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telephone conversation in American English



 
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ESL Forums | English Vocabulary, Grammar and Idioms
Reported speech (Marry: What shall we do on saturday?) | "He fell on the nose" vs "He fell on the mouth."
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telephone conversation in American English #1 (permalink) Mon Jun 09, 2008 2:48 am   telephone conversation in American English
 

When we want to say who we are calling in American English, which of the following expressions is acceptable?
1. Is Maria there, please?
2. Is Maria here, please?

#1 is acceptable in British English. Is it also acceptable in American English? #2 is not acceptable in British. Is it acceptable in American English?
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Sitifan
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telephone conversation in American English #2 (permalink) Mon Jun 09, 2008 3:11 am   telephone conversation in American English
 

The speaker is ignoring distance over the telephone line when he/she uses "Is Maria here, please?" so that a more amiable ambiance could be hopefully created, IMO. I also suppose the latter is more popularly used in US than in UK although I am not very sure.
Haihao
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telephone conversation in American English #3 (permalink) Mon Jun 09, 2008 5:08 am   telephone conversation in American English
 

Hi Sitifan (and Haihao)

Of your two sentences, only the first one sounds like one that might be used here in the US. Using the word 'here' would ignore the fact that 'I am here in this location and Maria is somewhere else'. The caller would think or hope that Maria is 'there' at that place being called. Thus, it would be typical to use 'there'.

If someone calls Maria at home, they might initially ask "Is Maria home?"
If someone calls Maria at work, they might ask "Is Maria in (the office)?"
People here will also say "Hi. Can/Could/May I speak to Maria, please?" (depending on the level of formality the caller decides to use).

There are a number of sentences that people commonly use. However, I would not expect to hear a caller ask if Maria is 'here'. Saying "Is Maria here?" at the beginning of a phone call might actually elicit a joking response such as "I hope not! She's supposed to be here!"
.
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