On the phone

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claude23

Banned
FRANCE
Good afternoon,


On the phone, I heard people saying who's that instead of who's this ? May I use both ? If not , why ?


You know how hard it is to get a visa in New Zealand or for New Zealand ?

THank you,

Claude.
 
  • Isotta

    Senior Member
    English, Hodgepodge
    If you're answering the phone:

    You could ask someone who in on the phone, in theory, "Who's that on the phone?" but it doesn't sound very nice. You would never say, "Who's that" when you answer the phone.

    "Who's this?" even isn't that nice if you're on the phone. It is better to say, "May I ask who is calling?" or "May I ask who this is?"

    If you're having a phone conversation:

    What you might have heard is something like this:

    George: Hello?
    Lisa: Hi George, it's Lisa. I was returning your message. I'd love to meet you for a coffee. [Lisa hears a female voice in the background] Who's that?
    George: Oh, it's my daughter.

    But I feel like it's kind of nosy to ask that unless you know the person well.

    Z.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    As for the second question, you get a visa for New Zealand.

    "in New Zealand" would mean that you were there when you got it - which, if I'm not mistaken, is impossible because visas are issued in the home country. Of course, you can get a visa in New Zealand for another country.
     

    la grive solitaire

    Senior Member
    United States, English
    Hi Claude,

    Although I've heard people say "Who's this?", I agree with Isotta that it's impolite. It's best to say, "May I ask who's calling?"

    As for your second question:
    Do you know how hard it is to get a visa in New Zealand? means: once you are actually there; for New Zealand means: to be able to travel to New Zealand.
     

    mje1001

    New Member
    England, English
    Usually the caller will ask if they have connected to the right person. So they'll say 'is ... there please' and then you can just say 'Speaking' to confirm that they have the right person and prompts them to give you their name
     

    Isotta

    Senior Member
    English, Hodgepodge
    Yes, in terms of politeness, it's ideal for the caller to self identify, "Hi, this is [their name]. May I please speak with [person they are calling]." In theory you should never have to say, "May I ask who is calling?" Then again, telephone etiquette is dying.

    Z.
     

    Brioche

    Senior Member
    Australia English
    claude23 said:
    Good afternoon,


    On the phone, I heard people saying who's that instead of who's this ? May I use both ? If not , why ?


    Thank you,

    Claude.
    When people are talking on the phone, "this" relates to the person/section speaking, and "that" to the person/section being spoken to.

    The person answering the phone is a business might say:
    "This is the Inland Revenue Compliments Section, how may I help you."

    Similarly, a person might ask:
    "Is that the Lost Property Office?"
    or even
    "Is that Miss Prim, PA to the CEO?"

    When the phone call is finished, someone could ask "Who was that on the phone?"
    "Oh, that was Donald Trump again. He's still begging me to work for him."

    If you say "Who's this?" on the phone, you're asking "Who am I?"

    Occasionally people say "Do you know who this is?" meaning, "Do you know who I am?" "Do you recognise my voice?"
     

    swift_precision

    Senior Member
    US/English
    Brioche said:
    When people are talking on the phone, "this" relates to the person/section speaking, and "that" to the person/section being spoken to.

    The person answering the phone is a business might say:
    "This is the Inland Revenue Compliments Section, how may I help you."

    Similarly, a person might ask:
    "Is that the Lost Property Office?"
    or even
    "Is that Miss Prim, PA to the CEO?"

    When the phone call is finished, someone could ask "Who was that on the phone?"
    "Oh, that was Donald Trump again. He's still begging me to work for him."

    If you say "Who's this?" on the phone, you're asking "Who am I?"

    Occasionally people say "Do you know who this is?" meaning, "Do you know who I am?" "Do you recognise my voice?"

    No. Not in the US. You would never say, "Is that the Lost Property Office?" because the person being spoken to would think you were refering to a third party. This and that are relative pronouns which indicate proximity in relation to the speaker in question. I think that's why here in the US when someone is speaking to someone else the phone although distance may seperate them that distance is not recognized (I suppose because technology makes things seem more within reach).

    I agree with you in that when the conversation is finished a thrid party may ask, "who was that?" and then you would say, "oh, that was so and so..."

    In the US if you walk up to someone and say "Do you know who this is?" the first thing the person being spoken to would think is, "Do I know who who is? That is, they would be expecting you to show them some sort of picture indicating the person to whom you are refering. This construction would never be perceived as "Do I know who I am?". I will say, however, that if you were calling someone on the phone and you said "do you know who this is?" it would mean "do you know who I am" but it would NOT mean (at least here in the US) "who am I?" as if YOU yourself do not know who you are.
     
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