What? WHAT?!


When you do not understand what someone has said, please, please, please, never say What?. This is especially true when you are with strangers or in formal and business situations. It might be OK to reply with a What? when speaking in your language but in English, it is a no-no. It sounds extremely rude even if it is not your intention to be impolite.

Here are some possible, polite responses:

Sorry?

I didn’t get that.

Can you repeat, please?

Believe me when I say that after 30 years of teaching English to foreigners, hearing someone say What? still makes me wince!

2 comments

  1. Pardon? or Pardon me? should do the trick as well, i think.

    Like

    1. Quite right.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: