Whenever I hear my boss asking a colleague through the phone whether he or she is available to talk, his question is " Can talk?"

I feel it's quite annoying and something not correct, but please correct me if I'm wrong, and advise what the correct way to ask whether someone is available to talk is?

Thanks, guys.


In informal conversation, it's possible to leave out lots of words and still communicate clearly. Obviously everyone knows what your boss is trying to say, so that goal is accomplished.

That said, as a native speaker I find this particular shortening to be taking it too far. It is unnatural to me to leave out the you in Can you talk?. It sounds like the type of mistake commonly made by foreign speakers whose native language doesn't require the you in the analogous sentence.

A more idiomatic way of saying the same thing would be

Can you talk now?

Can we talk?

Is this a good time?

Got a minute to talk?

  • Mr. Shiny, Appreciate your reply. Thanks for your proposed way of saying, "can we talk' is more comfortable to me ;). Jul 16 '14 at 1:30
  • 1
    +1 Can talk? is overly shortened for me too, but I'd be happy with just Got a minute?
    – Frank
    Jul 16 '14 at 5:37
  • Thanks mr @Frank for your comment. I also feel that "Got a minute' is appropriate to ask. Nov 5 '14 at 1:38

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