What would you say? 1

What would you say? 1

Do you sometimes struggle to find the right words, phrases and of course, hit the right tone? Here are 5 common situations you can find yourself in at work and suggestions how you can master the situation.

Situation: Walking along the corridor and you want to open the door for sb.

General: after you = (Nach dir/Ihnen)

Male speaking to a lady: Ladies first = (Die) Damen zuerst

Humorous: Age before beauty = Alter vor Schönheit


Situation: You find out it was a colleague’s birthday just recently.

General: Happy Birthday belatedly = (nachträglich)


Situation: You need to leave early for personal reasons – clear it with your boss – 1. You get on well with him/her 2. You don’t get on very well with him/her:

1.General: I’ve got an appointment (with ……..) at 5pm /, could I leave an hour earlier this afternoon, please?

Don’t want to mention reason: I need to leave early today, do you mind if I leave at 5pm?

Slang: Can I disappear/shove off (abhauen) earlier today, say 4 ish?

2.General: I was wondering if I might leave a little earlier today because I have an important appointment (with …..)


Situation: The phone rings in your office and the caller wants to speak to your colleague, who has just gone to lunch. You know the caller well.

General: Hi, Mr Preston. I’m afraid, you’ve just missed him. He’s just gone to lunch. I’ll tell him you called.

Informal: Hi, He’s just nipped out (zu etw kurz raus)/popped out for lunch (Mittag machen gehen) /to grab a bite to eat (einen Happen essen). I’ll tell him to get back to you asap.


Situation: You are on your way (by car) to a potential client meeting and you are stuck in traffic. You call the client

General: I’m really sorry but I’m afraid, I will be delayed by approx. 15 mins due the traffic.

Less formal:, I’m held up/stuck in traffic, I’m afraid I’ll be about 15 mins late


Hope they help.

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