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Asking For and Giving Clarification

Learn and practice the pronunciation of phrases to ask for and provide clarification during a discussion.

In the video, the students ask for clarification and provide (give) clarification. Below is an example of each:

Asking for clarification Could you explain a bit more about what you mean?
Thanks for that example Maxine. But, could you explain a bit more about what you mean? How exactly does AI help in police work?
Providing clarification
What I mean is…
Sure, what I mean is it can improve the efficiency of police work.
Checking if others understand
Do you see what I mean?
…if the police need to identify someone, they can use facial recognition technology to quickly find a match in the database. Do you see what I mean?
Confirming if you understand (or not)
Yes, that’s clear
[Ammar] Does everyone understand? [Saher] Yes, that’s clear.

Task 1

Look at the transcript of the discussion below, and see if you can find more examples of phrases for:

  • asking for clarification
  • giving clarification
  • checking if others understand
  • confirming if you understand (or not)

When you have finished, you can download the answers here: ANSWERS.

Teacher: Good morning everyone, it’s good to see you all again. Today we’ll be discussing artificial intelligence, or AI. Let’s first consider this question: What are some of the ways that AI can improve our lives?

Maxine: I think one major benefit of AI is for the police.

Teacher: Thanks for that example Maxine. But, could you explain a bit more about what you mean? How exactly does AI help in police work?

Maxine: Sure, what I mean is it can improve the efficiency of police work. So, for example, if the police need to identify someone, they can use facial recognition technology to quickly find a match in the database. Do you see what I mean?

Teacher: Yes, that’s a good example. Can anyone else think of other ways that AI can improve our lives?

Ammar: What about with cars?

Saher: Sorry Ammar, I don’t understand how cars relate to AI.

Ammar: Sorry Saher, let me explain more clearly. I mean that AI is used to create self-driving cars.

Teacher: So Ammar, what exactly do you think are the benefits of self-driving cars?

Ammar: There are a lot of benefits. They prevent car accidents, improve traffic efficiency, and they are better for the environment.

Teacher: Can you tell us a bit more about how self-driving cars help the environment?

Ammar: Yes, so firstly, self-driving cars are likely to be electric, so that they will significantly reduce emissions. And also, the speed of self-driving cars won’t change as much, so there will be less braking and accelerating.

Saher: I partly understand. But could you please explain how less braking and accelerating helps the environment?

Ammar: Yes, sorry Saher I didn’t explain that very well. So when people are driving cars, they usually brake and accelerate a lot; more than they need to. This actually uses up more fuel or energy.

Maxine: So you mean that self-driving cars will actually save energy?

Ammar: Yes, that’s right, by braking and accelerating less than normal cars. Does everyone understand?

Saher: Yes, that’s clear.

Teacher: That’s a great example Ammar. Are there any other benefits you can think of?

Task 2: Asking for Clarification

Here are three different types of clarification that you might ask for:

  1. You don’t understand the meaning.
  2. You would like more information, details, or examples.
  3. You want to check that your understanding is correct.

Have a look at the phrases for asking for clarification. Which of the three groups above do they belong to?

You can download the answers here: ANSWERS.

  • Could you explain a bit more about what you mean?
  • How exactly does AI help in police work?
  • Could you give us an example?
  • Sorry, I don’t understand how cars relate to AI
  • So, you mean that self-driving cars save energy?
  • Could you explain how less braking helps the environment?
  • Could you explain what you mean by “ethical AI”?
  • Can you tell us a bit more about how self-driving cars help the environment?
  • What exactly do you think are the benefits of self-driving cars?

You will have the chance to listen to and practise the pronunciation of phrases for clarification in the next step.

Discussion

What’s your opinion of facial recognition technology?

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English for STEM: Understanding Technology Vocabulary

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