Asking Questions in Class

Raising a Hand
Raising a Hand. Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images

Here is a list of some of the most common phrases used for asking questions in the classroom. Learn the phrases and use them often!

Asking to Ask a Question

Can I ask a question?
May I ask a question?

Asking for Something
        
Can I have a pen, please?
Do you have a pen for me?
May I have a pen, please?

Asking about Words
    
What's "(the word)" in English?
What does "(the word)" mean?
How do you spell "(the word)"?
How do you use "(the word)" in a sentence?
Can you use "(the word or phrase)" in a sentence?

Asking about Pronunciation

How do you say "(the word in your language)" in English?
Can you pronounce "(the word)"?
How do you pronounce "(the word)"?
Where's the stress in "(the word)"?

Asking about Idioms

Is there an idiom for "(your explanation)"?
Is "(an idiom)" an idioms?

Asking to Repeat

Could / Can you repeat that, please?
Could / can you say that again, please?
Pardon me?

Apologizing        

Excuse me, please.
I'm sorry.
Sorry about that.
Sorry I'm late for class.

Saying Hello and Goodbye

Good morning / afternoon / evening!
Hello / Hi
How are you?
Goodbye
Have a good weekend / day / evening / time!

Asking for Opinions

What do you think about (topic)?
What's your opinion about (topic)?

Practice Classroom Dialogues

Arriving Late for Class

Teacher: Good morning class.
Students: Good morning.

Teacher: How are you today?
Students: Fine. How about you?

Teacher: I'm fine, thanks. Where is Hans?
Student 1: He's late. I think he missed the bus.

Teacher: OK. Thank you for letting me know. Let's get started.
Hans (arriving late): Sorry I'm late.

Teacher: That's OK. I'm glad you're here!
Hans: Thank you. May I ask a question?

Teacher: Certainly! 
Hans: How do you spell "complicated"?

Teacher: Complicated is complicated! C - O - M - P - L - I - C - A - T - E - D
Hans: Could you repeat that, please?

Teacher: Of course. C - O - M - P - L - I - C - A - T - E - D
Hans: Thank you. 

Understanding Words in Class

Teacher: ... please complete page 35 as follow-up to this lesson.
Student: Could you say that again, please?

Teacher: Sure. Please do page 35 to make sure you understand.
Student: Excuse me, please. What does "follow-up" mean?

Teacher: "Follow-up" is something you do to repeat or continue something you're working on.
Student: Is "follow-up" an idiom?

Teacher: No, it's an expression. An idiom is a full sentence expressing an idea.
Student: Can you give me an example of an idiom?

Teacher: Certainly. "It's raining cats and dogs" is an idiom.
Student: Oh, I understand now. 

Teacher: Great! Are there any other questions?
Student 2: Yes. Could you use "follow-up" in a sentence?

Teacher: Good question. Let me think ... I'd like to do some follow-up to our discussion last week. Does that make sense?
Student 2: Yes, I think I understand. Thank you.

Teacher: My pleasure.

Asking about a Topic

Teacher: Let's talk about the weekend. What did you do this weekend?
Student: I went to a concert.

Teacher: Oh, interesting! What kind of music did they play?
Student: I'm not sure. It was in a bar. It wasn't pop, but it was nice.

Teacher: Maybe it was hip-hop?
Student: No, I don't think so. There was a piano, drums and a saxophone.

Teacher: Oh, was it jazz?
Student: Yes, that's it! 

Teacher: What's your opinion of jazz?
Student: I like it, but it's kind of crazy.

Teacher: Why do you think that?
Student: It didn't have a song.

Teacher: I'm not sure what you mean by 'song'. Do you mean that no one was singing?
Student: No, but it was crazy, you know, up and down.

Teacher: Maybe it didn't have a melody?
Student: Yes, I think that's it. What's "melody" mean?

Teacher: That's hard. It's the main tune. You can think of the melody as the song you would sing along with the radio.
Student: I understand. Where's the stress in "melody"?

Teacher: It's on the first syllable. ME - lo - dy.
Student: Thank you.