes please, I’d love one.
  • If you wouldn’t mind.
  • If you could.
  • Thank you. I'd appreciate that.
  • No, thanks.
  • No, thank you.
  • It’s OK. I'll do it.
  • Don't worry. I can do it myself.
  • C. Example Dialogue
    Read and practice the dialogue between two friends, which contains offers and responses to offers, below.
    English Dialogue: Making and Responding to Offers
    Andy:Good afternoon, Anne.
    Anne:Good afternoon, Andy. How are you?
    Andy:I'm very well, thank you, Anne. How are you?
    Anne:I'm well, thank you. I'm glad that you feel well again.
    Andy:Yes, I don't have a cold now. My head isn't aching, and I'm not coughing, and I'm not sneezing.
    Anne:That's wonderful! Andy, afternoon tea is ready now. Would you like some tea?
    Andy:Oh yes, please, Anne.
    Anne:Would you like to sit here, Andy?
    Andy:Yes. Aah, this chair feels comfortable.
    Anne:Here's your tea.
    Andy:Thank you.
    Anne:Would you like some sugar, Andy?
    Andy:Yes, please Anne.
    Anne:I think your tea is very strong. Is it too strong?
    Andy:No, no, Anne. It's very good. I don't like weak tea. I like strong tea.
    Anne:Oh, I don't. I like weak tea. Would you like a biscuit, Andy? Or a piece of cake?
    Andy:I'd like some cake, please, Anne. Mmmmmm, it's lovely!
    Anne:Is it good? It's home-made.
    Andy:Really? Oh, you're a very good cook, Anne. Do you often make cakes?
    Anne:Yes, I do. Oh, but your cup is empty now. Would you like some more tea, Andy?
    Andy:No, thank you, Anne. But I have a cigarette here. I think I'll have a cigarette. Would you mind if I smoked?
    Anne:Not at all, Andy. Please do. But I think you should stop your smoking habit.
    Andy:Oh dear, where's my lighter? I can't find it.
    Anne:There it is, under the chair. You may have dropped it.
    Andy:Oh thank you, Anne.
    Anne:Where's Linda today? Is she at home?
    Andy:No, she isn't, Anne. She's visiting some friends.
    Anne:Oh, but she has a cold! She should stay at home.
    Andy:No, she doesn't have a cold now. She's well again.
    Anne:That's good.
    Andy:Yes, it's good. When she's sick, I make tea for her - and I always do something wrong!
    Anne:Oh, poor Andy. But now she's well, and she makes tea for you.
    Anne:Well, I hope you don't get another cold!
    Andy:Yes, I hope so.
    Anne:I'm sure you catch colds because you smoke much. Smoking decreases your immune system.
    Andy:You're right. I've read about that too.
    Anne:So, why don't you try to quit smoking and start living a healthy life?
    Andy:I'm thinking about it. Linda doesn't like my smoking either.
    Anne:I bet.
    "Would you like" is different from "Do you like". Learn the difference HERE

    D. Exercise
    1. Read the above dialogue again and identify all offers and the responses you can find, then write them in the table below. Number 1 has been done as an example.
    2. Identify all offers and the responses you can find in the dialogue and write them.
      OfferingResponding to an offer
      1. Would you like some tea?

      Oh yes, please.
      2. ........
      3. ........
      4. ........
      5. ........
    3. Write polite offers using the expressions and gambits you have learned. Look at the example.
      1. Some bread?
        Answer: Would you like some bread?
      2. go to the beach?
        Answer: How about going to the beach? / Would you like to go to the beach?
      3. try our new dish?
      4. some candies?
      5. use my umbrella?
      6. give you a lift?
      7. try to repair your printer?
    4. Write an appropriate polite response for each of the following situations.
      1. Your teacher is carrying a pile of books. You offer to help her with it.
      2. Your colleague is printing a very important document. Suddenly, her printer broke down. You offer her to print the document using your printer.
      3. You are receiving a call from someone who wants to speak to your manager, but your manager is not available. You offer him/her to leave a message or call back later.
      4. The commuter train is full when an elderly woman gets on and she can't find a seat. You offer your seat to her.
      5. You are a shop assistant at a fashion store. You are serving a customer who does not seem satisfied with the dress she has just tried on. You offer another style of dress.
    Also read:

    March 23, 2021

    Imperative Sentences and Polite Requests in English

    Imperative Sentences and Polite Requests
    e make a request, or give an instruction or an order when we are asking for something to be given or done, especially as a favor or courtesy. We make and receive requests, orders, or instructions in our daily life, whether we are at home, at school, at work, or even at public places.

