Speaking: Checking you have understood correctly

Speaking: Expressions to check you have understood something correctly
Lower intermediate to advanced level (B1-C1)

Even native speakers need to check that they have understood what they heard or read. To do this, you can use a range of expressions.

When you are not speaking your mother tongue, it is even more important to be able to check that you know what’s happening. Here are some expressions given in the context of a conversation:

Does that mean …?
A: I’m feeling really unwell today.
B: Does that mean you won’t be going in to work?
A: No, I don’t think so. I wouldn’t be able to concentrate in the office.

So you are saying …
A: The tests results were not clear. It’s a big problem.
B: So you are saying we’ll probably have to repeat the tests again?
A: Yes it seems like it.

In other words …
A:The company has made a big loss this year and we need to let some people go.
B: In other words I’m out of a job.
A: I’m afraid so. I’m very sorry.

If I have understood (you) correctly, …
A: There is an outbreak of norovirus on the cruise ship
B: If I have understood (you) correctly, we should be very careful to wash our hands properly.
A: Yes, that would be a wise thing to do.

And here are some more:

So do you mean to say (that) …?

Are you saying (that) …?

So am I right in saying …?

So the basic idea is …

Do you mean …?

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