Stop Saying “COSA?” When YOU don’t UNDERSTAND: Learn all the Alternatives!

When you learn a new language, especially at the beginning, it happens that you don’t understand very well what they are telling you. At this point it is natural to answer: “What?” But sometimes it can be, as well as trivial, even a little rude! That’s why today we will see all his best alternatives to “Cosa?”!

How to ask “CAN YOU REPEAT?” in ITALIAN!

Let’s start with the more informal alternatives:

  • Scusa? (Excuse me?)
  • Come, scusa? (Excuse me, what?)
  • Puoi ripetere? (Can you repeat?)
  • Cosa hai detto? (What did you say?)
  • Posso chiederti di ripetere? (Can I ask you to repeat?)
  • Ti dispiace dirlo di nuovo? (Do you mind to repeat once again?)
  • Mica puoi ripetere? (Could you repeat?)


– Ho comprato una macchina nuova! (I bought a new car!)
– Puoi ripetere? (Can you repeat?)

There are also alternatives that do not include a direct question, but which nevertheless suggest to your interlocutor that he should repeat what he said. For example:

  • Mi è sfuggito qualcosa… (I missed something…)
  • Non mi è molto chiaro… (Something is not clear…)
  • Penso di non aver capito… (I think I haven’t understood)
  • Qualcosa non mi torna… (Something doesn’t add up)


– Quest’anno vado in vacanza in Svezia! (This year I’m going on a holiday in Sweden!)

– Penso di non aver capito… (I think I haven’t understand…)

Do you like Rocco and Graziana’s t-shirts in the video? You can find them in the LearnAmo online store!

And finally, we have some more formal alternatives!

  • Mi scusi? (Excuse me?)
  • Mi perdoni, potrebbe ripetere? (Forgive me, could you repeat?)
  • Le chiedo perdono, potrebbe dirlo di nuovo? (I beg your pardon, could you say it again?)
  • Cortesemente, le andrebbe di ripetere? (Would you please repeat?)
  • Le dispiacerebbe se le chiedessi di ripetere? (Would you mind if I asked you to repeat?)


– Per il caffè deve prima pagare in cassa. (For the coffee you need to pay at the register first.)

– Mi perdoni, può ripetere? (I beg your pardon, could you repeat?)

And don’t forget that in the formal contexts you must use the courtesy pronoun “lei”!

As a last tip, you should know that many of the expressions we have seen can be combined, meaning that you can use more than one of them together. For example, you can combine direct and indirect questions!

Some examples:

  • Mi è sfuggito qualcosa… Può ripetere? (I missed something… Can you repeat?)
  • Scusi? Non mi è molto chiaro… (Excuse me? It’s not very clear to me…)
  • Può ripetere? Penso di non aver capito… (Can you repeat? I don’t think I understood…)
  • Come, scusa? Qualcosa non mi torna… (Excuse me, what? Something doesn’t add up…)

So do not be surprised if many Italians use them together!

As you may have noticed, it is a form of courtesy to apologize before asking for clarification: so it can be very useful to take a look also at all the alternatives to apologize!

Let’s see if you’ve mastered the contents of this class. Have a go at completing the exercises!

2 thoughts to “Stop Saying “COSA?” When YOU don’t UNDERSTAND: Learn all the Alternatives!”

  1. Voglio mandarvi “grazie” da Los Angeles. Ho trovato il suo canale up paio di messi fa e mi aiuta moltto.
    Mi piace il vostro senso d’umore. Ho appena fatto una piccola donazione. Faro’ ancora un’altra nel futuro.
    Dave Goodwin

    1. Thank you David! We are extremely happy to know that you are enjoying our lessons! We’ve just sent you an email! We hope that you received it! 🙂

Leave a Reply