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! 


Worksheet133.18 KB

Language level

Average: 4.6 (59 votes)

Submitted by rivergirls on Wed, 19/01/2022 - 17:28


Hello there,
Could you please answer what is wrong with playing this video?
When I try to enable it, this site write me connection error. What is the mistake?

Hello rivergirls,

I'm sorry to hear you're having problems with the video. I've checked to see it is working and I don't see any issue, so the problem must be a local one related to your system, device or local service provider. You could test these by checking to see if the video will play on a different device, for example, or by adjusting your multimedia settings in your browser. Beyond that, we can't help you with a local issue.

Please note that even if you can't play a video on our pages you can often find the video on YouTube by searching for the name of the video ('Checking understanding') and 'British Council'. For example, this video can be found here:

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Alihosssen on Wed, 05/01/2022 - 06:59


It’s very easy and clearly.and nos I speak fastly

Submitted by Albert73 on Fri, 31/12/2021 - 19:23


The video is very clearly, they speak english very well and slowly and it´s a colloquial languaje. The problem is when people use street lenguaje.

Submitted by Thein Htet Zaw on Tue, 21/12/2021 - 08:41


Yes, it very usefully for me.

Submitted by TRD on Sun, 19/12/2021 - 09:25


That was very useful but, could you please tell me how can I match or adopt my intonation and pronunciation with a native speaker?

Hello TRD,

In general, imitation is a good way to develop your intonation, pronunciation and speaking fluency. You could choose a phrase or sentence from this page that you think would be useful in your speaking, either because it's difficult to pronounce or because it could be useful in different conversations.

Practise saying the phrase over and over again until it's easier to pronounce it. This can take time, as often the muscles in your mouth have to move in new ways. Compare your pronunciation and intonation with the recording -- you might even want to record yourself saying the sentences and then compare your speaking to the video's.

Then do the same thing with the other phrases or sentences you've chosen. Do this a couple of times a day for several days, until you can remember and say them all confidently.

Write them down in a notebook and then choose another set of sentences from another video or listening and follow the same procedure. Gradually, you will build up your speaking fluency and vocabulary, and improve your pronunciation and listening as well.

Let us know how you get on!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by dcouto on Fri, 10/12/2021 - 15:00


Yes, basic but useful!

Submitted by Kamelbenslimane on Wed, 08/12/2021 - 19:30


yeah, I find the video useful, I learn new words.

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