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I want to know if it is possible to say this: "He has an easy comprehension of theory and methodologies, and a complete understanding of technologies, learning very quick the use of different Business Intelligence tools."

or maybe I should change it to something like this: "He understands easily..."

I tried to find a similar sentence on Internet, but I couldn't find one.

Thanks in advance!

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  • What would make you think that this is not grammatically or perhaps semantically correct? Just that you haven't seen it before? Feb 6, 2015 at 15:19
  • I'm pretty sure He has an easy comprehension is the wrong way to say it's easy for him to comprehend. If you have a comprehension, it means you comprehend something. It has nothing to do with your ability to comprehend.
    – DanielST
    Feb 6, 2015 at 15:23
  • @MattGutting Yes, that's the reason. I searched it in Google, but I couldn't find a similar sentence. I'm a Spanish speaker, and sometimes for me it sounds very good, but maybe it´s because my Spanish.
    – fvildoso
    Feb 6, 2015 at 15:26
  • My suggestion is to put that fact "I searched ... but I couldn't find a similar sentence" in your question, so that people can see what your research was. Is there an equivalent correct-sounding phrase in Spanish? Feb 6, 2015 at 15:31
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    @Kris Has a way with/of comprehending works fine, but it isn't the same as Has an easy comprehension of. Replace comprehension with building (action). I have an easy building is wrong. Instead it would be I have an easy time building. Not the best example though.
    – DanielST
    Feb 6, 2015 at 15:54

3 Answers 3

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It is not wrong, but it is unidiomatic.

When easy is applied to a task, it means "not causing difficulty". "An easy climb", "an easy class", "easy as fishing". Effectively, it means "done with ease".

When easy is applied to a human attribute, it usually means "unforced, natural". "An easy smile", "an easy laugh". It means "done at ease".

If you were to say someone had "an easy erudition", it would not mean he acquired the erudition easily, but that he displays it without the display seeming mannered or overbearing.

If you were to say someone had an "easy comprehension", my immediate interpretation would be that he comprehended the subject while seeming relaxed and unhurried. Since that does not make much sense, I would eventually realize you meant that he had a "ready comprehension" of the subject matter, and that comprehending it was easy.

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He has an easy comprehension of

Easy comprehension is OK is some contexts:

  • Use a dictionary for the easy comprehension of the text.

But I can't think of way you could have an easy comprehension.

Merriam-Webster

COMPREHENSION

a. the act or action of grasping with the intellect: understanding

b. knowledge gained by comprehending

c. the capacity for understanding fully <mysteries that are beyond our comprehension>

The word have makes comprehension not (a), an act or action, since you cannot have an action.

If it's (b), knowledge gained, we have he has an easy knowledge gained, then easy is describing the knowledge and not the ability to gain it. This is unlikely to be the intended meaning. Instead you would need to change it to he has an easy time gaining knowledge

If it's (c), the capacity for understanding fully, we have he has an easy capacity for. This is the closest meaning, but the word easy is a strange way to describe capacity. Instead, you would use he has an excellent capacity for understanding x.

Two good alternatives, depending on exactly what you want to say:

He has an easy time comprehending theory and methodologies

He has an excellent comprehension of theory and methodologies

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Yes, 'has an easy understanding/comprehension of X' means 'has no trouble at all understanding X'. It means understanding comes naturally.

An example is given in Steve Weinburg's A Journal of Humanity ...

Atwater "is a sensible man, has an easy understanding of students and what drives them ..."

AHDEL's first definition for easy covers this sense [bolding mine]

easy adj. ...

1. a. Capable of being accomplished or acquired with ease; posing no difficulty:

but that doesn't mean that other collocations necessarily exist or have the same sense of 'easy' (*/?an easy wisdom; an easy life; an easy mark).

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    Can you actually use it the same way as understanding? has an easy understanding of is fairly common, but as you mention, that structure of an easy x isn't a general rule. I can only find uses of an easy comprehension in book titles and the like, where it's promising an easy comprehension. I have an easy comprehension just sounds wrong.
    – DanielST
    Feb 6, 2015 at 16:33
  • Good point. There are surprisingly few Google hits for "have an easy comprehension of", but 'comprehension' and 'understanding' are such close synonyms here that I don't think many people happy with one would be unhappy with the other. Other examples include 'has an easy intelligence / wisdom'. Again, they're rare, but the 'this character trait comes naturally' sense of 'easy' isn't very common overall. Feb 6, 2015 at 16:39

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