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