DO NOT SAY 'Can you repeat?' or 'I don't understand' - ask for repetition in this BETTER way!
- Hello, everyone, and welcome back to English With Lucy.
When you are learning English,
there is one sentence that you have to say a lot,
or you feel you have to say a lot.
or please could you repeat that.
and especially when you are listening to natives speak,
it is highly likely that you won't understand everything
that they've said and you will probably want
to ask them to repeat something
Unfortunately, many students feel embarrassed
because they're saying the same sentence
A lot of my students tell me that in the end
they just give up and stop asking for repetition,
which really isn't good for their listening practise.
to help you improve your listening skills
and indirectly help you with your vocabulary as well
but if you want to improve your vocabulary
and your listening skills even further,
then I highly recommend the special method of reading books
listening to their audiobook version on Audible.
It sounds complicated but it's not so let me explain.
Take a book that you have already read in English
or a book that you would like to read in English.
I've got lots of recommendations for you
and I'm also thinking of making a video
all about the different books that you should read
Let me know down below if you would like that.
And once you've chosen that book, read it whilst listening
to the audiobook version on Audible.
I recommend Audible in particular
because they've got the most amazing range of books
with fantastic native narrators
and I really like their subscription model.
It encourages you to do a little bit each month.
Reading alone will not help you with your pronunciation
because English isn't a strictly phonetic language.
The way something is written in English
might not give you any indication
as to how that word is pronounced in English.
and the pronunciation is nearly separate.
This is why so many students find pronunciation so hard
but if you listen to a word as you read it,
your brain will start making connections
and the next time you see that word written down,
you'll know exactly how it's meant to be pronounced
and the next time you hear that word,
you'll know exactly how it's spelt.
and the best part is you can get one free audiobook
of your choice that's a 30-day free trial at Audible.
All you've got to do is click on the link
in the description box and sign up.
Give it a try because it really, really works.
Right, let's get started with the lesson.
So the first alternative way of saying,
sorry, can you repeat that, or sorry, I don't understand,
is the most natural native way.
It is just one word, it's sorry?
This is what we are most likely to say if we can't hear
or can't understand what someone is saying.
Make sure you focus on the intonation,
That way we are showing the listener that it is a question.
This is also a word that you can add on to lots
of the other phrases which are going to follow
but it's a really nice quick one and because it's so short,
you don't feel like you are repeating yourself as much
if you have to say it over and over again.
Next, we have a slightly more formal one.
Now I don't like this one as much as I like sorry.
This is because sometimes if said
with the wrong tone of voice and the wrong intonation,
it can make it sound like you're slightly offended.
If somebody says something offensive to me,
But I definitely show with my body language
If I can't understand what someone's saying,
And maybe shake my head to show
that I'm having trouble following what they're saying.
Another one which is even more formal
and this isn't even the most formal one yet.
The most formal one is coming after this one.
And this is quite a posh word.
Not everyone will consider it to be posh
but in general I think it is more of a posh word.
I remember being taught this word
by my grandmother as a little girl.
Instead of saying, what, I had to say pardon? (chuckles)
And then the most posh of all of them, the poshest is,
Now you have to be careful with the intonation of this one
because again it can be used to show offence.
If somebody says something offensive,
I could say, I beg your pardon?
It's often used in a jovial sense,
maybe to respond to an accidental innuendo
If we want to use it to ask for repetition,
you've got to say it like this.
Really showing with your body language
and that upward intonation at the end
that you are asking a question, a genuine question.
we're likely to push our body back.
Now, back to neither informal nor formal,
these are just normal phrases you can say.
This is much nicer than just, what?
Even better you can follow it with, sorry.
You could also say, what did you say?
It feels strange to repeat them over and over again
but really the intonation makes it so clear.
Now what if we want to be just really, really clear?
We could just put it out there,
you could just say, I don't understand,
could you say that again, please?
Or, I don't understand,
please could you say that again?
It doesn't really matter where you put the please
I always like to put please first
because then the person knows from the very beginning
Please, could you say that again?
pleases and thank yous were incredibly important,
overly important and it scarred me for life.
I just can't not say please, thank you.
Now if you want someone to repeat something
that they have only just said very recently
and you want to interrupt them, stop them there
and say, I want that exact sentence repeated again,
then you can use the word just.
For example, sorry what did you just say?
And note that I'm not saying what did you just say?
I'm saying what did you just say?
That's real connected speech there.
I'm missing out the tuh sound between just and say.
I'm saying jus-say instead of just say.
Just a little pronunciation tip for you there.
Or an alternative version, what did you say just then?
