224 How to ask for clarification in English


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Are you having a hard time following conversations in English? Don't worry. Today, I'll show you some expressions you can use confidently in situations where it isn't easy to follow a conversation.

Welcome to Speak English Now podcast, with your host, Georgiana. The podcast that will help you speak English fluently with no grammar and no textbooks.

Hi, I am Georgiana, your English teacher and founder of SpeakEnglishPodcast.com. My mission is to help you speak English fluently.

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That would mean a lot to me. Thanks.

Okay, let’s start!

When we learn a new language, we are eager to practice speaking with another person. But what happens when the conversation is difficult for some reason? Maybe it's hard to keep up or follow what they tell us.

Or if you are in a conversation with people who speak very fast, and you can't hear those words at all, or you don't recognize them, you feel uncomfortable.

Although you may be embarrassed to interrupt in these situations, you can politely say that you don't understand what they have said.

So today, I will show you some expressions you can use confidently in situations where it isn't easy to follow a conversation.

Let's get started!

#1. Asking for clarification:

Sorry, I'm afraid I don't follow (you.)

By using this expression, you are suggesting that you must have it re-explained or explained differently.


"Sorry, I don't follow (you)—what exactly do you want me to do next?"

"Do you understand? No, I'm afraid I don't follow."

Here are some more phrases to ask for clarification:

"I'm not entirely sure what you mean; could you explain it again? Or…"

"Could you please say that a little slower?"

"Sorry! That went straight over my head. Could you explain it differently?"

#2. When someone asks for your opinion:

If someone asks for your opinion on a topic for which you feel unprepared, you can use the following phrases:

"It's hard to express my ideas about this topic in English, but I'll try my best.

"It's really fascinating listening to you talk, but to be honest, I don't know much about this topic."

#3. How to end the conversation:

This is a little beyond me.

By using this expression, you are ending the conversation. You are not asking for clarification; you are saying that the conversation is too difficult for you.


"I'm sure it's fascinating what you're saying, but I have to admit that it's beyond me."

I hope you are enjoying yourself.

These expressions can be very useful when we find ourselves in difficult situations and have to ask for clarification.

If you want to know how to speak English using the proper techniques, visit SpeakEnglishPodcast.com and subscribe to my mailing list. I will send you my 5-day video course, so you can learn how to speak English fluently once and for all! And it's completely free.

Read the transcript on my website: https://SpeakEnglishPodcast.com/podcast

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