Nov 24

Learn English: What to Say When You Don’t Understand Something

Please find below a number of suggestions for what you can say when you don’t understand what someone has said.


IMPORTANT: A lot of people say “What?” (including native speakers) but I strongly recommend that you do not because it sounds slightly rude, especially in Britain. Please, please, use some of the below instead:



If you can’t understand someone:


Can you repeat that, please?


Can you say that again, please?


Can you please speak more slowly?


I’m sorry, I don’t understand.


I didn’t catch that, sorry?





What does something mean?


If you are asking about the meaning of a specific word, make sure you are structuring the question correctly:





“What does it mean, ‘something’?



“What does ‘something’ mean?”

“How do you say ‘something’ in English?”

“What’s this in English?” (Pointing to an object.)

1 comment

  1. sid

    hello sir,
    my name is sid and i would like to thank you for your valuable teaching.

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