Try to remember or think of at least one phrase for checking and clarifying including each of the words below. You shouldn’t need to change the words at all (although you can if you like). You may be able to use the same sentence in more than one place below, but please try to think of at least one different one for each key word.
Compare your phrases with the answer key. Other answers may be possible, so if there are any differences please check if yours is also okay with your teacher.
Test each other in pairs, reading out phrases with one of the words missing until your partner guesses the key word.
Elicit all the phrases for one of the key words above from your partner, helping them if they get stuck.
Checking/ clarifying phrases key words
again – Can you say that again (a little more slowly/ a little more loudly)? – (NOT Can you repeat that again? VERY INFORMAL Say again.
(an)other – Can you explain that (in) another way?/ Can you put that in other words?/ Is there another way of saying that?
clear – Hopefully it’s clear (that) I mean…/ I’m not (really) clear about the meaning of…
example – Can you give (me) an example (of what you are talking about)?/ My meaning should be clearer with an example.
explain/ explanation – Can you explain a little more about…?/ Can you explain that another way?/ Can you explain that in other words?/ Have I explain myself (well)?/ You don’t seem (entirely) happy with my explanation, so…/ I can tell from your face that it still needs some explanation so…/ That’s probably not a good enough explanation, so…/ Hopefully you can understand from my explanation that… – (NOT I don’t understand your explanation./ Please explain.)
hope(fully) – I hope it’s clear that I mean…/ Hopefully I’ve made it obvious that…/ Hopefully you can understand from my explanation that…
little – Can you explain a little more about…?/ Can you speak a little louder?/ Can you say that again a little more slowly?
mean – Do you mean…?/ Did you mean to say…?/ What does… mean?/ Does that mean…?/ I’m not (entirely) sure what… means
one – Can you say that (just) one more time? – NOT One more
simple(r)/ simply – A simpler explanation is…/ In simpler terms,…/ To explain the same thing more simply,…/ Can you explain that in simpler words? – (NOT If you need a simpler explanation,…)
spell – How do you spell…?/ Can you spell… for me?/ That’s quite difficult to spell, so…/ Not many people know how to spell that, so…/ I’m not sure if you will know how to spell that or not, so… – (NOT What is the spell?)
still – I’m afraid I still don’t (fully) understand./ I’m still not sure exactly what you mean./ I still need a bit more explanation.
too – Am I going through it too quickly?/ Am I speaking too quickly? – (NOT Is that too difficult for you to understand?)
PDF version for easy saving and printing: Checking and clarifying key words