Confused? Here Are 17 Better Phrases Than ‘I Didn’t Get You’

Often during a discussion or an interview, you might find yourself puzzled by what the other person is saying, especially if they speak too fast or too low, or use expressions typical of native speakers. 

Instead of bluntly saying “I didn’t get you,” you can adopt more effective approaches. Here are some of the most effective ways I’ve found.

Formal & Professional Ways To Say “I Didn’t Get You”

  • 1. “Sorry, could you go over that point once more?”
  • 2. “Could you please explain it simply? I’m struggling to follow.”
  • 3. “Could you please talk slower so I can catch every word?”
  • 4. “Excuse me, could you please repeat that in a louder voice? I didn’t hear you.”
  • 5. “I apologize, but I need more context to understand your explanation fully.”
  • 5. “Would you please mind breaking that down further? I want to make sure I have all the details right.”

Idioms To Use

  • 1. “That was like word salad to me. Could you please make it clear?”
  • 2. “I missed the boat on that one. Could you go over it again?”
  • 3. “That sailed right over me. Could you explain in detail?”
  • 4. “I’m not quite getting the gist of that. Can you explain it again in another way?”

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Apologetic Requests for Repetition

  • 1. “Pardon me, but could you provide that information again?”
  • 2. “Forgive me for asking, but could you go over that once more? I aim to capture your message clearly.”
  • 3. “I’m sorry for any lapse in understanding, but could you kindly repeat your point?”
  • 4. “Please excuse me, but I might need you to reiterate that. I want to make sure I follow correctly.”

Phrases To Use When You Didn’t Understand Jargon or Slang

  • 1. “Would you kindly demystify that phrase for me?”
  • 2. “I’m not familiar with that expression; could you elaborate?”
  • 3. “I’m currently updating my dictionary—could you help me with that term?”
  • 4. “I’m compiling my daily dose of new words! What does that one mean?”
Confused? Here Are 17 Better Phrases Than 'I Didn’t Get You'

Body Language And Gestures That Can Indicate You Didn’t Understand

When words fail to convey understanding, our body language often takes over. Furrowed brows or wrinkles on the forehead can signal confusion as if you’re trying to figure out what was said because it doesn’t make sense. Touching their chin or lips serves a similar function.

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Another subtle cue is tilting the head; a slight tilt suggests you’re piecing together the words but have yet to catch the full message.

In addition to these signs, some people might look Away or touch their face when they do not fully grasp a point. Looking away briefly can mean they are thinking and need a second to process, not that they are being rude.

Leaning in closer when someone is speaking shows a desire to hear better and indicates that they care about understanding clearly.

What To Do When Repeated Explanations Still Don’t Clarify?

When repeated explanations still leave you scratching your head, it’s helpful to request examples that can make the concept clearer. Asking the speaker to give an example can illuminate what they mean, often providing the “aha” moment you need. 

Sometimes, different words or a different way of explaining can turn the light bulb on. Often, examples help connect the dots, making the explanation more tangible.

If that doesn’t work, you might ask them to break down the explanation into smaller parts and go over it step by step. 

If these methods aren’t helping, it might be useful to change the communicator. Sometimes, a different person has a different way of explaining the same thing, which could suddenly make everything click.

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