Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Episode 17 – Speaking Skills – Asking For Clarification

This is very good for traveling.  While I was in Malaysia, there were times that I didn’t understand someone.  Normally, I say “I’m sorry?”  Now, I’m sorry doesn’t ALWAYS MEAN when you do something wrong, it can sometimes mean when you’re asking them to repeat whatever it is they said.

In Thailand, the famous one would be “again please?”  I don’t ever remember saying this, but it’s a way to ask for clarification.

Others ways of asking are….

What does……….mean?

What exactly do you mean?

Can you explain that?

Sorry, I don’t follow. (much more professional)

People sometimes make asking for clarification offensive.  Example, you can ask nicely and openly to get a good response.  However, if you say “can you explain that” in a different tone, it can often lead to quarrels.


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