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Thread: Away from desk

  1. #1
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    Default Away from desk

    When someone is away from desk, and somebody calls

    Can I reply "I'm sorry, he is not here, could you call back in 5minutes?"

    Is there any nice reply?

    Thanks in advanced

  2. #2
    Katz is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Away from desk

    That is a nice reply

    Having worked as a part-time receptionist for the last two and a half years I could certainly quote some less nice alternatives

    If you want to by very professional you can say something along the lines of: 'I'm sorry, but he is not available at the moment, could you call back later/in 5 minutes?'

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    Default Re: Away from desk

    thanks, katz.

    could I say these:

    "I'm sorry, he is away, could I take a message for him?"

    or "I'm sorry, he is away, would you like to leave a message?"

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    Noego is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Away from desk

    How about:

    "He's absent at the moment, could I take a message?"

    absent: (adj.)
    "If someone or something is absent from a place or situation where they should be or where they usually are, they are not there."

    What do you think about that? I prefer absent to not there. It sounds more... professional.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Away from desk

    Quote Originally Posted by Noego View Post
    How about:

    "He's absent at the moment, could I take a message?"

    absent: (adj.)
    "If someone or something is absent from a place or situation where they should be or where they usually are, they are not there."

    What do you think about that? I prefer absent to not there. It sounds more... professional.
    But 'absent', for me, suggests 'not here for a significant period' (for example, off sick); so I'm more happy with just 'not here' or 'not at his desk'; or, if they're working somewhere else, 'out of the office'. Informally, if they're away for only short time, 'He's just popped out'. 'I'm afraid he's in a meeting' covers most situations

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    Thumbs up Re: Away from desk

    thanks everyone for the replies

    guess i have more options to answer the call now..

  7. #7
    Noego is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Away from desk

    But 'absent', for me, suggests 'not here for a significant period' (for example, off sick); so I'm more happy with just 'not here' or 'not at his desk'; or, if they're working somewhere else, 'out of the office'. Informally, if they're away for only short time, 'He's just popped out'. 'I'm afraid he's in a meeting' covers most situations
    Must be an English idiomatic phenomenon then.

    In French, it's quite common to use "absent" when someone is not there. It's considered polite and is probably the most common polite expression when talking about someone who isn't present.

    Maybe in English it has different connotations.

    If someone was sick I would say: "He's on leave."

    I wouldn't use informal expressions if I was in a working environment.

    That's my take on it

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    Default Re: Away from desk

    Quote Originally Posted by Noego View Post
    Must be an English idiomatic phenomenon then.

    In French, it's quite common to use "absent" when someone is not there. It's considered polite and is probably the most common polite expression when talking about someone who isn't present.

    Maybe in English it has different connotations.

    If someone was sick I would say: "He's on leave."

    I wouldn't use informal expressions if I was in a working environment.

    That's my take on it
    Yes As Grévisse said, Les mots n'existent pas. Fr absent and Eng 'absent' are faux amis. And 'he's on leave' doesn't suggest he's sick either! (at least, not in BE, though maybe in Canadian English) - 'on leave' suggests absence for leisure (e.g. annual holiday), or a longer leave of absence (e.g. sabbatical).

    Oh what a tangled web we weave
    When first we practise to communicate

    as Sir Walter Scott didn't quite put it! (Quote Details: Sir Walter Scott: Oh what a tangled... - The Quotations Page)


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  9. #9
    Noego is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Away from desk

    Well I'll be damned!

    And I thought I knew everything

    That's a really interesting phenomenon. I know I won't forget this!

    That's very surprising.

    Considering the huge amount of words borrowed from Old French, I thought it was a fair bet to think that the original French word didn't lose his meaning through the transition to English:

    Absent: Middle English, from Old French, from Latin absēns, absent-, present participle of abesse, to be away : ab-, away; see ab-1 + esse, to be; see es- in Indo-European roots.

    But apparently it did. I think the definitions I looked were rather misleading as well as they didn't mention the long term aspect of absence.

    "If someone or something is absent from a place or situation where they should be or where they usually are, they are not there."
    -From Collins

    "not in the place where you are expected to be, especially at school or work"
    -from Cambridge

    "not present"
    -Concise Oxford English Dictionary (don't you just hate concise dictionaries! )

    "not present or attending"
    -Merriam Webster Dictionary

    "Not present; missing"
    -Houghton-Mifflin eReference

    You have to admit that it's kind of odd that none of them would so much as mention the correct usage of the adjective "absent".

    Considering the evidence I've been through I would be inclined to doubt your statement but surprisingly enough the examples in the dictionaries almost exclusively imply a long term connotation.

    Could it be a British thing?

    Suppose someone was sick, could you say: "He's on sick leave?"

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Away from desk

    Quote Originally Posted by Noego View Post
    ...
    "not in the place where you are expected to be, especially at school or work"
    -from Cambridge

    "not present"
    -Concise Oxford English Dictionary (don't you just hate concise dictionaries! )

    "not present or attending"
    -Merriam Webster Dictionary

    "Not present; missing"
    -Houghton-Mifflin eReference

    You have to admit that it's kind of odd that none of them would so much as mention the correct usage of the adjective "absent".

    Considering the evidence I've been through I would be inclined to doubt your statement but surprisingly enough the examples in the dictionaries almost exclusively imply a long term connotation.

    Could it be a British thing? Maybe

    Suppose someone was sick, could you say: "He's on sick leave?"
    Absence from school is different. It's a function of how often the attendance register is marked. In my day, one could be absent for a day. Nowadays, I believe, there's an OfStEd (Office for Standards in Education) requirement to mark the register twice a day; so you can be absent for only a few hours.

    I was referring just to absence from work.



    b

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