There is a broad perception in the extant literature that EMI lecturers see themselves as instructors that teach through English, not about English. Nonetheless, there is some reported evidence that even in EMI classes in which the subject matter is not language-related, language-related episodes (or LREs) do occur (e.g. a lecturer stops to explain vocabulary or correct pronunciation). While there is some LRE research in EMI contexts that has focused on the lecturer, little is known about EMI students’ impressions of LREs. To address this gap, we observed the classes of three Brazilian EMI lecturers to look for verbal, paraverbal and non-verbal LREs (both lecturer and student-initiated). Language background questionnaires were administered to both lecturers and students, and all participants were interviewed about the LREs observed. Findings show some discrepancies regarding the aim and effectiveness of LREs, especially when delivered through the students’ L1 (Portuguese). Practical implications and directions for future research are also discussed.