Don’t Say ‘I UNDERSTAND YOU’ – Learn 10 Better English Phrases

Take your English to the next level, how long you would speak English as a beginner. In this spoken English practice lesson with Michelle, learn 10 better English phrases to say ‘ I Understand you’. We say this phrase often in our daily English conversations, when we have to agree with someone or for many different reasons you might require to tell someone that you understand what they are saying. In such situations, this English lesson is a good mix of Vocabulary, expressions and phrases, so that you don’t just repeat the words ‘I understand ‘ over and over again. At English speaking practice lessons are always mean to teach you English, the way it is spoken in the real world. Do watch our library of more than 1400+ English speaking lessons to improve your English and speak English fluently and confidently. Our English training videos cover topics such as English Grammar usage, English conversation for daily use, Improving pronunciation and accent, Tips on learning English, English for IELTS exams ( Ielts reading, writing, speaking & reading), American and British English lessons for students travelling overseas. 

Complete Lesson Transcript : –

“And then I saw them at Sophie’s party and the penny dropped and I finally understood that they are a couple” In British English the ‘penny dropped’ is a way of saying that ‘I understand finally’ but in this lesson we are learning many more ways to say ‘I understand’ except the boring I understand stay tuned with me my name is Michelle and here we go.

Let’s look at the first way of saying I understand. Okay instead of saying I understand you can say, ‘I realize’, all right? Now this is a slight bit serious you use I realize for a slightly serious situation, okay? So maybe someone you know is going through a hard time, all right? Maybe they’re going through a financial struggle or maybe a broken relationship and they share their experience what they’re going through with you, so in response you could say, “I realize that it’s hard for you.” I realize that it’s hard for you. So by using this you understand that someone is going through something difficult and you understand the seriousness, okay? It’s more like putting yourself in someone else’s shoe and empathizing with them, okay? Understanding what they are experiencing so you could say, I realized that it’s hard for you. There’s another way of using I realized, all right? So recently I was speaking to this girl okay, I met her just randomly somewhere and suddenly as she was speaking I realized that I had seen her before. So that’s another way of using I realize which means that you suddenly realized something. So as I said as I was speaking to her I realized that I had met her before, okay? So you can use I realize to say that I understood suddenly. So these are the two ways to use I realize. This is slightly, um I can’t say negative but then when you’re trying to empathize with someone and this is obviously positive and a very neutral and natural response, okay?

Now let’s move on to the next one that we have and that is, ‘I managed to grasp’. Okay so grasp means to get hold of something, all right? So you get hold of something when you’re trying very hard to hold it, okay? So in this situation we are talking about concepts which are very difficult to understand and I’m sure you’re aware of them especially when it comes to grammar but for me grammar is not that hard but economics is, trust me and often when I’m hearing economists talk and you know I barely understand it but somehow I manage to understand the main points, so I say that I managed to grasp the main points, so I could say, “It was a very high-level talk but I managed to grasp the main points.” Which means I managed to grasp and understand the main points. So I use this to understand a difficult concept. To understand difficult concept. Okay, so when I say that, I managed to grasp the main points, I’m using grasp all right, like grasping something as a verb, okay? However I can also use grasp as a noun, so I can say that, “His grasp of grammar is too impressive for a seven-year-old.” Which means his understanding of grammar is too impressive for a seven-year-old, all right?

The next one that we have is, ‘to get the gist of’. So gist is different from grasp, all right? Gist means understanding the main points, okay? Here you are not understanding the precise details like the details of something but you’re only understanding the main idea or the main points. So to get the gist of means to understand the main points. So for me it’s like whenever I’m back in my college days my professor used to start a new topic and I used to be sitting in for the lecture obviously when he starts a new topic I can’t understand all the details so I simply could get the gist of it, okay? That’s how you can use it in a sentence.

All right now we move on to the next one, ‘to make sense of something’ aha! So often it is right before your exam, the night before your exam that you completely lose sense of everything, okay? You can’t understand anything because everything seems so complicated. Especially when you start to read a new text, the night before your exam it’s so unclear and so complicated and then you ring off your friend and you tell her, “I read the paragraph three times but I just can’t make sense of it, can you explain it to me?” So this means, to not understand something complicated or to understand something complicated. To understand something unclear or complicated. And trust me if you start studying only the night before your exam, everything will look very unclear and you will not be able to make sense of it, so start studying before your exams.

Okay the next one that we have is, ‘I appreciate that’. So this is quite similar to I realize, okay? This meaning of I realize which means that your understanding someone’s situation. Out here your understanding, why somebody took a particular decision. So quite recently one of my friends at work told me that she was quitting and I asked her, “What happened, why are you quitting?” And she told me that her son had not been doing well for a month. Obviously I knew that but then she told me that she’s a single mother and that’s why she need to take care of him and she gets no time to take care of him while she’s working so she needed to quit. To that I told her, “I appreciate that it’s a hard decision for you.” Which means that I understand the reason why you took that decision. So I appreciate that means to understand the reason, all right? When you understand a reason you say I appreciate that and you actually are appreciating, you’re telling them that what they did is very good, okay? So to understand the reason for a decision.

Okay now let’s look at the next one, ‘comprehend’ is almost a near synonym to ‘I understand’, okay? The word comprehend, but this is very formal you might have read it in newspapers or you might have heard it on the news channels, in news headlines so if you know maybe one country is being bombed by another country not on a very serious skill but just on the borders maybe you know light skirmish, okay? Which is like small fights so you might hear in the news that, “The country has failed to comprehend the threat.” Okay which means they have failed to understand the threat from X Y Z country. All right, so this is a formal way of saying ‘I understand’, usually used in writing, okay? All right, and just to add on get the gist of, you can also get the gist of a written text or a spoken text. If you’re reading an article you can get its gist, okay?

Now we move on to the next one that we have, ‘to get it’. Now this is very informal, just the opposite of comprehend. You cannot use comprehend in your everyday speech but you often use get it, okay? Get it means to understand something it’s simply a very informal way of saying, ‘I understand’. So if there’s a new singer and everyone’s going crazy about him you could say, “Why is everyone going crazy about him, I don’t get it.” Right, which means I don’t understand or you could say, “I don’t get what the fuss is all about.” So ‘get’ here is used to say that you understand, okay?

Now let’s look at the next one that we have, ‘I get the message’. Okay, this is tricky, this is usually used when you understand the hidden message behind what someone is saying. So if your husband is going out for a dinner with his colleagues and he’s stressing again and again that it’s a formal dinner and we are going to discuss about work you should understand that you shouldn’t accompany him to that formal dinner possibly because it’s a work dinner and you know you’ll only have colleagues there no one’s bringing their family along, so you could say, “Hmm! I get the message.” Which means that you get the hidden message or the indirect message. To understand the indirect message.

Great now we have the last one and this is, ‘to get the picture’. Okay this is usually used for situations okay, essentially or talking about personalities or situations. So if somebody is telling you okay, this person is quite forgetful, um-hmm and he’s not the most organized person you could say, “Oh! I get the picture.” Which means I get the hidden meaning or I understand the situation, all right? So to understand the situation. Understand a bad situation. So, ‘I get the picture’ is usually used for a bad situation, okay? And you can use it when someone is telling you about something that happened which was very bad and you could reply okay I get the picture all right.

So here we have different ways of saying ‘I understand’ very different from saying I understand which is pretty boring and I hope this lesson was quite successful for you to learn different ways of saying that you understand something which could be I realize, I managed to grasp, I get the picture, I got the message, etc., etc., etc. So don’t wait, use them every day and get more fluent. Thank you so much for having me, this is Michelle signing off, bye-bye

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