If you want to learn different ways of expressing confusion then join Michelle in this ESL lesson. It’s good to follow certain steps when you’re trying to express confusion because if the listener didn’t understand you at the first step, they might understand you at the second, third or fourth step. In this English lesson Michelle brings you some expressions that you could use to express confusion in your daily English conversation.
Step1: Phrases to say you didn’t understand:
I’m sorry. I don’t understand.
Situation: If you’re on the way to a restaurant. You see that you have lost your way and you stop by to ask for directions.
You: “Excuse me, Could you please help me with the way to Paestro Lounge?”
Reply: Take the first right and then a sharp left towards Tonino’s and there arrives your destination.
You: I’m sorry. I didn’t understand. Could you please repeat that?
Sorry, I didn’t catch that. (I didn’t hear what you said.)
Meaning: didn’t hear a particular word
Situation: In a classroom
Teacher: Everyone, open your books at page 178.
You: Sorry, I didn’t catch that.
I didn’t get it.
Meaning: You had difficulty understanding.
Sorry, I couldn’t hear that.
Meaning: When you can’t hear what someone said.
Step 2: Phrases to convey why you didn’t understand:
- English is not my first language.
- Please excuse my English.
- I’m not very good with English, so please bear with me. (co-operate with me)
STEP 3: Asking someone to repeat themselves:
- Could you repeat that?
- Could you say that again?
- Would you mind repeating that?
Over a phone call:
The address is 27 Oakfield Road, Clifton, Bristol.
Sorry, I didn’t get that. Would you mind repeating the road name again?
Thanks. I got it.
Could you speak up please?
Meaning: didn’t hear
Situation: When someone speaks in a very low voice.
For example: When someone is giving instructions in an examination hall – you can tell your friend- He should speak up so that those in back can hear him.
Sorry, Could you speak more slowly, please.
Meaning: Used to ask someone to speak at a slow speed.
I don’t know that word, could you please tell me what it means.
Meaning: Used when you don’t know the meaning of a particular word.
I’m sorry, I still didn’t get that.
Meaning: When you ask someone to repeat themselves a second time.
Come again… – Informal (slang)
Meaning: It is used to ask someone to repeat something that you have not heard or understood
Sally: Do you want some more carrots?
Mary: Come again?
Sally: Carrots. Do you want some more carrots?
Step 4: To Apologize for the confusion:
Sorry for the confusion.
STEP 5: To say that you understand:
I see. (I understand)
I understand now. Thankyou
I get it ( I understand)
I hope this lesson was helpful for you. I’ll be back with another fun learning lesson soon.