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ORAL COMMUNICATION

Oral Communication for Practical Purposes

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Although many people have been speaking in many situations, it remains that correct expressions should be used in order to be civil and courteous. Knowing how to speak in practical situations will enable your conversations to become more orderly and clear. If you do not know how to communicate properly in these practical situations, your listeners might incorrectly respond and do the wrong things such as getting lost or getting the wrong message. For example, if someone asks the question, “do you mind…?” and then the other person responds, “yes,” that would seem to be an impolite way of declining to help when in fact the other person actually intends to help. The expressions, most of them idiomatic expressions (fixed expressions used for a function or purpose), enumerated on the proceeding pages can help you understand and practice the proper way of speaking in practical situations.

Giving and Receiving Directions

Asking for directions

Excuse me. Could you direct me to <name of place>, please?
Excuse me. Do you know how to get to <name of place>?
Could you tell me how to get there please?

Giving directions

Sorry, I don’t know the place.
Walk <number> blocks.
Walk along (direction) <street name>.
Go down <street name>.
…until you reach <place or street name>
…until your reach the corner of <street name>
…then…
Turn left/right.
Turn left/right on <street name>.
You will see <a place>.
The <description of place> is <name of place>.
It’s right beside/across <name of place>.

Example 1

(The conversation takes place at the bus station. Refer to map.)

Visitor: Excuse me. Do you know where San Andres Elementary School is?
Local: Yes.
Visitor: Could you tell me how to get there please?
Local: Go down Don Julian Paredes Street. Walk three blocks until you reach the Municipal Hall. Then, turn left at P. Santos Street Walk until you reach San Andres Elementary School. It’s right in front of the National Art Museum.
Visitor: Thank you. Local: You’re welcome.

Example 2

(The conversation takes place at Collin Sports Complex.)

Visitor: Excuse me. Could you direct me to the Mayor’s residence, please?
Local: Yes. Walk north along St. Anne Street until you reach the corner of Don Julian Paredes Avenue. Turn right, and walk until you reach Don Jose Street. Turn left and walk until you reach the fire station. The blue house across is the Mayor’s residence.
Visitor: Thank you.
Local: You’re welcome. Glad to be of help.

Making and Receiving a Social Call

Identifying yourself

Hello. This is <your name>. May I speak with <name of person>, please?

Answering a call

<Surname>’s residence. This is <your name> speaking. How may I help you?

Asking for identification

May I know who’s on the line, please? Could you tell me your name again, please?

Passing the phone to another person

Please hold on/wait a moment. I’m going to get him/her.

If the person is unavailable

I’m sorry. <Name of persons is unavailable/not around right now. Would you like to leave a message?

Example

Receiver: Paredes residence. This is Nathaniel speaking. How may I help you?
Caller: Hello. This is Mark. May I speak with Mercy please?
Receiver: Please hold on. I’m going to get her.

(after a while)

Receiver: I’m sorry. Mercy is not around right now. Would you like to leave a message?
Caller: Yes. Please tell her our group study will be held at Socorro Hall at 4 pm Tomorrow.
Receiver: OK.
Caller: Thank you and goodbye.

Making and Receiving a Business Call

Identifying yourself

Hello. This is your first and last names>. I’m from <name of your institution or company>…
…I would like to speak with <name of person> please.
…I’m calling regarding <purpose for calling>

Answering a call

<name of institution or company>. This is <your name> speaking. How may I help you?

Asking for identification

May I know who’s on the line, please?
Could you please tell me your name again?

Passing the phone to another person

Please hold on/wait a moment. I’m going to get him/her.
Please hold on/wait a moment. I’ll connect you to his/her line.
I will let you speak with <first name and last name of person or name of department>.
He is/she is/they are <position or responsibility>. Please hold on/wait a moment.

If the person is unavailable

I’m sorry, <Mr./Ms. Surname of person> is unavailable/not around right now. Would you like to leave a message?

Example

Receiver: Language Study Center. This is Teresa speaking. How may I help you?
Caller: Hello. This is Julian Sosa. I’m from the English for All Foundation. I’m calling regarding your degree offerings for teaching English.
Receiver: I will let you speak with Prof. Connie Raymundo. She is the dean of our school of language teaching. Please wait a moment.
Caller: Thank you.

Relaying Messages

When the reporting verb is in past tense such as said…

  •  …replace present tense with past tense

Examples

Shiela (original): I am going to the mall to buy a pair of shoes.
Pia (reporting): Shiela called. She said she was going to the mall to buy a pair of shoes.
Louie (original): I have distributed the pamphlets informing people about environmental concerns.
Amina (reporting): Louie called. He said he had distributed pamphlets informing people about environmental concerns.

…except for habitual actions or general facts

Rose (original): Our store delivers groceries for only 30 pesos delivery charge.
Louie (reporting): Rose called. She said their store delivers groceries for only 30 pesos delivery charge.

  • …replace past tense with past perfect (had + past participle)

Examples

Shiela (original): I already saw the movie he suggested.
Pia (reporting): Sheila called. She said she had already seen the movie you suggested.

Amina (original): I found a new venue for the party.
Reuel (reporting): Amina called. She said she had found a new venue for the party.

Louie (original): The visitors flew to Cebu for their vacation.
Rose (reporting): Louie called. He said the visitors had flown to Cebu for their vacation.

  • …replace can/will with could/would

Examples

Shiela (original): I will watch a movie tonight.
Pia (reporting): Shiela called. She said she would watch a movie tonight

Louie (original): I can invite twenty people for the celebration.
Rose (reporting): Louie called. He said he could invite twenty people for the celebration.

Making, Accepting, and Rejecting Offers

Making offers

Would you like to have/try some <items>?
May I offer you some <items>?
May I interest you in some <items>?
I would like to offer you <items>.

Accepting offers

Yes, I would like to try/taste one/some. Thank you.
Yes. Thank you.

Rejecting offers

No. I’m okay.
No thanks. I’m <reason>.
Thanks for the offer but I am <reason>.

Examples

Jewel: Would you like to have some bread?
Grace: Yes. Thank you.
Jewel: Would you like to have some butter with it?
Grace: No, thanks. I’m on a diet.

Stephanie: May I interest you in buying a multi-function printer?
Dominic: Thanks for the offer but I am saving my money for a new tablet.

Asking for Help

Asking for help

Could you help me? I need to <verb>…
Could you help me <verb>…
Do you mind helping me <verb>…

Agreeing to help

Yes.
Certainly.
Not at all. (for question 3)

Declining to help

I’m sorry but <reason>.

Examples

Nathaniel: Excuse me. Could you help me? I need to move this table to the other side.
Mark: Certainly.

Stephanie: Do you mind helping me slice these potatoes?
Hope: Not at all.

Mark: Could you help me thread this needle?
Rey: I’m sorry but I have very poor eyesight.

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