    Therefore, it is essential to understand how to make requests, commands, or instructions, and how to respond to them appropriately. The ability in using polite forms in making requests and responding appropriately plays a very important role in presenting ourself in daily interactions. When we are polite, we appear gracious, agreeable, acceptable, and pleasant.

    The imperatives or imperative sentences are used for giving orders and instructions, making suggestions, and encouraging people to do things. We can make imperative sentences by using exactly the same form as the infinitive without to, e.g. open, close, clean, do, write, read, etc.. Look at the underlined verbs in the example sentences below:
    • Fill out this form.
    • Open the windows.
    • Sleep well.
    Remember the following important points when making an imperative sentence.
    1. A subject can be used for making it clear who is being spoken to, with no change in verbs (infinitives), e.g.:
      • Jim come here.
      • Somebody open the door!
      • You get out! ("You" before an imperative usually suggests anger)
    2. To make it more polite and emphatic, "Do" can be used before the infinitive, e.g.
      • Do sit down.
      • Do forgive me.
      • Do be quiet.
    3. Negative imperatives, as in prohibitions or warnings, are constructed with "do not" or "don’t", e.g.
      • Don’t be noisy.
      • Don’t blame me.
      • Do not lean out of the window.
    4. "Always" and "never" can be used before imperatives, e.g.
      • Always remember to smile.
      • Never be late to class.
      • Always make sure the PC is off before leaving.
    5. Passive imperatives can be constructed with "get" and "be", e.g.
      • Get vaccinated as soon as you can.
      • Get dressed quickly.
      • Please be advised that your tax has been overdue.
    6. "Please" makes the imperatives sound more polite, e.g.
      • Please don't tell her about it.
      • Please turn the music down.
      • Please make sure the PC is off before leaving.
    Polite requests can be constructed using modals, e.g. can, could, will, would, and sound more polite and softer than commands. To make requests sound even more polite, "please" can be used at the end of the sentence. Look at the following structure:
    Could you + Infinitive (Verb 1) (please)?
    Would you + Infinitive (Verb 1) (please)?
    Can you + Infinitive (Verb 1) (please)?
    Will you + Infinitive (Verb 1) (please)?
    Would you mind + Present Participle (Verb-ing)?
    Look at the following examples:
  • Can you turn down the TV?
  • Could you leave the door open, please?
  • Will you send the email as soon as possible, please?
  • Would you keep the bedroom clean?
  • Would you mind washing the car after using it?
  • Would you mind not closing the door?
  • Note when making a request:
    1. "Can / Could / Will / Would you" is always followed by the infinitive (Verb 1), e.g.:
      • Can you come here, please?
      • Could you stay where you are?
      • Will you tell him to come?
    2. "Could / Would you ...?" and "Would you mind ...?" makes the request sound more polite and formal than "Can / Will you ...?", e.g.:
      • Would you open the door, please?
      • Would you write your name here, please?
      • Could you sign here, please?
