On The Phone

Even though the 21st century has fostered a texting/instant messaging revolution, the ability to talk on the phone is still an important one. Whether you’re chatting to friends or making a business call, there are many important aspects of a phone conversation to know before making your first French call!

When calling someone, think of the conversations like script with a beginning, middle and end. Phone calls don’t have to be anxiety-inducing; just learn some words and phrases and your French will immediately sound smoother and more fluent. This will also allow you to concentrate more on what you actually need to say.

It is important to differentiate between a formal and informal conversation and use the correct set of phrases/vocabulary for each one. For example, you wouldn’t want to say, “allez, bises” (“alrighty, kisses”) to your boss when saying goodbye!

Formal greetings:

[Name of company], bonjour ? ([Name of company], hello?)
Puis-je parler à [X]? (May I please speak to [X]?)
Merci de vouloir patienter quelques instants, je vous le/la passe. (Wait a moment, please, I’ll put you through to him/her)

Informal greetings:

Allô ? (Hello?)
Bonjour, c’est [Y], [X] est disponible ? (Hello, it’s [Y], is [X] available?)
Je te le/la passe (I’ll put you through to him/her)

Formal goodbyes:

Bonne journée, au revoir. (Have a nice day, goodbye.)

Informal goodbye:

Salut (Bye)
Allez, ciao/bises. (Alrighty, ciao/kisses).
À tout à l’heure.
(See you later)

Other Useful Phrases:

C’est à quel sujet ? (What is the call about?)
Est-ce que je peux prendre un message ? (Can I take a message?)
La connexion est de mauvaise qualité. (The connection is bad.)
Je vous en prie. (You’re welcome.)


Ça roule. (Everything’s good.)
Ça coupe. (You’re breaking up.)

Click HERE for more handy language toolkits to help you with life in France.