I always knew that "to understand " is not used to get the meaning of sentence but is used just for the language comprehension

So my question is, in the sentence above which is the best between understand and figure out verbs?

"Given a requested resource list is interesting to understand/figure out if these resource have been returned or the server has returned an error"

Thanks in advance Dom

  • 1
    Given a requested resource list it is important to determine if the resources have been returned or the server has returned an error.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Nov 1, 2015 at 21:45

3 Answers 3


Figure out to me implies some investigation of the issue, whereas understand refers to the end result not the method.

In this instance I would suggest using 'determine'.

  • Please, give me an example
    – CDominik
    Commented Nov 1, 2015 at 20:21
  • I need to understand calculus for my exam. I need to figure out the dependencies of this process. Commented Nov 1, 2015 at 20:24

To figure something out is to achieve understanding by one's own thinking. One can also achieve understanding by reading, by listening to smart people's explanations, or by direct observation of something; I wouldn't use "figure out" to describe those situations.


To add to the other responses: to figure out is quite informal, and hence, incompatible with the very formal Given.

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