    3. "Would you mind" is always followed by a gerund / noun (Verb-ing), e.g.
      • Would you mind turning the music down?
      • Would you mind taking care of my pet?
      • Would you mind telling her about it?
    4. "Please" makes our requests sound more polite, e.g.
      • Would you close the door, please?
      • Could you write your name here, please?
      • Will you not lean out of the window, please?
    "Would you mind ..." is different from "Would you like ...?"
    Learn more about "Would you like ...?" HERE
    Generally, we can agree to a polite request by giving positive invitations such as "Yes, certainly" or "Sure, no problem." However, there is a difference in meaning between requests using "Can/Could/Will/Would you ...?" and those using "Would you mind ...?". Therefore, the responses will be discussed separately.
    1. Accepting a request with "Will / Would / Can / Could you ...?"
      We can accept "Will / Would / Can / Could you ...?" requests by using positive invitations such as:
      • OK. I’ll do that
      • All right.
      • Oh, sure. I’d be glad to.
      • Sure ! No problem.
    2. Accepting a request with "Would you mind ...?"
      Accepting to "Would you mind ...?" requests with positive invitations may cause confusion as people may assume that you would mind and do not want to do it, unless we can clearly give our assent to the request by using positive body language, such as smiling agreeably. However, we can avoid confusion by using the following expressions:
      • No, not at all.
      • No, I don't mind at all.
      • No problem, go ahead.
      • No, please be my guest.
    1. Declining a request with "Will / Would / Can / Could you ...?"
      We can decline "Will / Would / Can / Could you ...?" requests politely by saying sorry and an excuse, or maybe an alternative. Here are some examples:
      • I’m sorry, I’m still busy.
      • Oh, sorry. I can’t do it right now. Maybe later.
      • Sorry, I wish I could. I have to ...(do something else)....
      • I'm sorry, I still don't have time.
    2. Declining a request with "Would you mind ...?"
      Declining "Would you mind ...?" requests should be done politely in order to avoid offence. It is better to provide a clear reason why the request cannot be fulfilled, and whenever possible, use positive body language, such as smiling agreeably. Here are some useful expressions:
      • Yes, certainly. ...(give an excuse / reason)....
      • Well, I have to ...(do something else)....
      • I'm sorry, ...(give an excuse / reason)....
    1. Change the following imperatives into polite requests using "Can/Could/Will/Would you ... (please)?". Number 1 has been done as an example.
      1. Open the door!
        Would you open the door, please?
      2. Pass me the sugar.
      3. Ask him in, please.
      4. Be quiet, please.
      5. Do me a favor, please.
      6. Listen to me.
    2. Change the following imperatives into polite requests using "Would you mind ...?". Number 1 has been done as an example.
      1. Wait a moment.
        Would you mind waiting a moment, please?
      2. Close the windows.
      3. Take off your hat.
      4. Help me, please.
      5. Turn off the music.
      6. Speak more slowly, please.
    More exercises? Read "Offering and Asking for a Favor or Help" HERE
    Fr082710 1134PM 95