Again, I'm not including the tuh after just.
I'm saying jus-then, jus-then.
Now, if you didn't understand everything that someone said
but you did understand parts of it
then you could say, sorry, I didn't quite catch that?
And the quite is implying that you understood some of it,
you caught some of it but you didn't catch all of it.
And catch here is used to mean to hear and understand.
I didn't catch what you just said.
I didn't understand or hear what you just said.
An alternative for this is, sorry, I didn't quite get that.
that it's not because you didn't understand what they said,
it could be that you didn't hear what they said.
And if you can't hear what somebody is saying,
then you could say something like,
would you mind speaking up a bit?
Would you mind speaking up a bit?
This is a nicer way of saying,
please could you speak more loudly?
Or please could you speak less quietly?
To speak up is to increase the volume of one's voice.
Now if you want to make it clear
that it's not anything to do with volume,
it really is that you're just not understanding.
Your understanding little bits
but you're not managing to understand complete sentences,
you could say, sorry, I'm not following what you're saying.
I'm not following what you're saying.
Or an alternative, wait a second, I'm a bit lost.
Wait a second, I'm a bit lost.
that you would like the person to slow down.
If you're struggling to follow or you're getting lost,
it could make the speaker think
that they are speaking too quickly
and implying that they need to slow down
without you having to ask them to slow down.
If you do want to be clear about it
or they don't understand you when you're trying to imply
that they're going too quickly,
you could say, would you mind slowing down a bit,
Now, if there is a specific word or phrase
that you don't understand but you understand everything else
but you want to ask a specific question
about a specific word or phrase,
then you could point it out and say something like,
I'm not sure I understand what you mean by, word or phrase.
Or you could simplify it and say,
I'm not sure what you mean by, word or phrase.
It's a bit of a funny preposition
so make sure you learn it properly to mean by.
I'm not sure what you mean by pigeon.
Here we are, I've mentioned pigeon again. (laughs)
Just squeeze it into every video.
Now, one annoying thing about asking
for repetition is that you constantly feel
that you're interrupting someone.
But I think it's okay to interrupt
as long as you apologise for interrupting.
And you can say something as simple as,
but would you mind repeating blah, blah, blah.
Another alternative if you're with friends,
you can use a slang phrasal verb,
which is to butt in, to butt in.
Those two are really, really useful
if you feel that you're constantly stopping someone
Now let's have a look at four idioms
or slang phrases that we can use to say
that we don't understand someone
or to ask them to repeat something
or make themselves more clear.
A really fun one is, this is all Greek to me.
This is all a foreign language to me.
That would be a really funny one to use
if you are actually Greek. (laughs)
This basically means this is all impossible
Another one is, that was as clear as mud.
Just use it with friends and people
that you like to have a joke with
because you're basically saying
that what they have just said was very unclear.
And obviously a teacher or a professor
or someone you don't know that well is not going
to appreciate such a sarcastic remark.
So if someone has been trying to explain something
but they've been doing a very bad job of it,
then you can say, well, that was as clear as mud.
If you want to say that something was far too complicated
for you, you can say, that went right over my head.
It didn't go into my head, it went over like this.
I didn't understand or process any of it.
And the last one, I think this is fairly British
but if there are any Americans watching,
And this means what are you talking about.
But the phrase to go on about something implies
that somebody is talking too much.
to talk excessively about something.
So when you say, what are you on about?
It means what you're talking about?
Again, another one to use just with friends,
people you have mutual trust with
and maybe share a sense of humour with,
not professors, not teachers, not your boss.
Right, that's it for today's lesson.
I hope you enjoyed it and I hope you learned something,
and most importantly, I hope you feel more comfortable
because you absolutely should ask for repetition.
any good native speaker should not be offended
or should not get bored by you asking
I've said it in previous videos.
A really good way to get people to accept
that you're going to constantly ask them
for repetition is to flatter them
and to say, look, I really like the way you speak English,
would you mind if I ask you a couple of questions,
or ask you to repeat some things?
And then you can just use one word repetition questions
like sorry, sorry, or just gesture to them
so it's less embarrassing and awkward for both of you.
Don't forget to check out Audible.
You can claim your free audiobook,
the link is in the description box.
And don't forget to follow me on all of my social media.
I've got my Facebook, my Instagram, and my Twitter,
and I've got my new vlogging channel as well.
It was just a personal channel at first
documenting my daily life on an English farm
I've really been enjoying making them
and they've had a really lovely response
and they're all completely subtitled
so that you can pick up some new vocabulary
Right, I will see you soon for another lesson.