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

Beginner: A1
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.
Yes, this video was very useful for me, I learned some new ways to check my understanding.
Yeah. This video is really useful for me. I learned new words for example like hammer, spanner and etc.
Yeah it was really useful i have learned that words already but I really liked the video
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.
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!

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

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

Hello Brigitte Hogben,

I'm very sorry, but I'm afraid none of the videos on our site are available for download for legal reasons.

All of the audio on our site, however, can be downloaded, so if you find any that could be useful (see our Listening A1 section), please feel free to do so.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello casse KC,

I'm sorry for the inconvenience! Can you see the videos on this Starting Out or this Video zone page? What about videos on YouTube? Knowing the answers to these questions might help me help you.

I'd also suggest trying a different web browser or even a different device if possible. Sometimes that will solve the problem.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello casse KC,

The videos in Starting Out, as well as many others on LearnEnglish, are delivered by a service called Viddler. Viddler works on the most recent versions of the most commonly used browsers in most regions of the world. As far as I know, if you are in Haiti and are using a browser that isn't too old, it should work for you.

If you let me know what browser version you are using (do an internet search for 'find browser version'), I can look into this a little more. Without that, I'm afraid there's nothing else I can do for you other than suggest you try a different browser or device.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

I'm taking all the language that I can, and these common phrases help me. I'm going to try to use it in a script or conversation but also it's important to me to make my own phrases using grammar.
The video is great! It looks simple but it helped me a lot though I knew all these phrases before.
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