    March 13, 2021

    Complaining: Dialogues And Exercises

    Complaining Dialogues And Exercises
    omplaints can be found in work situations, especially in a job which deals with servicing and meeting a lot of people on a daily basis. Here are some contextual example dialogues about complaints and how to handle them in various situations. Practice them and do the exercise.
    What expressions do you use in handling complaints? Read HERE
    How do you express your satisfaction or dissatisfaction? Read HERE
    Dialogue 1
    Woman:Good afternoon, can I help you?
    Man:I hope so. I bought this television here about three months ago, but the sound and picture quality are awful. The picture is always flickering and there's a dark line down the left-hand side of the screen. And there's an annoying hissing sound in the background.
    Woman:Do you have an outside aerial?
    Man:Yes, I do.
    Woman:Have you tried adjusting the aerial?
    Man:Several times.
    Woman:Hmmmmm. I'll get our engineers to have a look at it.
    Man:A friend of mine bought the same model here and had exactly the same problems. I want a refund.
    Woman:I'm afraid it isn't our policy to give refunds, sir.
    Man:I want to see the manager.
    Answer the following questions based on the above text.
    1. Where does the dialogue most probably take place?
    2. What is the man complaining about?
    3. What is the most probable relationship between the man and the woman?
    4. What did the man buy?
    5. When did he buy it?
    6. What is the problem with it?
    7. What solution does the woman offer?
    8. Does the man agree with her solution?
    9. What does he want?
    10. What will most probably happen after the conversation?
    Dialogue 2
    Assistant:Good morning, can I help you?
    Customer:I'd like to make a complaint about my holiday in Portugal last week.
    Assistant:I'm sorry to hear that. What exactly was the problem?
    Customer:First of all the coach taking us to the hotel broke down and we had to wait for over two hours in the sweltering heat before a replacement arrived. Then when we got to the hotel we found our room hadn't been cleaned.
    Assistant:Oh dear, did you complain to the hotel staff?
    Customer:Of course, but we were told all the chambermaids were off duty. Anyway, that's not all. The people in the room above sounded like they were having all-night parties, every night. I demanded another room but the receptionist told me the hotel was full.
    Assistant:Oh, I see.
    Customer:And to cap it all the food in the hotel restaurant was awful. It was so bad we had to eat out all the time despite having paid for meals in the price of our holiday.
    Assistant:I do apologise. I'd like to offer you a 20% discount on the price of one of our Autumn breaks as a gesture of goodwill.
    Customer:A 20% discount, you must be joking. I want to see the manager.
    Answer the following questions based on the above text.
    1. Where does the conversation most probably take place?
    2. What is the customer complaining about?
    3. What happened with the coach taking the customer to the hotel?
    4. How long did they have to wait?
    5. How was the weather at that time?
    6. What did they find when they arrived at the hotel?
    7. Did the customer complain to the hotel?
    8. What did the hotel say?
    9. Why did the customer want another room?
    10. What did the customer think about the hotel restaurant?
    11. Where did he decide to eat during his stay at the hotel?
    12. What would the assistant like to offer as an apology?
    13. Does the customer agree with the offer?
    14. What would the customer like to do?
    15. If you were the travel agency manager, what would you do in this situation?
    Dialogue 3
    Mary:“It’s certainly very busy here today, isn’t it?”
    Julia:“Yes, and there aren’t enough salesgirls. We’ve been standing here for at least five minutes!”
    Mary:“Quick. Catch that salesgirl’s eye! She’s just finishing with a costumer.”
    Julia:“Miss! Miss! Excuse me. I think I’m next and I haven’t very much time.”
    Salesgirl:“Yes, madam. How can I help you?"
    Julia:“I’m afraid I have a complaint. It’s this pullover. I’m disappointed with the quality. I’ve only had it for two months and it’s already worn out.”
    Salesgirl:“Worn out? May I see it?”
    Julia:“Yes, here you are. Look at the sleeves. They’re the worst part. Do you see? They’ve worn very badly.”
    Salesgirl:“And how long do you say you’ve had it?”
    Julia:“For only two months. Look, here’s the receipt.”
    Salesgirl:““Thank you. This is very strange. We’ve been selling this particular make for years and we haven’t had any complaints in all that time.”
    Julia:“Well, I’m sorry. I’m sure it isn’t my fault. It’s already worn out.”
    Salesgirl:“One moment, please. Let me call the manager. Mr. Simons! Mr. Simons!”
    Mr. Simons:“Yes?”
    Salesgirl:“It’s this lady. She’s had this pullover for two months and it’s already worn out.”
    Mr. Simons:“Really? Let me see, please. Hmm…yes…”
    Julia:“I’ve been wearing in at the week-ends; that’s all.”
    Mr. Simons:“Yes, well ... make out a credit slip for the lady, would you, Miss Smith?”
    Julia:“A credit slip?”
    Mr. Simons:“Yes. You can buy anything you like with it in the store.”
    Julia:“I’d rather have my money back, if you don’t mind.”
    Mr. Simons:“I see. Well, I suppose we can arrange that.”
    Julia:“Thank you.”
    (Adapted from Kernel Lessons Intermediate; Students’ Book)
    Correct the following statements. They have been quoted wrongly from the above text.
    1. There are not many people in the shop today.
    2. Julia has a lot of time.
    3. She has been standing there for an hour.
    4. She has had the sweater for a year.
    5. The shop hasn’t been selling that particular make for long.
    6. The shop has had many complaints for the product.
    7. The pullover has worn very badly on the chest.
    8. The manager refuses to accept the sweater back.
    9. Julia has been wearing the sweater at work.
    10. Julia wants a credit slip for the sweater.

