phrases used when calling somebody

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marinesea

Senior Member
hello,

what is the correct way to ask who you are speaking to when somebody is receiving your call? i'd like to know both formal and informal ways.

if, for example, you are calling somebody's mobile, and you know that most certainly it is the person you need to speak to is answering the phone (not somebody else), is it correct to ask: "Is this Mr/Ms *?" in this case?

thank you
 
  • PSIONMAN

    Senior Member
    Br English
    marinesea said:
    hello,

    what is the correct way to ask who you are speaking to when somebody is receiving your call? i'd like to know both formal and informal ways.

    if, for example, you are calling somebody's mobile, and you know that most certainly it is the person you need to speak to is answering the phone (not somebody else), is it correct to ask: "Is this Mr/Ms *?" in this case?

    thank you
    There is a difference between AE & BE here. In the UK we would say

    "Is that Mr/Ms *?"

    This works well for both formal and informal registers:

    "Is that John?" :)
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Informal.
    Usually I know who has answered the phone, so there is no need to ask.
    If I am not sure, I would say, "Hello/ Good morning/ Good afternoon, is that Bill"
    If the person on the other end isn't Bill, I would say, "Could I speak to Bill please," or quite possibly, "Is Bill there?" Tone of voice would convey an appropriate level of courtesy even if I left out the please.

    Formal.
    In a more formal context, I would expect the person receiving the call to state who they are, thus avoiding the problem completely:)
    Of course, that doesn't always happen.
    The conversation would be exactly as above, except that I would say, "... is that Bill Black (or Mr Black)?".

    As an aside, I hear "Mr Black" used less and less as the years roll on - it is now almost always Bill Black. I don't regret the change.
    PS - I am not Bill Black:D
     
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