Perhaps someone is talking too fast, or they used words and verb tenses you haven’t studied yet. Or, they just have a funny accent that makes it harder for you to grapple with the words.
No matter the reason, it’s a good idea to file away some quick and easy expressions for when confusion strikes. This way also, you can handle the hiccup in pride and get back to the conversation at hand.
Here are 10 of my tried and true favorites.
10 Phrases to Use When You Don’t Get It
Starting simple you can always say…
1.) Non ho capito. – I didn’t understand.
This is the easiest one to use, and basically lets the person talking know that you didn’t follow.
2.) Scusi/a, può / puoi ripetere per favore? – Excuse me, but can you repeat that please?
Great for when you just need a single sentence said again.
3.) Può / puoi ripetere per favore, ma più piano? – Can you repeat please but more slowly?
A good expression if you recognize the words but it all just flew at you too fast.
4.) C’e’ una parola che non ho capito. Cosa significa ____? – There’s a word I didn’t understand. What does ____ mean?
Perfect for when you got the gist but one word is stumping you. Don’t forget that asking is a great way to learn new words.
Now moving on to more subtle ways, to indicate you didn’t get what was being said, but without flat out indicating why or what you didn’t understand.
5.) Cioè? – That is? Which means?
I love this word. Just one simple word to basically say, “Sooo what are you trying to say?” You can use it like this:
Antonio: Graziella sembra grandiosa.
Antonio: Mi sembra una persona brava.
6.) Sono confuso/a. – I’m confused.
Simple and to the point.
7.) Non ti seguo. – I’m not following (what you said).
When you didn’t get the gist of what they said, this is a good option.
8.) Questo mi confonde. / Mi stai confondendo/ Così mi fai confondere – It confuses me.
This is a good option when someone asks if you understand and you can reply saying what they said has you a bit confused. It might look something like this:
Antonio: Hai capito?
Me: No, scusa, così mi confondi.
9.) Mi sono perso/a – I’m lost.
As in, lost in the conversation.
10.) Che cosa intendevi/a – What did you mean?
This is way to ask what the person speaking was intending to say instead of flat out saying you didn’t understand what something meant.
What about you? Do you have any other tried and true favorites for when you don’t understand? Share in the comments below!