Learn English Blog

04 Easy way to ask questions – ‘Can I?’

I guess you will agree that asking questions is always the hardest in communication for English learners. You don't need to know advanced grammar to communicate confidently. I suggest you follow some basic patterns which you can use in many contexts. Today I am sharing the first pattern with you. You can use it to make a lot of questions in everyday communication. Watch the video and practise with me!


key takeaways

pattern structure:

Asking Questions - Free lessons | Smart English Learning

Example Questions:

Can I ask a question?

Can I talk to you for a second?

Can I sit here?

Can I have a WiFi password, please?

Can I have a look?

Where can I find the bathroom?

How can I find the city centre?

How can I get a ticket?

03 So do I / Neither do I

A little grammar for us today. This is a good grammar which you can use for your social communication, for your social formulas as we call them. So, how to agree with a person, how to say that something is the same for you.

Key Phrases to take away

Ways to agree with positive statement:

Me too

So do I / So am I / So have I / So will I / So can I etc.

Ways to agree with negative statement:

Me neither

Neither do I / Neither am I / Neither have I etc.

01 ‘How are you’ or ‘How do you do’?

Hello everybody and today we are talking about communication. So, I told you ‘hello’. This is a normal way: we say 'Hello' to greet somebody when we meet somebody. I have a question: 'How else can you do that in English?'

Key Phrases to take away

Ways to say 'hello':

Good morning! Good afternoon! Good evening! (formal)

Hello! Hi!

How are you?

How are you doing?

How is it going?​

Ways to say 'goodbye':

Bye! Goodbye!

Good day! / Have a good day!

Good night.

See you later.

Take care.

things to say when you just met a person:

Nice to meet you. - Nice to meet you too.

How do you do. - How do you do. (formal)

Figure Out English | Smart Language Learning

00 Introduction Episode

Hello everybody! This is me, Daria Storozhilova, and this is my new podcast for English learners. This will be a series of short episodes, about 5 minutes long going live on weekdays: five days a week.

In this podcast, I want to help you stop feeling lost in English. We will discuss set expressions you need to use to sound natural in English. We will fix vocabulary and pronunciation problems. And we will help you avoid stupid mistakes in English and say exactly what you want to say. So, this podcast will help you figure out how to speak English well.

Please let me know about questions you have about English, and I will make an episode about them.

Thanks for listening. You can subscribe to all episodes and free downloads with transcripts and learning notes below. Don’t forget to share and comment! See you inside!

02 Ways to say ‘I don’t understand’ in English

Today we will learn how to deal with the situation if you don't understand something.

It happens, and you shouldn’t be afraid of that. For English learners, it is quite emotional because it could show you are not fluent enough, and we don’t want to look stupid.

Don’t be afraid to ask people to repeat what they said or what they meant. There is nothing shameful about this situation. There are many factors which can interfere with understanding: noise, stress, unclear idea, different background, thinking about something else, a bad day… many of them! It’s not always about your bad English. Don’t start with blaming yourself immediately! There is no problem with asking to repeat. Not at all!

I will teach you some phrases you can use to ask people to repeat or explain what they wanted to say. Let's go!​

Key phrases to take away

How to ask to repeat​

Excuse me? Sorry? Pardon?

How to say you don't understand​

  • Sorry, I didn’t (quite) catch that.

  • Sorry, I didn’t hear what you said.

  • Sorry, I didn’t get that.

  • Could you please repeat that? (more formal)

  • Can you please repeat? (informal)

How to show you understand now​

  • Now I see, thank you.

  • Got it.

  • Now I understand, thank you very much.

How to ask for clarification​

  • Sorry, what did you mean by that?

  • Could you please be more specific?

  • Could I ask for clarification on…? (this is very polite)

  • Can you explain what you mean?

How to give clarification​

  • Let me explain…

  • To put it differently,

  • What I mean is…

  • What I was trying to say is…

10 Is grammar important? Interview with Matt Purland

This is a new episode of ‘Find Your English Voice’ podcast. Today we are talking about grammar with Matt Purland, an experienced English teacher with over fourteen years of experience teaching English full-time, in the UK and abroad. Matt has written and published 24 books and thousands of printable worksheets for teaching and learning English. His most popular course book is Big Grammar Book, which has been downloaded for free millions of times, and has been the number one most recommended resource on the Guardian Teacher’s Network for many months. You can find out more about him at purlandtraining.com, also follow him on Twitter @purlandtraining.

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Found on the web: best advice on improving your listening skills

I have created a small collection of online resources to help you improve your listening skills. Communication starts with understanding. Learners often complain that they feel frustrated if they can’t be sure they can understand people they talk to or videos or films they want to watch.

Also, great listening skills help us develop our vocabulary and general English knowledge. It’s really really important to be a good listener. Can you say you are good at listening?

This post will present you the best advice from English teachers on how to listen and understand English better.

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