Speaking Lesson M [B2]


Patients speak to their healthcare professional by phone to:

  • get a new appointment or change appointments
  • ask for a repeat prescription
  • get a letter to a GP or specialist
  • ask about test results

Talking on the phone is harder than talking face to face because you cannot see the other person’s face or body language. The person may have a strong accent. Also, there may be background noises that make it difficult to hear.

You need to:

  • Ask the person to speak more slowly or more loudly
  • Ask them to repeat what they have said
  • Confirm that you understand all the important points

Your English may not be perfect. However, it is very important that you are sure about what the other person is saying.

You should still be polite when you ask the other person to speak more clearly. Remember, we use please AND/OR modal verb “could”

Asking someone to speak more clearly

  • I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you.
  • I’m afraid I don’t understand.
  • I’m sorry, I didn’t understand you.
  • Could you speak more clearly?
  • Could you speak up, please?
  • Could you speak more slowly

“It is okay to ask them to repeat, or to say it in another way.

Asking someone to repeat

  • Could you repeat that, please?
  • Could you say that again?

Asking the speaker to say something in another way (rephrase) or clarify

  • When you say…, do you mean …?

Another good way to confirm that you understand is to repeat the information back to them so they can confirm.

Confirming the correct information

  • I just want to be clear. You would like to …?
  • Let me repeat that back to you…
  • You would like ……, is that correct?

Practice repeating ALOUD each example sentence in the lesson above. Focus especially on the collocations, RUNNING THEM TOGETHER until they flow as ONE EXPRESSION.  The collocations are underlined. Practice until you too speak smoothly and naturally.

See Module 4 Lesson F Part 3 for Emphasizing
See Module 6 for more on Restating and importance of Tone

Phone dialogue

Instructions: Complete the dialogue below with the correct text from the drop down menu.  TIP – Think about the flow of the conversation!

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