As I mentioned, sometimes I get a task by the phone when my English boss is outside. And he is making it difficult for me to express the task with a lot of details. Therefore I wonder which expressions or sentences to ask him to describe the task briefly and politely. Here are my expressions:

  1. In short, what would like me to do?
  2. Sorry, I am afraid that I didn't get it, could you explain it in fewer words.
  3. Sorry, I don't follow you, could you explain it in another way?

My boss style is very polite, so I need to be careful when communicating. Please help me out with the expressions you think will best fit.

  • 3
    This sounds more like a The Workplace question to me. Have you considered doing the summary yourself (perhaps jotting important details down as he speaks), reciting it back to him and then asking if you got everything? Say something along the lines of Just to make sure I got everything right, I should do this, this, etc by this time. Is that correct? If you miss anything out, then he'll tell you.
    – Phil14
    Commented Sep 5, 2017 at 9:16
  • Sorry for putting the question in a wrong place. You have a good point here, what you mentioned works all the way. But in some cases, I would like to know which expressions make somebody describe those in fewer words and briefly and my boss is just an example. talking to your colleagues is another example.
    – hoangtu9x
    Commented Sep 5, 2017 at 9:23
  • The boss is in the UK?
    – Lilienthal
    Commented Sep 5, 2017 at 12:06

3 Answers 3


Generally speaking, you should be the one to summarise tasks back to your boss to show that you understand what he told you to do.

He will then either agree or clarify further on some points. After a bit of discussion, you should understand what's required of you, and your boss will know that you have a fair understanding of what he's asking you.


Try something like:

So if I understand correctly, you'd like me to [repeat your understanding of your tasks].

That will confirm your understanding (or not) and allow space for corrections as needed.


whenever you want to be polite use could it will work fine mostly.

Sorry I don't get it.Could you please explain in different way?

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