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Suppose that you are explaining something to someone. Which of these is more appropriate to use?

¿Me entiendes?

¿Me explico?

If you use "me explico" it could be interpreted as if you are not good enough to explain the idea.

If you use "me entiendes" it could be interpreted as if you are doubting that the person is good enough to grasp the idea.

  • So what's the preferred expression?
  • Are there any other expressions that I should use?
  • Should I just not say anything and keep going with the explanation?
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this thing happens in other languages – Theta30 Feb 22 '12 at 22:21
Maybe '¿Tiene sentido?' is best? Your asking if what your saying makes sense, which doesn't favor either side really. – Kage Feb 23 '12 at 0:40
Another common expression, but maybe restricted to Argentina, since nobody mentioned it, is “¿me seguís?” (literally, “are you following me?”. – angus Feb 23 '12 at 16:34
¿Me dejo entender? – César Feb 24 '12 at 14:53
up vote 2 down vote accepted

I agree with Michael, neither ¿me explico? or ¿me entiendes? are bad choices.

I would say that ¿me entiendes? would be the one I would use.

On the other hand ¿estamos? may be used based on the country/cultural context you are. I don't think I have ever used nor have I heard too many people use ¿estamos? to ask if I'm understanding something.

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I'm partial to ¿estamos?:

Primero A, después B y luego C. ¿Estamos? Bien, ahora tenemos que seguir con pasos D y E.

It goes particularly well at "checkpoints".

Having said that, I disagree with your premise: I don't think you're putting either your ability to explain or your interlocutor's ability to understand in doubt by asking ¿me explico? or ¿me entiendes?, especially if you're dealing with complicated concepts.

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I would go with something like

¿Se entiende?

¿Está claro?

¿Queda claro?

¿Está bien? (meaning: Do you get what I'm saying so far?)

so the other person feels more willing to say something, without feeling like he is being doubted.

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