Basic+ Word of the Day: understand

understand (verb) past tense: understood LISTEN

"I don't understand."

If you understand something, it means that you know the meaning of it.

  • I can’t speak Spanish, but I can understand it.

If you understand someone, it means that you know a lot about them. You know for example why they do the things that they do, or why they think the things that they think.

  • My teachers at school don't understand me.

We can use understand when we tell someone to do something, and we want to know that they will do it.

  • Be nice to your sister, do you understand?

If you understand something, it can also mean that you know why it has to happen, so you aren’t sad about it.

  • “I can’t come to your party. I have to work.” “It’s OK, I understand.”

In pop culture

In this video from the British TV show The IT Crowd, Jen has to translate at a meeting between her boss and an important Italian businessman. The only problem is that she doesn’t speak Italian, so she can’t understand anything that he’s saying!

There are other meanings of understand.

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