by/over/on/ the phone

Enlasarenas

Senior Member
Spain, Spanish-Galician
A student of mine wants to know if she could say "Talk by phone". I'm more familiar with to talk on/over the phone. Thanks!
 
  • PSIONMAN

    Senior Member
    Br English
    Enlasarenas said:
    A student of mine wants to know if she could say "Talk by phone". I'm more familiar with to talk on/over the phone. Thanks!

    Perhaps a bit more context would help

    You can communicate by phone, but you are right, you usually talk on the phone
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    "Talk by phone" is fine.

    "Hey let's not talk by phone, I think the line is tapped."

    "Why not tell her in person? You just don't pick up the body language when you talk by phone, that's why you two are miscommunicating."

    You can see it means something different from "talk on the phone."
     

    Gordonedi

    Senior Member
    UK (Scotland) English
    Enlasarenas said:
    A student of mine wants to know if she could say "Talk by phone". I'm more familiar with to talk on/over the phone. Thanks!

    I don't often see "talk over the phone". The word "over" is more often used with a technical edge :
    "This information is provided over the phone rather than in writing"
    "Your opinion is being sought over the phone."

    The original terminology was to speak at the telephone, referring to where the user was standing or sitting in front of a fixed piece of equipment.

    :)
     

    elroy

    Imperfect mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    You can reach me by phone or via e-mail.
    I was on the phone for hours last night.
    Messages can be miscommunicated over the phone.
     

    Skater

    New Member
    Russian
    It is still not quite clear to me what is the best? or the most commonly used variant?
    "She likes to talk on/over/by the phone"?

    Thanks in advance
     

    CaruraLeam

    Senior Member
    Italian
    "I speak on the phone" and "I talk on the phone" and "I am on the phone".
    Shouldn't "over" and "by" be used when one is using the phone as a "mean"?
    Natives help us!
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    I think that in general, your rule is pretty good, Caruraleam. :)

    I talk on the phone. I speak on the phone.

    I communicate by phone. I reach her by phone. We keep in contact by phone.

    I might conduct a lot of business over the phone. I think "over the phone" is OK in some contexts, but I am not as likely to use over as by.
     
    Last edited:

    tabera

    Member
    Spanish (España)
    Can I say: I tried to reach you on the phone? Or it's always "by the phone" when you use the verb 'to reach'?
    Thanks
     
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