First context

If I taught something to my students and wanted to check whether they understood me or not, what should I say ?

second context

If I were to ask them whether they are following me or not, How should I ask?

Also tell me the usage about the following expressions :

Do you get it ? Did you get it ? Got it ? Get it ? Did you get me ?

Please make them clear to me.

  • 1
    I don't think most people will give a useful answer to such a question. Either they got it and can truthfully answer "yes" or they didn't get it without really knowing and answer "yes", anyway. Just a small number will know that they didn't get it and answer "no". – I'm with Monica Jan 11 '17 at 15:50
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    First context: Do you get this or Did you get this? Second context: Are you getting this? To mean: Are you understanding what is being taught to you? Got it is too short for your contexts. – Lambie Jan 11 '17 at 16:23
  • @Lambie What could be other expressions for both contexts, would you tell me ? – yubraj Jan 11 '17 at 16:28
  • @yubraj I already told you how to phrase it in the two contexts. To get something means to understand something. I don't see where there is any problem with that. Do you get this? = Do you understand this? – Lambie Jan 11 '17 at 16:30
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    @yubraj -- yes both get it and got it mean the same thing and it is only a difference of tense. Many English speakers will not notice the tense as long as this expression is used in the context you've used. – WRX Jan 11 '17 at 16:50


  • Does everyone understand?
  • Got it? Get it?
  • Did everyone follow my explanation?
  • Are there any questions?
  • Did this make sense to you?


All of your examples work if you are speaking to students comfortable in speaking and understanding English. If you doubt that they do understand, ask them questions on what they have learned. A small quiz at the end of a lesson tells the teacher whether or not they were understood. It is the teacher's job to make the lesson understandable. If your students do not understand knowing that they don't 'get it' as quickly as possible is important.

  • Your examples are excellent, your post is excellent. However, I'm going to have to downvote you for pedagogical reasons :( – Araucaria - Not here any more. Jan 11 '17 at 16:27
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    @ Araucaria I do not understand. Why do you disagree with my pedagogical methods? I was a teacher for over thirty years, so I am interested in your reasoning. This is not about the downvote. – WRX Jan 11 '17 at 16:31
  • @ Araucaria As I said in my answer, IF you doubt a student's understanding, you ask questions. I was not here to instruct anyone on the details of how a teacher teaches. Frankly, I think teachers do best when they bring their own tools to the classroom. You have a method that works for you -- even if I would not use it. – WRX Jan 11 '17 at 22:56
  • Ok, so I think you think this is just my personal opinion. It's not, though! It's derived from lots of observation and research (not mine!). If you are observed by the British Council and you ask that question it will show up in your report as a black mark in the teaching report, and if you do it on a CELTA or DELTA course, you'll get reprimanded and it could well contribute to your failing your observation. As a Director of Studies, if a teacher persisted in doing this, I'd have to take remedial action. Perhaps see here. – Araucaria - Not here any more. Jan 12 '17 at 9:42
  • I've added a community wiki post answer on here which links to various webpages dealing with this question, including one from the British Council. Hope they're interesting/useful. They will explain better than I can why "Do you understand?" does not work. – Araucaria - Not here any more. Jan 12 '17 at 11:55

Do you get it? Did you get it?

Are pretty much interchangeable. One is present tense, the other is past tense.

Got it?

This is more terse. I would avoid using this unless you are upset with someone. It is sometimes considered rude, and would be used if you are repeating something multiple times to someone who had trouble understanding you.

Get it?

I would also avoid this one. This is commonly used when someone has told a joke, and no one laughs. The person who told the joke might ask "Get it?" to ask if people understood or "got" why the joke was funny.

Did you get me?

More casual, I would mostly use this if I was unsure as to whether or not I was heard rather than understood.

I think for most purposes, you could ask "Did you understand me?" or, "Did everyone understand the lesson?" as those are more polite.

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    I think stackexchange ethics is to suggest improvements in a comment instead of downvoting, only downvoted if you feel relevant changes have been ignored. Feel free to suggest an edit to my post if you also have an issue with my formatting. – mstorkson Jan 11 '17 at 16:38
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    I think the terseness of "Got it?" is entirely dependent on mood and tone of voice. – Kevin Jan 11 '17 at 21:34
  • Araucaria downvoted you (I think) because s/he thinks the OP was talking about teaching English and because they have a difference of opinion with you (us) about how teachers should teach. Not a good reason, imo, but that is apparently 'why'. We all have the prerogative to downvote -- for any reason we choose. – WRX Jan 11 '17 at 23:05
  • I'm talking about teaching in general. It might be teaching in English language in school. And you know, there isn't only an English text book like ESL Teaching. Everybody knows that Many subjects are taught in school. – yubraj Jan 12 '17 at 12:40
  • @yubraj Generally speaking, that's a pretty good all round general teaching principle. When I teach phonetics at university, for example, I try not to use those types of phrase, because the same principles apply. Difficult to do though! I'm not always successful. Again, you can use different types of question to check Ss' understanding in pretty much any type of classroom.. "What would happen if ...?" - "Is this the same as xyz?" - "Does it go before or after the + sign?" etc etc :-) – Araucaria - Not here any more. Jan 12 '17 at 12:47

First rule of (language) teaching:

  • Never ask your students if they understand!

First off, they will often be too embarrassed to say 'no', or too tired, or just not want to disrupt the lesson (as they see it). Secondly, they may think they understand, but in actual fact not understand at all. Thirdly, most of the time, what's really happening is that the teacher is subconsciously seeking approval from their students.

You need to use concept checking questions instead.

