Basic English Quiz

“Smart Phone Numbers”

Pre-Listening Exercise

Learning how to understand and say phone numbers correctly takes a little practice. In the United States, there are usually seven numbers with an area code. For example, 821 (the area code) followed by 555-5555. With the area code, we just say the individual numbers: eight-two-one. If the number has a 0 in it, then we say “oh” or “zero.” In the last four numbers, people sometimes say the numbers like they are two numbers: “3140” can be “thirty-one forty.”

Here are some more:

  • (966) 340-8019: nine-six-six three-four-oh eight-zero-one-nine OR nine-six-six three-four-oh eighty nineteen

Listening Exercise

Listen to the recording and answer the questions. Then, review the script to this listening activity at the bottom of the page.

Post-Listening Exercise

Write down the phone numbers of five people you know. Then, practice saying them with a partner. Test each other with these numbers to see if you understand them well.

Listening Script

Ethan: Hey, Emily. I think I left my grammar book in the class today. I think one of the students took it. Uh, do you have some of their phone numbers?

Emily: Yeah. Um, who do you want to call?

Ethan: Well, Brittany was sitting next to me, so I’ll call her first. What is her number?

Emily: Hm, um. Hang on a minute. [ Okay. ] Oh, here it is. It’s, um, eight eight-seven-zero zero-zero-one-nine (870-0019).

Ethan: . . . okay, zero-zero-one-nine (0019). Got it. I’ll call her first. And, uh, what about James?

Emily: Yeah. Um, okay. It’s six-one-four one-four-eight-zero (614-1480).

Ethan: Okay, six-one-four fourteen eighteen (614-1418), right?

Emily: No, it’s fourteen eighty (1480).

Ethan: Oh, okay. And, um, yeah, um, uh . . . What’s her name? You know, the girl, um . . . You know.

Emily: Which one?

[ Embarrashed laugh . . . ]

Emily: You mean Audrey? The girl you really like?

Ethan: What?

Emily: I can tell you like her.

Ethan: Come on. Are you kidding? No, no. I mean, we’re like brother and sister.

Emily: Ah, yeah, right, right. Well, uh, if you want, here’s your SISTER’s phone number. It’s five-five-eight six-zero-one-six (558-6016).

Ethan: Yeah, six-zero-one-zero (6010). Got it. Bye.

Emily: No.

Ethan: What?

Emily: Six-zero-one-six (6016).

Ethan: Six-zero-one-six (6016).

Emily: Alright. I hope your sister’s not mad that you called.

Ethan: No problem.

Emily: Bye.

Ethan: Bye.

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