I don’t understand!

I don’t understand!

How do you ask for help in English if you don’t understand or want someone to repeat something? Do you have any standard phrases that you use? I know I do when I’m speaking French.

You might feel embarrassed to ask for help, or maybe you’re worried that your question won’t be understood. Here, in the first of several posts, I’m going to explore the language we use when asking for help and clarification.

I will start with the basics (Level A1-A2); a few simple sentences that are essential to learn when you start speaking English. These are standard phrases that anglophones use to repeat and clarify information, so don’t be embarrassed to use them.

I have recorded the sentences to demonstrate the pronunciation. Click on the buttons below to listen. Try to follow my intonation (rise and fall) and accentuation (rhythm). Repeat the sentences several times. Can you hear the ‘music’ in my voice?  Practise these sentences once a week, to ensure you’re ready for your next conversation in English.

Asking for help – Basics

Question 1
Sorry, can you repeat that?
Question 2
Can you speak more slowly, please?
Question 3
How do you spell that?
Question 4
Can you write the word, please?
Question 5
How do you say (fenêtre) in English?
Question 6
I’m sorry, I don’t understand.*

* The last sentence should only be used when you don’t understand anything.

Now it's your turn.

Click on the ‘PUSH TO SPEAK’ button to practice the sentences. Can you say them correctly?

Do you have any other sentences you use? What would you say in French to ask the same questions?

Please comment below.


Cet article a 3 commentaires

  1. Geraldine

    Hi there, just wanted to tell you, I liked this blog post.
    It was practical. Keep on posting!

    1. A J Smith

      Thanks Maxime. Next month I have something that will help with one of the most common faults for French speakers…

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