English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

When I explain something to my friend and I want to make sure they got what I said, what should I say?

  • "Do you understand?"
  • "Did you understand?"
  • "Have you understood?"


share|improve this question
All of the answers seem condescending or confrontational. How do teachers do it? – Mitch Mar 31 '11 at 14:06
@Mitch: "Any questions?" – MrHen Mar 31 '11 at 14:59
is this correct "Did you understood"! . if its wrong can any one explain why? – Eka Jan 25 '15 at 15:16
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Any of the examples you provided would work, but note that they could appear condescending depending on the context - like you were speaking to your friend as if you were expecting him not to understand at all.

Something more informal and deferential, at least in the United States, would be did you get all of that? or can I make anything more clear?

share|improve this answer
Indeed, or even does that make sense? – Ed Guiness Mar 31 '11 at 12:17
Even more informally, you can say see? or OK?. – Jason Orendorff Mar 31 '11 at 12:23
Got it? also comes to mind. – HaL Mar 31 '11 at 12:25
@Kiam Ahem, You are Italian - I was not referring to Italy at all ;) Capisce is American slang, used extensively in Mafia films and TV series – mplungjan Mar 31 '11 at 21:17
@Kiam Stubborn Much? books, 1950-2008 | Urban Dictionary | online slang dictionary | wiktionary – mplungjan Apr 1 '11 at 14:16

Any of these. Colloquially, the question is most commonly


and the reply


You can also ask


and this has a slightly different connotation from "Understand?", but I'm struggling to work out what the difference is. I'll come back and edit this if I work it out.

share|improve this answer
The most common colloquially where I am from is "does that make sense?" or "make sense?" It is less confrontational than "understand" (maybe it implies that, if the listener doesn't understand, it is because the speaker was not making any sense). – Kosmonaut Mar 31 '11 at 12:01
@Cosmonaut: Yes, I think you're right. I think the use of "understand?" (and even more, "understood?"), though colloquial, is only used when there is a power relationship - the higher status talking to the lower. – Colin Fine Mar 31 '11 at 15:41

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.