Checking understanding

In this video, Paul has problems understanding Bob. Listen to the language they use for checking understanding and practise saying the useful phrases.

Do the preparation exercise first. Then watch the video and do the exercises to check your understanding and practise the language.


Ana: Hi, I'm Ana. Welcome to What to Say!


Do you know what to say when you want to check your understanding? Listen out for useful language for checking your understanding. Then, we'll practise saying the new phrases – after this.


Bob: This isn't right. Hey! Excuse me, Paul, could you pass me the hammer?

Paul: Sorry, Bob, my ears are blocked. I can't hear you very well. Could you say that again, please?

Bob: The hammer. Please could you pass it to me?

Paul: The spanner?

Bob: No. The hammer! 

Paul: Sorry, Bob, I don't understand. This is the spanner! 

Bob: No, Paul, I need the hammer. It's in the toolbox, on the left, under the scissors.

Paul: Sorry, Bob. Could you repeat that more slowly, please? 

Bob: The hammer … in the toolbox … on the left … under the scissors.

Paul: On the left … under the scissors … Oh! Do you mean the hammer? Is this it?

Bob: Yes, that's right! 

Paul: Ah! Why didn't you say so?

Bob: I did! 


Ana: Hello again! Oh dear. I think Paul needs to go home and sleep. So, did you notice the useful phrases used for checking your understanding? Listen to me and then repeat.


I'm sorry?

I can't hear you very well.

Could you say that again, please?

I don't understand.

Can you repeat that more slowly, please?

Do you mean the hammer?

Is this it?

Yes, that's right! 


Ana: Try and use some of these phrases the next time you want to check your understanding in English. Bye for now! 

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Worksheet133.18 KB

Language level

A1 English level (elementary)

Hello Karan Narang,

When Paul wants to check that he has the right tool in his hand, he says 'Is this it?' You could use this in a similar situation. It's also possible to change the tense, but it would be a little difficult since in that case it might not be as clear what you mean.

'That's right' is a very common way of saying that what someone has said is correct. Like before, it's most commonly used in the present.

Hope this helps you.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Pann Nilar Htun on Fri, 18/12/2020 - 04:20

Yes, I love it and it is very useful for me.

Submitted by Ella on Thu, 17/12/2020 - 11:00

This video is very useful for my listening and speaking skills. I think if I'll listen more videos like this, I'll improve and understand more difficult phrases. Thank!

Submitted by Lylylie on Tue, 15/12/2020 - 18:07

Yeah,I liked it,this content is very useful for some situations,when you don't understand someone in english you have to know how you will ask the right phrases to communicate with other person.

Submitted by MayThuNeWin on Mon, 14/12/2020 - 18:01

That's quite good and I am really fond of teaching technique of British Council

Submitted by heri sinaga on Mon, 14/12/2020 - 05:07

i'm very happy learn about english speaking here, and this is very helpfull for me. Thank you

Submitted by Larissa330 on Thu, 10/12/2020 - 17:49

That was so useful

Submitted by Phyo Ei Ei San on Tue, 08/12/2020 - 10:07

Its that very good video. I always trust brithsh council.
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Submitted by DJ Singh on Sat, 05/12/2020 - 11:11

Yes, the video was useful to learn more common phrases like this.

Submitted by Nway Nway Aung on Thu, 03/12/2020 - 16:09

Good lesson! Thanks you!
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Submitted by zabiullah on Tue, 01/12/2020 - 17:08

this kinds of videos are very helpful and can help us to unterstand more phrases. i have learnt more useful phrases now. and i can use them in our real life. I am sorry. I can not hear that. could you say that again please? could you repeat that more slowley please? Do you mean the hummer. is this it? that is right.
I'm so pleased to see you commenting briefly here , so can you be my friend I want to practice English conversation with you? Here is my whatspp ------------

Hi Eltayeb,

Unfortunately, sharing personal contact details is not allowed in our House Rules. But you can practise conversation by writing comments and replies here on this site :)

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Marina Hornus on Sun, 29/11/2020 - 21:34

I have found the video very useful. It is worth it and funny. Bod and Poul make a perfect facial expression. I love it.

Submitted by mrelvinaliyev on Tue, 24/11/2020 - 13:27

Yeah this is video is really useful for me. I like watching video like this when I want to improve my English.

Submitted by Sridhar reddy on Sun, 22/11/2020 - 08:52

I have always loved learning English here. I wonder if there's any application available for britishcouncil

Submitted by aranis on Fri, 20/11/2020 - 15:53

this video is very usefull to me. Thanks british council

Submitted by xianglin on Wed, 18/11/2020 - 12:10

None of all video in Speaking in Skills can be turned on. There are neither pictures nor sounds. Can you help me?

Hello xianglin,

The videos are working for me. I'd suggest you try using a different browser or device to view the pages.

