相手の英語を本当に理解できているかを確認する方法を身につけましょう (CBS B - Lesson 3 - Clarifying your Position) (Level: TOEIC 500-600)

Goal: Learn how to ask for repetition, clarification, and check for understanding

Lesson 3: Clarifying your position


What do you say to someone when you don’t understand? Can you think of three ways to ask for repetition?

In this lesson, you will learn how to:
1. Ask for repetition (繰り返しを依頼する)
2. Ask for clarification (聞き返して明確にする)
3. Check for understanding (解釈を確認する)


Listen to the dialogue audio first before reading the text.

Situation:  Karen is chairing the weekly Monday morning meeting. She is delegating tasks for the week ahead.           


Show only English text || Show only Japanese text || Show both texts

Karen: Good morning, everyone. I hope you all had a good weekend. I would like to discuss our priorities for the week at this time. Our top priority is finishing the marketing proposal.

みなさん、おはようございます。楽しい週末 をお過ごしになったことと思います。今週の 業務の現時点での優先順位について話した いと思います。最優先はマーケティング企画 書の完成です

Bill: I’m sorry. Didn’t we finish that last week?

すみません。それは先週仕上げませんでした か。

Karen: Yes, we did. Unfortunately, management was unhappy with it, so we need to make some changes.

そうなんです。でも残念ながら上層部はあれ に納得していないので修正を加えなければ なりません。

Chris: I see. Are you saying that we have to start again from the beginning?

なるほど。全部最初からやり直さなければな らないということですか。

Karen: No, we just need to rewrite the draft and add some charts.

いいえ、ただ案を書き直して、図表を加える だけです。

Bill: So, when is the revised proposal due?


Karen: That’s a good question. Chris, I need you to confirm the due date with Leslie at head office.

いい質問ですね。クリス、本社のレスリーに 締切日を確認して欲しいのですが。

Chris: Okay, but let me make sure I understand. I usually speak to Junko regarding marketing issues. Are you sure you want me to contact Leslie?

いいですが、ひとつ確認させてください。普 段はマーケティング関係についてはジュンコ に聞いているのです。本当にレスリーに聞い ていいのですか。

Karen: Yes, please speak to Leslie. Junko is moving to another department.

そうです、レスリーに聞いてください。ジュンコは 他の部署に異動する予定なのです。

Bill: So, in other words, you are saying we will be working a lot of overtime this week. Is that correct?

ということは、今週は長時間の残業になるという ことですね。

Karen: That’s right. We have to get this proposal finished. That will be all. Thank you for your hard work.

その通りです。この企画書は仕上げなければなり ません。以上です。ご尽力ありがとう。

Points to remember:

Overtime v Overwork

From the dialogue: "we will be working a lot of overtime.." 

Overtime - time worked in addition to one's normal working hours.

Be careful! Many Japanese English speakers often confuse overwork with overtime. 

Bad example: "I have to do overwork this evening."

Overwork - exhaust from too much work/excessive work.

Good examples: 

Overtime: "I have to work overtime this evening so I can finish my report"

Overwork: "His health broke down because of the strain of overwork".

Cultural Awareness:

Consensus Building

In a majority of companies in Japan, superiors and people with authority usually discuss important points before meetings take place. They discreetly communicate with each other to introduce points, make requests, and offer proposals. The meeting is usually held to inform other people of these decisions. New ideas are not usually brought up at that time. This business practice can be referred to as “nemawashi”.

On the other hand, the interaction in meetings is usually more dynamic in English-speaking cultures. New points are introduced on the spot, decisions can be put to a vote, and participants are encouraged to suggest alternatives without hesitation. After discussing the point, verbal approval from the superiors is usually good enough to proceed. Although consensus building is important in any business culture, there is a difference in degree of the work involved and time required.

Now double check your understanding by reading the Japanese translation:






Useful Expressions:

繰り返しを依頼する Asking for Repetition
  • それをもう一度言っていただけませんでしょうか。
  • Would you mind saying that again, please?
  • それをもう一度言っていただけませんか。
  • Could you repeat that for me, please?
  • すみません。最後の部分が聞き取れませんでした。
  • I’m sorry. I didn’t catch the last part.
聞き返して明快にする Asking for Clarification
  • 提案書を見直すということですね。
  • Are you saying that we need to revise the proposal?
  • 「はじめからやり直す」とはどういう意味でしょうか。
  • What do you mean by “start from the beginning”?
  • 言いかえると、残業をするということですね。
  • So, in other words, we need to do overtime. Is that correct?
解釈を確認をする Checking for Understanding
  • わかりましたか。
  • Did you get that? (Is that clear?)
  • 私が正しく認識しているか確かめさせてください。
  • Let me check that I have this right.
  • 復唱させてください。
  • Let me repeat that back to you.
  • お分かりですか。
  • Does that make sense?
Grammar in action:

"Didn’t we finish that last week?" 

One way English and Japanese differs is in the use of negatives for emphasis. In the above question from the dialogue, Bill is not really asking a question, he's emphaszing that something was finished last week. Compare these examples: 

"Did John finish the report?" - If you ask this way, you're simply checking if the report was finished. 

"Didn't John finish the report?" - This can either mean you think John has already finished the report or you feel that he should have finished it by now. 

Finally, here's how to answer correctly:

A: Didn't we finish that last week?

B: Yes, we did. (It was finished on Thursday)

A: Didn't we finish that last week?

B: Actually, no, it's not finished yet. (We will finish it this week)