Telephone Problems

Telephone Problems

telephone problems

William can’t reach Betsy on the telephone. The Grammar focuses on Phrasal Verbs.

Revo: “Hi, is Betsy there?”
William: “No, you just missed her.”
Revo: “Do you know where she went, or how long she’ll be gone?”
William: “I think she just went to the store. She’ll be back soon.”
Revo: “I usually pay her on the first. This is Revo.”
William: “Hi Revo, I can tell her you called.”
Revo: “Thanks, I appreciate that.”
William: “Was there any message or anything?”
Revo: “Well, I can bring down the money. But I need a receipt.”
William: “I can give you that. Or you can just come down around two.”
Revo: “That sounds good, I’ll just wait an hour and then come down.”
William: “No problem.”


Come down as an idiom (phrasal verb) means to lose wealth or position; it can also mean to pass or be handed down by tradition. But here it is used as a prepositional verb and means to descend. See online Idioms Dictionary.

Topic Suggested for Comments: Phrasal Verbs

“I’ll wait an hour and then come down.” This descent (via stairs or elevator) implies that Revo lives upstairs. The verb is quite separable from the preposition, and may even stand alone: “I’ll wait an hour and then come.” Here “come down” is not used as a Phrasal Verb.


Nicole is having telephone problems. The Grammar focuses on the meaning of a special Idiom.

Nicole: “Hi, trying to get hold of Margie. Is she there?”
Gail: “You just missed her. She went out to get some coffee.”
Nicole: “Man, I knew that would happen. She always goes out at this time.”
Gail: “That’s true, you should call half an hour earlier, I guess.”
Nicole: “My youngest was badly misbehaving and I had to get on her case.”
Gail: “That’s how it always goes. Just when you think things are under control, something comes along to wreak havoc with your plans.”
Nicole: “You got that right. Big or small, important or not, it’s this door that slams in your face.”
Gail: “Best-laid plans of mice and men.”
Nicole: “Anyway I suppose Margie will be back in a half-hour or so?”
Gail: “That sounds about right. Unless she decides to have lunch too.”
Nicole: “Do you know where she goes?”
Gail: “Starbucks if it’s just a latte, Subway if she intends to pig out.”
Nicole: “I know where that is, maybe I’ll just hop over there and surprise her.”
Gail: “If you see her, tell her we need her back here pronto. The manager is having a cow over some new deadline we’re up against.”


Get hold of means to successfully make contact and communicate with someone.
Get on her case means to start bothering or harassing someone about something.
Wreak havoc means to create confusion, cause a lot of problems.
Best laid plans of mice and men is a proverb said when something ends poorly or differently than expected. Shortened from “The best-laid plans of mice and men oft go astray.”
Pig out means to eat ravenously or gorge oneself.
Pronto means right away, very quickly, as soon as possible. Taken from Spanish, meaning “soon.”
Have a cow means to get very upset about something, often more than is expected or warranted.
Up against means in conflict with something, facing something as a barrier.


“The manager is having a cow over some new deadline we’re up against.” Interestingly, the phrase “is having a cow” is always progressive, or past, or future, but never simple present. We would never say “He has a cow” (except simply to denote ownership).

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