Speak English Around Town » LESSON 9 - Making a Doctor's Appointment

Making a Doctor's Appointment

Grace is sick. She calls her doctors office to make an appointment for today.

Laura: Primary Medical Group. How may I help you?

Grace: I'd like to make an appointment with Dr. Feinberg.

Laura: Your name?

Grace: Grace Lee.

Laura: What's the nature of your visit?

Grace: I think I've come down with the flu.

Laura: We have an opening tomorrow at three.

Grace: I can't wait that long. I'm really sick!

Laura: Well, unfortunately, Dr. Feinberg is booked solid today. If he were free at all, I would squeeze you in.

Grace: Can anybody else see me?

Laura: Hang on. Let me check ... You're in luck. Dr. Wilson can see you at four o'clock this afternoon.

Grace: Don't you have anything earlier today?

Laura: No, I'm afraid not. We're short-staffed this week.

Grace: So there's no way I can come in before four today?

Laura: I'd like to help you, but my hands are tied. If I were you, I would grab this four o'clock appointment.

Grace: Okay. I'll take it.

  • at all
    to any extent; in any way
    Example: "Did Kelly help organize the party?" - "No, she was no help at all."
    NOTE: You will also hear "not at all," meaning "not in any way." "Example: "Is it a problem for you to come to the office on Saturday?" - "No, not at all."
  • booked solid
    unavailable; having all appointments taken
    Example: We wanted to stay in the Palace Hotel during our stay in Prague, but it was booked solid.
  • (to) come down with
    to become ill with; to catch a sickness
    Example: Your throat hurts and you feel warm? I hope you're not coming down with something!
  • hang on
    wait; give me some time
    Example: The phone is for me? Hang on. I'll be there in a minute.
  • (to) have an opening
    to have an available space in a schedule
    Example: Olivia is sick. I'm going to see if her doctor has an opening for this afternoon.
  • I'm afraid not
    sorry, but I can't do that
    Example: "Can you give me a ride to the airport on Saturday morning?" -"No, I'm afraid not. I have other plans."
  • in luck
    lucky; fortunate
    Example: You want to see the football game on Saturday? You're in luck! I've got an extra ticket.
  • my hands are tied
    there's nothing I can do
    Example: I'd like to give you more time to finish the test, but my hands are tied.
  • short-staffed
    without enough staff; having less staff than usual
    Example: Sorry you had to wait so long. We're short-staffed today.
  • (to) squeeze someone in
    to make an appointment available
    Example: You want an appointment for a haircut today? I can squeeze you in with Lynn at 3 o'clock.
  • What's the nature of your visit?
    Why are you coming?; Why do you need to see the doctor?
    Example: You want to see Dr. Patel? What's the nature of your visit?
Practice the Expressions

Fill in the blank with the missing word:

  1. You ·want to come in for a massage this afternoon? We can squeeze you _____ at five o'clock.
    • a) out
    • b)in
    • c) up
  2. I'm sorry. We can't give you an appointment until tomorrow morning. We're short-_____ today.
    • a) footed
    • b) staffed
    • c) handled
  3. If you don't get a flu shot, you might come _____ with the flu.
    • a) up
    • b) away
    • c) down
  4. When I arrived at the doctor's office, the receptionist asked, "What's the _____ of your visit?"
    • a) nature
    • b) matter
    • c) reason
  5. Sorry, I'm going to have to give you a speeding ticket. I'd like to give you a break, but my _____ are tied.
    • a) feet
    • b) fingers
    • c) hands
  6. Jane: "Can you loan me $1,000 to pay my rent this month?" Joe: "No, I'm _____ not."
    • a) afraid
    • b) scared
    • c) worried
  7. Does Dr. Collins have any _____ tomorrow?
    • a) open
    • b) openings
    • c) closings
  8. We wanted to have dinner at Aquavit during our stay in New York, but unfortunately the restaurant was _____ solid.
    • a) reserved
    • b) busy
    • c) booked
  9. You want to see Dr. Garcia this afternoon? Hang _____ . Let me see if she's available.
    • a) up
    • b) on
    • c) in
  10. You're _____ luck. We had a cancellation so Dr. Garcia will be able to see you at 3 p.m. today.
    • a) in
    • b) on
    • c) with
Answer Key
Practice The Expressions
  1. b
  2. b
  3. c
  4. a
  5. c
  6. a
  7. b
  8. c
  9. b
  10. a
Answer Key
Language Lens: Present Unreal Events

When we talk about events that are wished for, imagined, or unreal, we often use the if/would structure. Even though we are talking about the present, the verb in the if clause is put in the past tense. This form is called the conditional.

Form it like this:
If + verb in past tense, would(or 'd) + base form of verb

If you liked football, I would invite you to the game on Saturday.
The meaning here is that you do NOT like football, so I will not be inviting you to the game.
If Ben studied harder, he'd get into Harvard.
In other words: Ben won't get into Harvard because he doesn't study hard enough.
If we had a lot of money, we'd buy a vacation home in Vermont.
But we do not have a lot of money. Therefore, we won 't be buying that vacation home!

When the verb "to be" is in the if clause, use "were" instead of "was." This is called the subjunctive mood. "If I were you" is often used to give advice (you are imaging yourself in somebody else's place or situation). The next time you want to give advice to someone, remember to say, "If I were you... " and NOT "If I was you."

If I were the boss, this office would be a lot more fun.
If I were you, I'd buy a new suit for the interview.
If I were you, I'd apply right away for that position.
If I were you, I'd join Match.com and start dating again.

Quick Quiz

Fill in the blank with the missing word or words:

  1. If I _____ a cat, I would sit by the window all day.
    • a) was
    • b) were
    • c) would be
  2. If I were you, I _____ a hybrid car.
    • a) would buy
    • b) am buying
    • c) bought
  3. If I _____ younger, I'd take a job overseas.
    • a) were
    • b) would be
    • c) am
  4. If I were in charge, I _____ everybody leave early today.
    • a) let
    • b) would let
    • c) am letting
  5. Ifl were you, I _____ looking for a new job.
    • a) start
    • b) started
    • c) would start
  6. If I _____ someone to go with, I would go to the dance tonight.
    • a) have
    • b) had
    • c) will have
  7. If Pam _____ more friendly, she wouldn't have such a hard time making friends.
    • a)were
    • b)was
    • c) will be
  8. If Chris called his mother more often, she _____ happy.
    • a) will be
    • b) were
    • c) would be
  9. If you _____ harder, you'd get a promotion.
    • a) will work
    • b) work
    • c) worked
  10. If you _____ opera, I would take you to see Don Giovanni at the Metropolitan Opera.
    • a) would like
    • b) like
    • c) liked
Answer Key
  1. b
  2. a
  3. a
  4. b
  5. c
  6. b
  7. a
  8. c
  9. c
  10. c
Answer Key
Favorite Books

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