    February 11, 2021

    Handling Complaints

    Handling Complaints
    omplaining is expressing the feeling of annoyance or dissatisfaction about something, which can be a pain and a symptom of illness, or a situation that is unsatisfactory or unacceptable. Whether you are at work or at home, you often find a customer, a colleague, a friend, or a family member complaining and expressing their dissatisfaction when their needs, wishes, or expectations are not met.

    For those whose job requires meeting with lots of customers, handling written or verbal complaints have become a common daily routine. Complaints should be regarded as an opportunity to improve and make a long-lasting customer. Therefore, complaints must be dealt with in a professional manner, quickly, politely and efficiently.


    In order to be able to handle complaints appropriately, we should know how complaints are usually given or expressed. In this post, we will be focusing on verbal complaints, namely those that are expressed in verbal or spoken language instead of written. Here are some of the most common expressions of complaint:

    • I’d like to complain about ....
    • Well, this is (absolutely) the worst .... I’ve ever found.
    • What can you do about it / them?
    • Something must be done about .... It's very disappointing.
    • I’m sorry to say this, but ....
    • Would you mind not ...?
    • I’m not at all satisfied with your ....
    • I wish you wouldn’t ....
    • I’m disappointed with ....
    Read more about expressing dissatisfaction HERE
    Handling a Complaint

    In the workplace, complaints become a very important issue that need to be identified and addressed in a timely manner in order to keep both the organisation and customer happy. In short, we must be sensitive to the customer, their needs, the nature of the complaint and the mood the customer is in.

    To be brief, there are three basic steps in handling complaints appropriately.

    1. Apologize politely.
      • I’m sorry, sir/madam.
      • We should apologize for ....
    2. Attempt to solve the problem.
      • I will look into it immediately.
      • I will call the repairman.
      • Let me check it again, Sir / Madam.
      • Would you like to choose another color?
      • Wait a moment, please. We’re going to make it up.
      • We will try to fix it.
    3. If you can't handle it on your own, alert your supervisor or manager.
      • Just one minute, please. I will alert my supervisor.
      • Would you wait a minute? I have to talk to my manager about it.
    Practice with dialogues
    In the following dialogues, mark the sentences indicating a complaint, an apology and an attempt to solve the problem.
    Dialogue 1:
    Ari would like to complain about the price of a book that she has bought. It is said that it is 15% off, but she had to pay the normal price.
    Ari:I would like to complain about the book I bought yesterday. It is said that I can get 15% off, but I paid the normal price.
    Shop assistant:We do apologize. Please wait a moment. We’re going to make it up.
    Dialogue 2:
    Reni complains to the librarian when she finds that many books have not been neatly put on the bookshelves.
    Reni:I'm sorry to say this, but I can't find the book that I want because most of them are not
    Librarian:We are sorry. We haven’t got enough time to tidy them up. There have been a lot of visitors this morning.
    Dialogue 3:
    Two workers are talking about their advertisement that seems to be missing from a daily paper.
    Andy:Did you see our advertisement in Tuesday’s paper?
    Ben:No, I looked for it, but didn’t see it. I also looked in Wednesday’s issue.
    Andy:Well, that’s discouraging. It doesn’t seem to have been put in. I’ll call the Daily News and see what the problem is. Our weekend sale won’t get much attention if nobody knows that it’s happening.
    Ben:I wouldn’t worry too much about that. We have placed posters throughout the mall and the sale’s been broadcast on the radio. Besides, lots of people come to the mall on the weekend anyway.
    Dialogue 4:
    Ayu complains to her father for always breaking his promise to take her to the bookstore.
    Ayu:Dad, when will you take me to the bookstore? You promised that last week, didn't you?
    Father:I'm really sorry, dear. I haven’t got much time. What about going there with your mom?
    Find more dialogues and exercises about complaining and how to handle complaints HERE.
    You can learn more about how to express satisfaction and dissatisfaction in English HERE.
    Good luck in your English studies.