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How to Say “Can You Say That Again?” in Japanese

Learning how to politely ask someone to repeat themselves is an essential skill when communicating in Japanese. Whether you’re speaking formally or informally, being able to ask someone to say something again ensures effective communication and avoids any misunderstandings. In this guide, we will explore various phrases and expressions to help you master how to say “Can you say that again?” in Japanese.

Formal Ways to Say “Can You Say That Again?”

When addressing someone in a formal setting or to show respect, using appropriate polite expressions is crucial. Here are some formal ways to ask someone to repeat themselves in Japanese:

  1. もう一度おっしゃっていただけますか? (Mō ichido osshatte itadakemasu ka?) – This expression is a polite way to ask someone to repeat what they said. It literally translates to “Could you say it one more time, please?”
  2. もう一度言っていただけませんか? (Mō ichido itte itadakemasen ka?) – This phrase is similar to the previous one and means “Could you say it one more time, please?” It’s a more formal variation of asking for repetition.
  3. もう一度おっしゃっていただけますでしょうか? (Mō ichido osshatte itadakemasu deshō ka?) – This expression is a polite way to express the same meaning as the previous phrases. It translates to “Could you say it one more time, please?” and adds a sense of politeness and respect.

Informal Ways to Say “Can You Say That Again?”

If you’re in a casual setting or addressing someone of the same age or lower rank, you can use less formal expressions to ask for repetition. Here are some informal ways to say “Can you say that again?” in Japanese:

  1. もう一回言ってくれる? (Mō ikkai itte kureru?) – This phrase is a straightforward way to ask someone to repeat what they said. It translates to “Can you say it one more time?” and is commonly used in informal conversations.
  2. もう一度言ってくれる? (Mō ichido itte kureru?) – Similar to the previous expression, this one means “Can you say it one more time?” and is used in casual situations. It’s a slightly more polite variation compared to the first phrase.
  3. もう一回言ってよ。 (Mō ikkai itte yo.) – This expression is a casual way to ask someone to repeat what they said. It translates to “Say it one more time,” and is often used among friends or people of the same age group.

Common Tips and Examples

When asking someone to repeat themselves, it’s essential to maintain a polite tone and use appropriate expressions based on the context. Here are some useful tips and examples:

  • Always use the appropriate level of politeness based on the formality of the situation and the person you are addressing.
  • Consider using honorific language (keigo) when speaking to someone of higher rank or status.
  • If someone speaks too fast or you didn’t understand their words, you can use the following expressions to ask for clarification:

ちょっと速く話さないでください。 (Chotto hayaku hanasanaide kudasai.) – “Please don’t speak so fast.”

もっとゆっくり話していただけますか? (Motto yukkuri hanashite itadakemasu ka?) – “Could you speak more slowly, please?”

ちょっと聞き取れませんでした。 (Chotto kikitoremasen deshita.) – “I couldn’t catch (hear) it.”

Here are some additional examples in various contexts:

  • Formal: You’re attending a business meeting, and a colleague says something you didn’t understand. You can politely ask: “もう一度言っていただけますか?” (Mō ichido itte itadakemasu ka?)
  • Informal: You’re hanging out with friends, and someone tells a joke that you missed. You can casually ask: “もう一回言ってくれる?” (Mō ikkai itte kureru?)

Remember to always adapt your language according to the setting and the person you are speaking with.

Now that you have an understanding of different ways to ask someone to repeat themselves in Japanese, you can confidently navigate conversations and ensure effective communication. Practice these expressions to improve your skills and build stronger connections with native Japanese speakers.

Written by Madeline Sofia

こんにちは (Hello), I'm Madeline! I'm an avid linguist who loves exploring the depth and beauty of the Japanese language. My passion has led me to create comprehensive guides on saying everything from 'apple juice' and 'anguish' to 'goodbye' and 'Euthanasia' in Japanese. You could even say I'm a bit of a 日本のオタク (Japanese geek). I spend my spare time enjoying barbecues with friends, gardening my beloved Hydrangeas, and indulging in delicious Ramen noodles. Come dive into the wonderful world of Japanese language with me!

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