General Conversation/Bypassing Strategies

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Sometimes you don‘t understand what the others are talking about. Try not to break up the conversation. Use Bypassing Strategies instead.

If you missed a phrase or key word, or didn’t understand what was said, you can ask the others to say it again. If you admit that you didn’t understand something, you nevertheless show that you’re listening.

Asking for Repetition

  • "Can you say that again, please? "
  • "Would you mind repeating that for me again? "
  • "Would you mind going over that one more time? "
  • "Sorry, could I ask you to tell me that (piece of information) again? "
  • "Could you clarify what you meant by (challenging word)? "
  • "I don’t think I got your meaning. Could you go over that again? "
  • "Sorry to interrupt, but I didn’t catch that. Could you run it by me one more time? "
  • "Could you be more specific? "
  • "I don’t think I quite understand what you meant. Would you mind repeating that? "

Tip: You sound more polite, if you use an introductory phrase like “Would you mind…?” or “Could I ask you…?” or “Could you…?”. You can also start with a small apology, like “Sorry,” “Just a second,” “Sorry to interrupt.”

Confirm Your Understanding

You can show that you're listening actively by repeating what you have heard. It also helps the other person find a way to simplify what he or she said if you’ve misheard or misunderstood a key point.

  • "Let me see if I understood correctly. "
  • "Can I just check what I got from that? "
  • "I’d just like to confirm that I got that right. "
  • "My impression of what you said was… Is that what you meant? "
  • "So what you are saying is… Does that sound right? "
  • "Do I understand you to mean… "
  • "If I understand you correctly, you are saying… "
  • "You mean…? "
  • "I think you are saying… "
  • "In other words… "

With thanking your partner for the clarification you can show respect and are then able to move on in your conversation.

  • "Thanks for clarifying. I understand better now.
  • "Thank you for repeating that. It makes more sense to me.
  • "Thanks for explaining your point of view again. That helps me see where you’re coming from.
  • "Thanks. We seem to be on the same page now.
  • "I appreciate the clarification. Glad we agree on that.

Getting Time to think

It’s okay to take time to think. But let your partner know that you are thinking!

  • "Just a moment. "
  • "Hang on a second. "
  • "Wait a sec. "
  • "Let me think. "
  • "Uh… Um… Well… Hmm…"

See also / Siehe auch

  • RoPeCast: Word Shopping
    Dictionaries are nice – but sometimes you just can’t find what you’re looking for in any of them. This is especially true for quite a lot of everyday items for which you may not even know a word in your own mother tongue. Don’t despair! Let us invite you ...