Don’t understand an English phrase? Ask!

It happens to native speakers too. A few weeks ago I was on the playground with my daughter. I was speaking with another parent who was also from an English-speaking country. He used an English phrase I hadn’t heard before and I had no idea what he meant.

My solution was to say: “I’m sorry, I’m not familiar with that phrase. Could you explain what it means?” He did, and the conversation continued as usual.

Native speakers often use idioms in English which non-native speakers don’t understand. And as you can see, sometimes native speakers use English phrases that other native speakers don’t know.

If you don’t understand what someone has said, it’s okay to ask. (I do it too!)

Mindy Ehrhart Krull
About the author

Originally from the US, Mindy Ehrhart Krull holds a master's degree in journalism and has been teaching English and working as an author, editor and proofreader in Germany since 2008.

At DELS, she leads a team of several English trainers and language professionals.

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