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It is absolutely common in Malaysia, especially within a large community here, to use the phrase "I was made to understand ...." It can be heard in daily conversations as well as as read it in formal written pieces.

Examples:

  1. I was made to understand that the flight will be delayed due to the bad weather conditions.

  2. I was made to understand that your hotel does not have family suites.

While most people here understand the meaning and why this phrase is used, I would like to ask if peoples in other parts of the world understand it. What is your interpretation when you hear this phrase?

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    It is due to the influence of the native idiom. In the English language, we usually say given to understand, instead as Mick noted. More commonly, we just say "I understand that ..." to mean the same thing. HTH.
    – Kris
    Oct 25, 2016 at 7:36
  • See also English Language Learners
    – Kris
    Oct 25, 2016 at 7:37
  • Thanks. It's so common and acceptable to use it here nowadays. When this phrase was first used, I felt it was funny.
    – user202646
    Oct 26, 2016 at 8:57

1 Answer 1

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In BrE, "made to understand" sounds as if someone has been abusive to you. "Led to understand" is more usual. "Given to understand" is old-fashioned (and rather formal) but will make you sound well-educated (at least, in the UK). Of course, you could just use "I understand that...", which is probably the most common way of putting it.

  • I was led to understand that your hotel does not have family suites.
  • I was given to understand that your hotel does not have family suites.
  • I understand that your hotel does not have family suites.

Collins English Dictionary: give someone to understand

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    Yes. Made to understand... implies a disciplinary action has taken place (not necessarily abusive). The footballer was made to understand that the referee would not tolerate use of the elbow, by being given a yellow card.
    – WS2
    Oct 25, 2016 at 6:42
  • We can use the verb come when the understanding took place over a time period and/or you don't want to imply someone told you something specific. "I came to understand that many shopkeepers there were lax about opening and closing times."
    – DjinTonic
    Apr 10, 2022 at 11:28

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