When not hearing someone correctly, is it proper to use the word "well" as a question?

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    No‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪‪. – tchrist Sep 28 '14 at 16:41
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    No. Well as a question is used when you are waiting for an answer and you have not received one: Parent to a small boy: "What were you doing in the garage?" Small boy: <no response...> Parent: "Well? I'm waiting." IF you did not hear someone when they've addressed you, you can use (roughly in order of increasing politeness, and by no means an exhaustive list): "Huh?" "What?" "Come again" "Say again" "Could you repeat the question?" "Pardon me?" – Jim Sep 28 '14 at 16:43

The correct form is "Excuse me?". "What" is a rude form.

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    The question (rising) intonation in Excuse me? is essential. This is not a question, but it must be pronounced like one to count as a request for repetition. – John Lawler Sep 28 '14 at 16:45
  • I agree with You. The intonation is important here and should be rising - exactly as You said... – Mykolas Masaitis Sep 28 '14 at 16:47
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    “What?” is not rude as such. It is informal and not specifically polite, and if said in the wrong manner to the wrong person, it can easily be taken as rude; but informally, among friends, it is far more common than “Excuse me?”, which would probably be seen as overly polite and distant if used with friends. “Sorry?” works fairly well as both formal/polite and informal/neutral, I find. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Sep 28 '14 at 17:05
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    In Britain, the normal phrase is "Sorry?", and in very formal contexts "I beg your pardon?". Saying "Excuse me?" in that context marks you as American, or some other kind of foreigner. – Colin Fine Sep 28 '14 at 17:56

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