- Hello I’m calling for Jose.
- Jose is not. Please call back later.
- I’m sorry, what?
This was an exchange I had over the phone a while ago that left me a little lost. Folks, if you’ve been telling callers your colleague ‘is not’ to say he’s not in the office, you mostly likely have also been receiving a confused reaction.
The problem here stems from a direct translation from the Spanish ‘Jose no está’ which is given to mean ‘Jose no está aquí’. In English, however, ‘he is not’ is an incomplete sentence that prompts the caller to think: What is he not? Where is he not? How is he not..?
These are a few other incorrect sentences I’ve encountered:
❌ “He is not today” - adding only ‘today’ doesn’t make it complete and still leaves the caller confused
❌ “He has gone” - this is pretty unclear. Is he gone for the day? Has he left the company?
❌ “He does not come” - is he busy now and not coming to the phone or is he not in the office today?
Here’s a very simple structure that doesn’t require going into detail:
✔️ He’s not here at the moment. Can I take a message?
Hope that helps!
Soy el director de Daniel Smith + Partners. Tengo más de 15 años de experiencia enseñando inglés a españoles.