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how to answer "May I speak to xxx?"

Discussion in 'English Only' started by stranger2ureyes, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. stranger2ureyes Senior Member

    Shanghai
    Chinese, China
    for example when sb ask on the phone "May I speak to John?", I know you can answer "yes, speaking." or "yes, it's him/ it's him speaking". Is there other answers?

    Can you actually say, "Yes, I am."?

    or "Yes, I am John."?

    Thanks!
     
  2. KeepinOn Senior Member

    US - English
    You wouldn't say, "yes, I am" or "yes, I am John"; rather, you would say "this is" or "this is John"
     
  3. stranger2ureyes Senior Member

    Shanghai
    Chinese, China
    Is that correct? seems 'yes it's him' is most oftenly used?

     
  4. Egmont Senior Member

    Massachusetts, U.S.
    English - U.S.
    I wouldn't say this and don't recall ever hearing it. Someone referring to himself as "him" would sound quite odd to me. Where did you hear this? Brits: is this common BE?
     
  5. KeepinOn Senior Member

    US - English
    If someone you know calls you but doesn't recognize your voice when you answer your phone and so asks to speak with you then you would say, "it's me!"

    Otherwise, it's more common to say "this is him"

    Actually, it's technically grammatically incorrect according to "standard English" to say "this is him", but that's what people say. Some people use the technically grammatically correct form "this is he"
     
  6. stranger2ureyes Senior Member

    Shanghai
    Chinese, China
    Our textbook said so! not sure whether it's BE or not...

    but "Yes, speaking." is common, right?

     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2011
  7. mancunienne girl Senior Member

    England
    English - England
    I'm in agreement with KeepinOn; "this is he" is grammatically correct and is still used by a lot of people, but in common usage you here "it's me" or "this is him", even though the latter sounds a bit weird to me too!
     
  8. Brioche

    Brioche Senior Member

    Adelaide
    Australia English
    "Speaking" is what I used to say.

    But these days, I usually ask for the name of the other person before I reveal my own identity. I have had too many calls from telemarketers.
     
  9. Einstein

    Einstein Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    UK, English
    If someone asks, "Is that John?", I say "Yes (it's me)".

    If I enter my house and my wife calls out "who is it?", I say "It's me" (she'll recognise the voice).

    But on the phone, if someone asks to speak to John (and I'm John), then I say "Speaking".
     
  10. stranger2ureyes Senior Member

    Shanghai
    Chinese, China
    I see! thanks, all!
     
  11. KeepinOn Senior Member

    US - English
    Sounds good to me Einstein :)
     
  12. Andygc Senior Member

    Devon
    British English
    Yes, me too (well, Andy, not John :D )
    I have never heard anybody say "It's him" or "It is he" as the response to the original question - "It's me" occasionally.

    quoting Brioche
    But these days, I usually ask for the name of the other person before I reveal my own identity. I have had too many calls from telemarketers.

    But if you do that you don't get the opportunity to have a nice long chat with the accredited Microsoft computer engineer from India who wants to save your computer from errors. You can spin that out for 10 minutes if you try hard enough
     
  13. xjm Senior Member

    WI, USA
    English - USA
    I usually respond simply with This is or Speaking. I use This is she only in more formal situations.
     
  14. Enquiring Mind

    Enquiring Mind Senior Member

    UK/Česká republika
    English - the Queen's
    "It's him/me", "this is us" (etc, etc) is grammatically correct. It's the disjunctive pronoun.

    In response to the original question, I answer "that's me speaking".
     
  15. xjm Senior Member

    WI, USA
    English - USA
    <deletion>

    Descriptively speaking, many contemporary AE speakers do say and accept This is her. I don't personally, and it sounds wrong to me; but the form exists and is widespread.

    I do say It's me in response to Who is it?. I wouldn't say It is I except facetiously or melodramatically.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2011
  16. djmc Senior Member

    France
    English - United Kingdom
    I would always say "It's me" or "Its him" and similarly "It's us", "It's them' and so forth. Anything else sounds stilted and hyper-grammatical. English grammar is not necessarily the same as Latin, but even in Latin one could justify the use of the accusative (emphatic accusative), and I would argue that the accusative in these cases is used in order to emphasise the pronoun. This is similar to the use of moi, toi etcetera in French.
     
  17. KeepinOn Senior Member

    US - English
    I agree with Enquiring Mind that "it's me" is correct. But the question is "What is correct?"

    "Correct" truly is relative and it depends on the context and the speech community your communicating within and the language register you want to use.

    "this is him" is commonly "correct" in less formal, more conversational registers
    "this is he" is "correct" according in more formal registers and formal written language. And it's "correct" according to prescriptive grammars, style manuals, etc.

    Enquiring Mind, thanks for pointing out that "me" in the phrase "this is me" is a disjunctive pronoun. I was not familiar with that term before. That's great information to have.
     
  18. stranger2ureyes Senior Member

    Shanghai
    Chinese, China
    wow, great discussion. now i'm going to google 'disjunctive pronoune'.
     

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