Asking for Repetition & Clarification

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“I’m sorry, can you please repeat that?”

Do you need to say this a lot?  Don’t worry – you’re not alone.  It can be really difficult to understand English speakers when they speak naturally.  Sometimes it’s hard for native speakers to understand you, too.

The good news is everybody needs to ask for repetition & clarification (make sure you understand).  Think about when you speak in your first language – how often you say things like, “I want to make sure I understand,” or “Is that right?”  Clarification is a natural part of any conversation.

Here are some ways to ask for repetition & clarification and make sure the listener understands you:

Ask for Repetition & Clarification

  • Pardon me?
  • Can you please repeat that?
  • I’m sorry, I don’t understand.
  • I’m not sure I understand what you mean.
  • Sorry, I’m not following you.
  • I didn’t catch that.


Check if the Listener Understands

  • Do you understand?
  • Do you know what I mean?
  • Do you get what I’m saying?
  • OK so far?
  • Are you with me?

Practice these expressions for 5 minutes every day this week.  Also, try to use these phrases in your everyday conversations to make the communication clear and interesting.  Remember that it’s okay if you don’t understand or the other person doesn’t understand you – smile, use your phrases for clarifying, and enjoy the conversation!

To work with a Certified Teacher to improve your accent Contact Laura Meet in-person in Toronto or online from anywhere in the world on Skype

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