Making an appointment in English can feel stressful if you’re not a native speaker, especially over the phone, or if you aren’t used to the lingo (jargon, slang, vocabulary) people use. Confirming an appointment can also be tricky if you aren’t familiar with the common phrases people say.
We’ve tried to brainstorm as many phrases as humanly possible (as many as a person can do!), and asked all our appointment-making friends what they say to bring you a pretty good list of possibilities.
This week we’ll explain some handy phrases to use when making an appointment in English besides the tried and true (traditional), “Do you have any time on…”, or “Would you be free on…” This way you’ll be prepared for any appointment-related request!
Asking for a time that suits your partner (you are flexible)
These phrases are particularly good when trying to figure out when a time will work for your partner because you are more flexible, or you know that they are very busy (or both).
Any of the following phrases can be used when you are to set up an appointment with someone and your schedule is more flexible:
- When are you free?
- When would you have time?
- When do you have time?
- When would suit you?
- What / when would work for you the best?
- When are you available?
- When could you squeeze me in?
- How does your calendar look?
These are all very open questions and your partner will feel very free to answer as they want.
Offering times for an appointment (Various degrees of flexibility)
Sometimes you will be the one to offer (suggest, give) times that work for you when making an appointment in English. This can be particularly useful if you are on a tight schedule, have a preferred day, and aren’t flexible enough to let your partner make the first suggestion.
Therefore, you can show degrees of flexibility in offering times to meet. To show a little flexibility, you can say, “Could we meet sometime next week to talk about your application? This tells your partner that you have time the whole week, and that they are in control of setting up when to exactly to meet.
Or to be a little more specific:
- “I’m in the office all week. How does Monday work for you?”
Or very specific:
- “What about Monday at 3pm?”
The following phrases can all be adjusted with various times or time windows to suit your situation:
- What/How about Monday?
- How does Monday sound?
- Can you do Monday?
- (How) Does Monday work/look for you?
- What does your Monday look like?
- Do you have any time on Monday?
- How would you feel about Monday?
You can add any of the following to the above phrases to give a time window to your partner when making an appointment in English:
- In the morning
- Before lunch
- Late afternoon
- Early evening
- After __ o’clock
- On the weekend
- During the week
- During the day
Saying No and making a new suggestion
If you are offered a time and it doesn’t suit you, you can say “no”, and then counter with one of the phrases above.
- “No, I’m sorry, Wednesday doesn’t work for me. But how does Monday look for you?”
Other ways to say No:
- Hmmm…what about…
- I’m not sure about that…what about…
- I’m sorry, but that’s not going to work. I already have another appointment then. What about…
- Sorry, no, what about…
- Unfortunately, that’s not going to work. What about…
- No, I’m sorry, I’m completely booked / full on Monday. What about…
- No, too bad. I’m only free on Tuesday.
- Any chance Tuesday could work for you?
Pro tip!: If you are initiating (suggesting first) a meeting with someone, it is usually a good idea to suggest a time as well. You and your partner can then negotiate (decide together, compromise on) a time that works for both of you.
- “I’d like to meet next week to discuss some ideas about this new project. How about sometime on Monday?”
Confirming an Appointment
Once you have both negotiated the time to meet, you should then confirm (and maybe reconfirm!) the appointment with them verbally and/or in an email. You can use a combination of the phrases below if you want to be extra clear with them.
For example, you can say:
- “Perfect, I’ll be there. I’ll send you a Google invite,” or, “Great, thank you. I’ll see you on Thursday at 11am.”
Confirming an appointment is always a good idea, so that you both know exactly when to be somewhere.
Use the following phrases to confirm an appointment:
- Sounds good.
- I’ll be there.
- That works.
- Okay, so Thursday the 28th of December at 5pm- my office.
- Great- thank you.
- I’ll see you (then) on Thursday (then).
- I’ll send you a Google invitation.
Pro tip!: Before you are ready to put an appointment “in ink” in your calendar, you can “pencil someone in”.
Do you set up appointments often for your job? Tell us in the comments below if there are any phrases you use that didn’t make our list!
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Erin Duffin lives in Hamburg, is an English teacher, blogger, yoga instructor, and knows how hard making an appointment in English with someone can be -especially if it’s not your first language! Good luck!
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