So, for example, you've just done an exercise where students have been reading a text with the verb blow. There's a matching exercise where your students have matched the word blow with a definition spend a lot of money on something.

Suppose you ask them: Do you understand?. They all say 'Yes'... What have you found out? Nothing! You have absolutely not one iota of evidence that they understood at all (which doesn't mean that they haven't understood - it just means that you don't know). Here's what you might do instead:

In order to find out if your students have really got the meaning of this verb we need to think about what problems or misunderstandings they might have. This is crucial, because it will inform you about what kind of checking you might need to do. So you'd want to think about the meaning, the form / usage and then the pronunciation to give you a guide, and then check them (in that order) using questions.

So, in terms of meaning, one problem students could have with that definition might be that blow doesn't just mean to spend a lot of money on something. It means to spend your money on something unimportant. If you blow your money you don't have anything substantial and important afterwards. To blow your money is to be frivolous. It's a negative thing. So you might want to use the following concept checking scenario:

  • Last week I had ten thousand Euros in the bank. Yesterday I spent all of it on a Masters degree at Oxford University. Did I blow my money?

The answer of course should be no. But even if they say no, you don't have anything to check that against. So you'll need to ask "Why not?". You might want to contrast that with a different scenario. So a next question might be:

  • Ok, so last week I had ten thousand Euros in the bank. I spent five thousand Euros at the casino, three thousand Euro's going to expensive nightclubs, and I spent two thousand Euros on a taxi from London to Edinburgh because I didn't want to get the train. Did I blow my money?

Of course, you will want to ask "Why?" after they give you the answer "Yes!".

An alternative way of checking their understanding is also very simple and less teacher-focused. You can simply say: "Tell me about the last time you blew some money on something". The phrase "Give me an example ..." is worth a billion "Do you understand?"s. You will understand very well from your student's answer whether they really understand or not. You may also find out whether they intuitively get the grammar or not and whether they have any pronunciation issues with the word.

Of course, you might also want to explicitly check whether they get the grammar. So you might want to board something like this

Yesterday (BLOW) / meal with my friends / $100.

And then say "Can you give me a sentence?". Of course what you are checking is whether they give you a sentence with $100 as the Direct Object and use the preposition on before the noun phrase "meal with my friends" (as opposed to in or with).

Lastly you might want to check if they understand exactly how the word should sound, and if they are able to physically pronounce the word correctly. I'll let you think about this one. Here are two questions/sentences you could use for checking this:

  • Repeat: "I blew all my money on fast food"

  • Do you understand how to pronounce this word?

Which one do you think will work best?

[Well, exactly!]

  • 1
    Where did the OP say s/he was teaching language? – WRX Jan 11 '17 at 16:42
  • I'm confused to have found the answers which differ from one another. – yubraj Jan 11 '17 at 16:43
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    @yubraj Differing answers are the nature of a site like this. Perhaps some of us misunderstood your question. What do you not understand about the answers? It is fine for people to have different methods and experience. YOU get to decide which answer(s) works for you. – WRX Jan 11 '17 at 16:47
  • @WillowRex They didn't, but they did say "If I taught something to my students ...", which suggests that they may, but more importantly asks about a teaching scenario ... :-) – Araucaria - Not here any more. Jan 11 '17 at 22:27
  • Okay, so then I will just disagree with you. Thanks. – WRX Jan 11 '17 at 22:53

Depends on how big an idea you're trying to explain. The bigger or stranger the idea, the less terse you want to be. If you're taking breaks to check and see if everyone understands, try something like

Make sense?

You follow?

Any questions?

However, if you're explaining an entire lesson and then asking, you want to be a bit more forgiving in your language. If you expect people to have questions because it's confusing or too much to easily digest, try something along these lines

I know that was a lot. Does everyone understand?

If you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask.

It comes down to expectations. Like I said, the bigger the idea, the longer the confirmation. On the flip side, if it's something simple or easy to grasp, you can be more terse. As an example

Turn left, then right, and then count to three. Got it?

Got it? Almost means Did you hear me? in this context. You're not asking if they understood you, because you have zero doubt they can understand the difference between left and right. You're asking if they got the message. This is why it's normally considered rude to use Get it/ Got it in conversation. Explaining Quantum Mechanics to someone and asking if they got it would be offensive because you're basically saying

It's so simple to me that I don't even need to ask if you understood, because anyone could make sense of it if they just got the message.

Since they clearly don't understand non-locality or chromodynamics on the first go, you're calling them an idiot by saying got it? That's not to say it's rude all of the time, though. If you're giving someone a number or code over the phone, you can say

Yeah, It's verification-code W359-G581-WISE3159. Got it?

Again, you're not asking if they understood the number 3. You're asking if they got the message. In fact, it's almost polite in this context to say got it, because you're making sure they have the correct information.

  • @UIdalexThanks for suggesting such useful phrases and sentences. – yubraj Jan 12 '17 at 12:32

Honestly, I don't completely understand your question, especially the part about contexts, but here's what I would say in a classroom situation to make sure everybody in the class is rolling on the same page and no one is left behind:

Is everything clear so far?
Are you following me so far?
So far so good?

As for the second question about different get expressions, they all seem fine to me except the last one.


Here is a quote from Laura Greenwood:

  • “Right?” “Does that make sense?” “Do you have it?” “OK?”

It does not matter how a teacher phrases: “Do you understand?” All of these questions are ineffective attempts at checking meaning with ESL/EFL students.

Here are some useful webpages to understand why these questions don't work. Some of them also explain what you can ask or do instead if you need to check your students' understanding:

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