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Phi

Senior Member
USA
Arabic
A native speaker was telling about his illness to me . I asked " how bad is it" ? He said" I can't understand". I said" I mean, Has it affected your life or your job?". He said " I can't understand" again. Can anyone tell me what the wrong was with my qustions? what was the right question in this context?
 
  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    We might more often ask, "How serious is it?" but I don't see why anyone would fail to understand your question.

    The question,"Has it affected your life or your job?" seems perfectly fine to me, though perhaps a little formal.

    I don't understand why your friend can't understand your question. Could he possibly mean that the illness made him unable to understand? That is, could "I can't understand" be an answer to your question rather than a comment on it? It seems unlikely, but it is one way of making sense of his responses.
     
    I agree with Cagey about the possible meaning of the responses. Probably that person was either unable to understand anything at all or just could not understand some specific things like that connected with a job.
     
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