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    #1

    Which is correct? May I take a message? or May I take your message?

    Letís suppose you are at work right now and answering the phone.
    The person on the other end of the line can't reach your colleague whom he/she want to talk to.
    You want to suggest him/her that he should leave a message and say the routine phrase.
    Here, we can say lots of phrases, but Iíd like to focus on two phrases:
    1. May I take a message?
    2. May take your message?
    Which is natural English? Some non-native speaker told me that there is no difference between two phrases, but I want to know subtle difference between these sentences. Would you please explain to me?
    Thank you in advance.

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Which is correct? May I take a message? or May I take your message?

    I'd be happy to take a message for you.
    Would you like to leave a message?
    Can I take a message for you?

    I would not say "May I take your message?"
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #3

    Re: Which is correct? May I take a message? or May I take your message?

    Quote Originally Posted by popri View Post
    Some non-native speaker told me that there is no difference between two phrases
    I would not agree with this because the second does not sound natural to me.

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    #4

    Re: Which is correct? May I take a message? or May I take your message?

    Thank both of you.
    Would you please explain the reason why “your message” is unnatural?

    The reason that I can think of is because the speaker doesn’t know whether the person on the other end of the line wants to leave a message or not. She/he doesn’t even know if there is a message when she/he says “May I take a message?”
    If there is some conversation such as
    A: May I talk to John Smith?
    B: He is not here at the moment.
    A: Oh, he told me to visit the office at 3:00, but the other meeting has just finished and I can’t come to the office in time.
    B: Oh, may I take your message, then?

    I think “your message” is OK in this situation because the worker heard the message before the speaker leave a message.
    Is that it?

    I’m not sure whether this assumption is correct or not.

    Besides, I know the conversation written above isn't natural because office workers usually say “May I take a message for you?” right after saying “He is not here at the moment.”

    Thank you in advance.

  2. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Which is correct? May I take a message? or May I take your message?

    Say:

    Thanks to both of you.

    "Do you want to leave a message?" is often used.

    You may thank me now.

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    #6

    Re: Which is correct? May I take a message? or May I take your message?

    I can't think of a context in which it would be natural to ask "may I take your message?"

    After you've noted the message, you can say "I'll make sure Ms. Smith gets your message."

    There isn't necessarily a logical reason why one phrase works and another doesn't; it's just conventional usage. Come back in twenty years and the convention may be different.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #7

    Re: Which is correct? May I take a message? or May I take your message?

    Quote Originally Posted by popri View Post
    Would you please explain the reason why “your message” is unnatural?
    It is unnatural because we don't say it. Many things in language do not have logical (grammatical) explanations. We say things the way we do because everyone else does. If virtually no one says something, it is unnatural.

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Which is correct? May I take a message? or May I take your message?

    Quote Originally Posted by popri View Post
    The reason that I can think of is because the speaker doesn’t know whether the person on the other end of the line wants to leave a message or not. She/he doesn’t even know if there is a message when she/he says “May I take a message?”
    Exactly. There may or may not be a message. That's why the use of "a" is correct. Like "Do you have a question?" versus "What is your question?" The first says there may or may not be a question. The second says there certainly is one.

    Quote Originally Posted by popri View Post
    If there is some conversation such as
    A: May I talk to John Smith?
    B: He is not here at the moment.
    A: Oh, he told me to visit the office at 3:00, but the other meeting has just finished and I can’t come to the office in time.
    B: Oh, may I take your message, then?

    I think “your message” is OK in this situation because the worker heard the message before the speaker leave a message.
    Is that it?
    No. The person would think you are dim-witted and would say something like "Uhh. okay. Please tell him that the other meeting has just finished and I can't come to the office in time" - probably very slowly, since he just said it and you are now asking what his message is.

    You would say "I'll be sure to let him know."
    [/QUOTE]
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #9

    Re: Which is correct? May I take a message? or May I take your message?

    Thanks again.
    I guess I didnít come up with a good example, but I just wanted to know the difference between a message and your message.
    And now, I understand people usually donít say ďcan I take your messageĒ in any cases on the phone.

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    #10

    Re: Which is correct? May I take a message? or May I take your message?

    We don't use it, but it wouldn't cause any comprehension problems.

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