Learning to speak English? Our Everyday Conversations help you practice. Click the audio link to hear a native speaker pronounce each word while you read. Key terms are explained, in your language, at the end of each conversation. Today’s dialogue is about asking speakers to repeat themselves.
Luke: Hello? Hi, Stephanie, how are things at the office?
Stephanie: Hi, Luke! How are you? Can you please stop and pick up extra paper for the computer printer?
Luke: What did you say? Can you repeat that, please? Did you say pick up ink for the printer? Sorry, the phone is cutting out.
Stephanie: Can you hear me now? No, I need more computer paper. Listen, I’ll text you exactly what I need. Thanks, Luke. Talk to you later.
Luke: Thanks, Stephanie. Sorry, my phone has really bad reception here.
- There are a few ways to express a lack of understanding and to request additional information. The most common ones are stated, but you can also say “Excuse me” or simply “I can’t hear you.” In a more formal situation, try saying “I’m sorry?” or “I beg your pardon?” (with a rising intonation).
- When asking someone to clarify information, try saying Can you please repeat that? / Can you spell that for me? / Can you please write down the address for me?
- Cutting out describes a difficulty in understanding a caller due to poor cellphone reception. If you are having trouble understanding the caller, you can also say The line is breaking up / I am losing you. If the phone call is disconnected because of poor reception, you can say The call dropped.
- Talk to you later is the equivalent in a phone conversation of “See you later” in a regular, face-to-face conversation.
- Reception here means the availability of cellular service, the possibility to receive and give calls on a cellphone. Cellphone reception can be limited in remote areas, inside large buildings or underground (in the subway, for instance).