If that doesn't work for you, please let us know what browser version you are using and what country you are in so that I can investigate a little more.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Kirk, First thanks for your help. I'm in Australia now. I'm not familiar with computers. I'll be sure to ask you when find out. thanks again Have a good day. Xianglin.

Submitted by Hadjer hadjer on Sat, 14/11/2020 - 19:06

Yes thank you is verry useful for me

Submitted by karim.medusa on Fri, 13/11/2020 - 03:29

It's useful video

Submitted by Khin Khin Htet on Mon, 09/11/2020 - 09:52

Yes , This video is useful for me ! Thank for sharing !

Submitted by Brenda Patrici… on Thu, 05/11/2020 - 23:19

Yes, this video was very useful for me, I learned some new ways to check my understanding.

Submitted by Yati on Thu, 05/11/2020 - 14:53

Thanks, for sharing. That's very useful.

Submitted by mrelvinaliyev on Wed, 04/11/2020 - 06:14

Yeah. This video is really useful for me. I learned new words for example like hammer, spanner and etc.

Submitted by Kaique Machado on Tue, 03/11/2020 - 01:37

Yeah it was really useful i have learned that words already but I really liked the video

Submitted by kzmyr on Sat, 31/10/2020 - 17:41

Thank you for sharing

Submitted by AbuSadan2017 on Thu, 29/10/2020 - 06:39

Frankly, a very nice lesson :)

Submitted by Ahmed saber on Wed, 28/10/2020 - 01:30

yes, this video is useful for me to learn new word

Submitted by SarahNadia on Tue, 27/10/2020 - 15:58

Yes the video useful for me

Submitted by mrelvinaliyev on Tue, 27/10/2020 - 11:34

This video is useful for me to speaking and learning new words.Thanks everyone.

Submitted by pabloxje on Sun, 25/10/2020 - 03:03

Yes, this is really useful because I can repeat in the time you gave us and that is really good because in that way I try to do my best effort and do not go wrong.

Submitted by O'Prata on Sat, 24/10/2020 - 05:02

It's a very helpful video, specially the expressions about checking undestanding. In the beginnig of the video, I thought Paul said "my ears are blocks" but after seeing the context and reading the transcription I figured out he has said "my ears are blocked". The "ed" sounded "s" to me at the first sight. Thank you!

Submitted by alexiaimogen on Wed, 21/10/2020 - 06:55

Yes for sure, thank you.

Submitted by Dani Ela on Mon, 19/10/2020 - 18:17

Yes! it helped me a lot

Submitted by Sheikh MD Sazi… on Tue, 13/10/2020 - 01:11

Ye, I found the video useful.
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Submitted by AldiKurniawan345 on Mon, 12/10/2020 - 04:55

Why the video is not working?

Hello AldiKurniawan345,

I've checked the page and the video appears to be working correctly, so the problem is likely a local one. This could be a compatibility issue with your device or browser, so the first step I would suggest is to use a different device - a laptop or desktop computer rather than a mobile device - to see if that helps. You could also check your security settings to see if any kinds of mulitmedia are being blocked.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by guitardude on Sun, 11/10/2020 - 21:43

Yes I found the video useful these two men plays acting really good, they might be actors but it would be more useful if discussion part was like what it is in podcasts, you know, presenters tess and ravi want us to record ourselves about the topic, things... Actually I came this page with an expectation like this. I noticed a slight difference on prononciation of the word ''hammer''. Old man said it like ''hemmağ'' but the woman that explains the video said ''hemır''. Do they both correct ? I thought american people say it like the woman in the video and british people say it like the old man but this is british council's web site and I think they should be both british. I want to ask one more thing; 1-) Could you say that more slowly, 2-) could you say that slower, 3-) could you say that slowly. Which ones are gramatically correct ?

Hello guitardude,

There are a variety of accents in the video. The old man has a southern English accent, probably from somewhere around London or the south-east of English (Kent, Sussex, Essex, Hampshire etc.). The younger man who has problems understanding him has a northern English accent. I would place it in the north-west (Lancashire, Cheshire etc.). The presenter has a different accent which is hard to identify. Her English is very good it is American rather than English, but I think she is not a native speaker and has learned English as a second language.

At the British Council we think it's important for learners of English to be exposed to a wide range of accents and not only those form the UK. After all, when you use English outside of the classroom you need to be able to understand all sorts of varieties of English.


With regard to your last question, both more slowly and slowly are grammatically correct, though there is a difference in meaning: more slowly asks the person to reduce their speed after they have already said it once, while slowly simply instructs them how to speak without reference to a previous statement. In a situation like that in the video, I think more slowly is the best option.

The other option (slower) is not grammatically accurate as it uses an adjective where an adverb is needed. However, many people use this form in everyday speech. It's an example of non-standard grammar.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by togrul01 on Sun, 11/10/2020 - 19:57

Yeah. This video is very useful. I learned new words.

Submitted by Victor Hugo Fl… on Fri, 09/10/2020 - 22:52

very useful, to respond correctly you have to listen with attention