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Come Again!

Discussion in 'English Only' started by namlan, May 20, 2007.

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  1. namlan Senior Member

    Vietnam
    Dear friends,

    "excuse me!", "pardon me!", "what!" , "come again!"

    - What is the most common?

    Thanks so much!

    NamLan
     
  2. The Scrivener Banned

    On the "naughty step".
    England. English
    In British English I believe "pardon me" is the most common. Usually we just say "pardon".

    TS
     
  3. liliput

    liliput Senior Member

    Spain
    U.K. English
    It depends who you're talking to.
    "Pardon me" is the most polite and is not very common.
    "Excuse me" is polite and very common.
    "What?" is rather rude.
    "Come again" is very colloquial.

    I think I usually say "Sorry?" or "I'm sorry?" - the question intonation is important here, you are apologising because you haven't heard correctly but also asking them to repeat the statement.
     
  4. AngelEyes Senior Member

    English - United States
    In AE, I'd say "Excuse me" is the most common.

    But we, too, also say:
    "Pardon me?" or just "Pardon?"

    If you are using it to tell the person you didn't hear what they said, you'd say it with the question mark inflection in your voice.

    If your stepping around someone in a crowded place, you'd say it as a declarative statement/sentence with the period at the end.

    Colloquially, you'll hear:
    Say what?
    Huh?
    What?


    AngelEyes
     
  5. Musical Chairs Senior Member

    Japan & US, Japanese & English
    If you say "come again," people will think you are weird.

    I hear older people saying "pardon (me)" but "excuse me" is most common in my generation.
     
  6. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I vote for "Sorry?"

    Loob
     
  7. AWordLover

    AWordLover Senior Member

    Atlanta, Georgia USA
    USA English
    Hi All,

    All of the below should be accompanied by a quizical/puzzled look.

    Sorry
    Pardon
    What? (used most commonly in noisy environments, where you are not sure you can be heard clearly either, or by the hard of hearing)
    Sorry, I didn't hear that
    I didn't hear that.
    Please?
    Please repeat that
    Please say that again
    <Any number of grunts while wearing a quizical look and leaning in, cockying your head to bring your ear closer> Huh, ey, what
    come again (I don't think it's weird :D, but I'll try not to say it in Japan)
    did you say <X>

    These are a few that came to mind at once. The first 3 are my top three.

    AWordLover
     
  8. --Monty--- Junior Member

    English, England.
    I was always taught that "Pardon?" was rather, as my grandfather put it, "LCAV" - lower class and vulgar! (I never realised he was such a toff haha!)

    I was told to say "I'm terribly sorry I missed that, would you please repeat it?" This has been shortened by me to "Sorry I missed that" or just "Sorry?"

    In BE, "Excuse me?" and "Come again?" sound very American.

    "What?" I usually reserve for when I'm in a club and the music's too loud and is usually shouted drunkenly into someone's ear! It's also good when talking to people through glass when you can't hear them, like while you're on a bus and you see your friend at the bus stop.

    xxx
     
  9. The Scrivener Banned

    On the "naughty step".
    England. English
    I've also heard, "Do what?" This is very impolite and indicates that the person has only been half listening to what was being said.
     
  10. sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    I sometimes use "I beg your pardon" to indicate that I wish you to repeat what you said. I use "Pardon me" as an apology - for a sneeze or something of that nature.
     
  11. Nander Junior Member

    Sweden, Swedish
    I think the only time "come again" is really used, is when you hear what the person says but you can't believe your ears. Because it's an insult, or something that just seems to incredible.
     
  12. jonquiliser

    jonquiliser Senior Member

    Headquarters
    Svediż tal-Finlandja
    Oh, my favourite "what's that?" hasn't even been mentioned! Have I been saying it wrong all this time?
     
  13. The Scrivener Banned

    On the "naughty step".
    England. English
    No, don't worry. :) It's quite a popular one.
     
  14. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English
    "Could you repeat that please".

    That is my favorite. There is no ambiguity. I did not hear clearly, I need you to repeat what you said.

    With some of the other phrases, it could be that you did not understand what the speaker said, instead of not hearing what the speaker said.
     
  15. AWordLover

    AWordLover Senior Member

    Atlanta, Georgia USA
    USA English
    Hi All,
    Hi Packard,

    I think Packard's phrase is a bit more versatile than was indicated.

    situation 0:
    I didn't hear what someone said.
    Could you repeat that please. (I didn't hear you clearly, please say it again.) Just like Packard said.

    situation 1:
    I heard the person clearly, but I believe that they mispoke. I say,
    Could you repeat that please. (I'll give you another try to say what you mean)

    situation 2:
    I heard the person clearly, but what they said was complicated. I got confused while they were talking, and I hope that I'll do better if I hear it one more time.

    Could...
     
  16. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English
    It can also be a dare. Someone said something offensive and you are daring them to repeat it.
     
  17. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    New York
    USA - English
    Emily Post would have agreed with him. In her classic 1922 book Etiquette, she wrote about the use of "Padon me!" in these words:

    Mrs. Post was writing of the usages of New York's capital-S "Society" in the first part of the Twentieth Century. That being said, "pardon me" is still considered a bit of an affectation, and therefore not best form. "I beg your pardon" is more polite -- but probably the most common is "What?", or "What did you say?"
     
  18. epistolario

    epistolario Senior Member

    Philippines
    Tagalog
    Some of us were taught that "come again" is Filipinoism or Filipino English because it is commonly used here. Instead, we should use "pardon" or "I'm sorry" when speaking to an American or British. But I was surprised to hear a native American tell me "come again" when he didn't understand what I said. So, in what contexts do natives use "come again"?
     
  19. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    I have heard "'Scuse me?" in an ambiguous tone and had to surmise based on timing or subtle unconscious nonverbal cues that the person was insulted by something I said.

    I usually stick to plain "what?" or "I'm sorry I didn't hear you well. What?"

    I think "Beg pardon?" sounds most refined and respectful. Whenever I get respectable, I plan to use it. :)
     
  20. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    I wouldn't want an insult to come again, but I agree that "come again?" is most often used for something incredible.

    Except in that environment, I think "come again" does have a sort of home(l)y flavo(u)r.
     
  21. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
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