Pardon me?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

When learning a language, listening can be just as challenging as speaking because it often seems like native speakers talk too fast, doesn’t it? I’m always trying to improve my skills in Italian and Spanish and, when conversing, I usually think, “What did they just say???”

Of course it’s normal to ask someone to repeat something but politeness is important. It's best not to simply say, “What?” on its own. It can sound rather harsh, blunt, and informal. Here are some suggestions to ask for repetition:

  • Could you repeat that, please?
  • Pardon me? I beg your pardon? Pardon?
  • Would you mind repeating that?
  • Excuse me?
  • (I’m) sorry?
  • Sorry, what did you say? What was that again?
  • Sorry, could you say that again please?
  • Sorry, could you repeat it more slowly?
  • Sorry, would you mind speaking a bit slower?
  • I’m sorry, I couldn’t/didn’t hear (what you said).
  • Sorry, did you say…?
  • I didn’t quite catch that.

    Did you catch that?
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