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VOCABULARY for Today's Podcast

(to) hang up - (to) end the telephone call.

(to be) busy - the person you are phoning is already on a phone call.

(to) hold - (to) wait on the telephone while the person on the other line takes care of other business.  Usually when you are "on hold", you can hear music, a tape recorded message, or silence.

(to) transfer - (to) send the telephone call to another person so that that other person can help the caller.  
(to be) put on hold - (to) have another person ask you to hold.  This - to be put on hold - is a passive voice construction.  One person puts another person on hold.

(to be) on the other line - (to) have two distinct phone calls going on at the same time.  You may have two different telephone numbers or you may have "call waiting" and be able to alternate between two different phone calls at the same time

(to) hold on - (to) wait


Hold, Please.

Hello!  This is the ESL HELP! Desk.  If you've visited our site before, we welcome you back.  If you are a first time visitor to the ESL Help! Desk, you are lucky today because we are a unique podcast for learners of English.  At the HELP! Desk, all of our examples and activities are based on authentic language, either written or spoken by others learners of English or native speakers.  We are also a free site. All we ask of you is that you register in order to enter our listening library.

Our topics range from grammar lesson to communication lessons.  This week we're going back to the telephone to visit a common complaint of modern communications:  Being put on hold.  Listen and find out if this conversation sounds familiar.

Before you begin, you might want to familiarize yourself with the vocabulary items to the left.  Join us now for the conversation below.


The number is busy.  I'll hang up and try again.

              Here it goes...  It's ringing.

Hold, please.

The Green Monster.  May I help you, please.

Yes.  I'd like to be connected to the ticket sales.

Just a moment, please.  I'll transfer you.

This is so frustrating!

How can I help you?

I'd like to purchase two tickets to the Green Monster for tomorrow's game.

One moment, please.  I'll transfer you.

This is the second time I've been transferred! 

      Oh, could I please put you on hold for just one moment? I have
             a phone call coming in on the other line.

            Hello, Gary?  Yes?   Actually, I am on the other line.  But.....Am I
            busy? When?  Two tickets for the Green Monster for tomorrow night?
            Why, I'd love to go with you!  Great, thanks so much.  Oh, Gary....Could
            you please hold on, for just one moment?

             Hello, are you still there?

Yes, Miss. How can I help you? 

Thanks for holding, but I won't be needing those tickets after all. 

Thank you for calling The Green Monster!



Does the conversation above sound familiar? What parts of it do not sound familiar?


That's our lesson for this week. If you have any questions or comments, be sure to send us a message via our blog.  We hope to see you again next week.

The ESL Help! Desk

Music Copyright, permission of Luca De Bernardi
Photo of Headphones Copyright Karl-Erik Bennion
Sounds of Telephone, courtesy of FreeSound:

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