Spanish teachers and textbooks typically teach you to use the verb repetir to get someone to repeat what they said. But if you want to sound more like a native speaker there are several other options that will keep you from sounding like you learned Spanish from a grammar book.
In this episode of the Real Life Spanish podcast series we take a look at several ways to tell someone that you didn’t hear them.
The full transcript is posted, but you can use the button below to download a zip file containing this podcast and the transcript if you’d like.ZIP Audio & Transcript
— Start of transcript —
Hi, this is Rodney and welcome to the Real Life Spanish podcast where we focus
on how Spanish is used in real life conversations.
In today’s podcast we’re going to talk about how to ask someone to repeat what
Let’s start with what Spanish teachers and textbooks typically teach, which is
to use the verb repetir.
Repítalo, Por favor
Repeat that, please
Lo siento, no entiendo, ¿podría repetir eso?
Sorry, I don’t understand, could you repeat that?
No entiendo. Repita por favor
I don’t understand. Repeat that please
The verb repetir is a great option, but native speakers certainly have several
other options that are far more common.
One of those ways to ask someone is by saying…
I would translate “¿Cómo?” as very polite “what?”
While saying “¿Cómo?” is enough, depending on who you’re talking to you may
want to be a bit more specific by letting them know if you simply didn’t hear
what they said or you didn’t understand what they said.
¿Cómo? No te escuché
What? I didn’t hear you
¿Cómo? No entiendo
What? I don’t understand
By the way, you can combine “no te escuché” or “no entiendo” with any of the
additional options we’re going to discuss.
The next option is by saying
What did you say?
“¿Que dijo?” is more of a formal and polite way of asking someone what they said
You can also say
Which is informal, meant to be used with friends or in informal situations
“¿Perdón?” is also a great option.
You could also translate that as
I beg your pardon?
This next option is one you’re more likely to hear in Spain
¿Qué has dicho?
What did you say?
Now, there’s also the direct equivalent to the English “what?”
Generally speaking, saying qué is considered somewhat rude, although among
friends and in very informal situations it’s probably ok. You definitely
shouldn’t use it in formal situations or when you want to be polite and
The last option I’ll leave you with is ¿Mande?
“¿Mande?” is extremely common in Mexico and you’ll hear this almost exclusively
over the options I mentioned above.
And that’s it.
If you want to sound more like a native speaker you now have several options
that will keep you from sounding like a walking grammar book.
That’s it for today. Stay tuned for the next episode of the Real Life Spanish
Un saludo y hasta el próximo episodio, ¡chao!