I sometimes need to say the equivalent of Sorry, could you repeat that? I have found one comfortable phrase (for me) to handle this situation but would like to learn other phrases to use in this case.

When speaking Cantonese I might say something like:

nei gong matyeh, ting m doh (你講乜嘢, 聽唔到 lit: what did you say, I didn't hear everything)

I'm sure that Mandarin and maybe even Cantonese speakers would not say this phrase. But people get my gist as a non-Asian. I'd be grateful for any wisdom shared so that I can communicate this concept better.

  • 1
    You could say '没听清, 能再说一遍吗?' (literal translation: didn't hear it clearly, could you say it again?)
    – user58955
    Commented Jul 24, 2014 at 16:56
  • jukuu for"Could you repeat that?" has 12 example sentences, 2 - 12 being relevant
    – user6065
    Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 16:40
  • Actually, in Cantonese you should probably use just [唔好意思,] 聽唔明. "你講乜嘢" sounds borderline rude (but then again HK people are quite abrasive anyway).
    – dda
    Commented Mar 16, 2016 at 6:35

6 Answers 6


There's no real special phrase for this situation, unlike English's "I beg your pardon". Therefore, anything conveying the sense of "please repeat" or "I didn't hear" works. For instance, as is increasingly the case in English as well, normally you could just say "what?", 什麼?.

To be a little more preciser, as well as polite / less familiar, you could say 對不起, 我沒聽清楚, "Sorry, I didn't quite catch that." And then you can ask them 可以再說一遍嗎?, "Could you repeat that?"

Really, just about any translation of what you'd say in English would work. Since there's no specific phrase, as long as the sentence is grammatically sound and makes sense, you'll be understood just fine.


What about "请你再说一遍" or "请再说一遍"?

  • I suppose this will work as well. I'm not quite sure where to put these answers with respect to a polite/formal index. It'd be great to see some more info on which is casual and alternatives that compare and contrast the more vs less formal.
    – Tommie C.
    Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 17:13

If the context is informal you could use the following: 你说什么? Literally translated it means, "You said what?". However, it figuratively translates to, "What did you say?".

  • 1
    figuratively? just Chinese grammar
    – user6065
    Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 19:29

A version with only one word: 啥?

  • Can you explain where this comes from. is it slang or not? Commented Jun 13, 2020 at 20:44
  • @information_interchange It's not a slang, it's a dialect means 'what'. I found an example from here: 当时康熙觉得很好喝,就问厨子:“这是什么粥?”厨子由于很紧张,没听清楚,就问:“啥?” Commented Jun 17, 2020 at 3:28

one could also say 请重复, which means "please repeat".

  • I'm not sure why this was voted down. Could someone knowledgable please explain why this is not a "good" answer? Or if it is okay please advise.
    – Tommie C.
    Commented Jul 26, 2014 at 5:14
  • Too mechanical perhaps?
    – Henry HO
    Commented Jul 27, 2014 at 13:16
  • Because you'd never hear anyone say that, I guess.
    – vermillon
    Commented Mar 25, 2016 at 12:02

To not sound rude, one can add 請. As in


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.