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How to Professionally Say I Don’t Understand

i don t understand

In a professional context, it is crucial to effectively communicate your lack of understanding without sounding incompetent or disrespectful. Knowing how to express “I don’t understand” in a professional manner can help you engage effectively and ensure clear communication. Whether you need a clear explanation, assistance in comprehending a concept, or further clarification, there are various ways to tactfully convey your confusion.

Professionally Say I Don’t Understand

37 alternative, detailed, and well-structured responses for different scenarios where you might need to express that you don’t understand, in a professional manner

  1. Could you clarify your point on…?
    This request suggests that you’re engaged but need a bit more information to fully grasp the concept.
  2. I’m not sure I’m following you. Could you elaborate on that?
    Expresses that you’re trying to understand but require additional details or an explanation.
  3. I’m finding it a bit challenging to understand… Could you explain it in another way?
    Politely indicates that the current explanation isn’t clear to you and asks for an alternative explanation.
  4. Would you mind providing more context on this matter?
    Shows your interest and asks for further information to better understand the situation.
  5. I’m not familiar with this concept. Could you help me understand it better?
    Openly admits your unfamiliarity and seeks assistance in gaining a better understanding.
  6. This is quite new to me. Can we dive deeper into this topic?
    Indicates that the topic is unfamiliar but you’re eager to learn more about it.
  7. Can you break this down into simpler terms?
    Asks for the information to be presented in a more understandable or less complex way.
  8. I’m having a bit of trouble visualizing this. Could you give an example?
    Suggests that an example might help you better understand the concept.
  9. It seems I’ve missed the point. Could you summarize the main idea again?
    Admits that you haven’t grasped the core message and asks for a recap.
  10. I must admit, this is quite complex. Could you outline the key points?
    Acknowledges the complexity of the topic and requests a simplification.
  11. Could we revisit the part about…? It’s not entirely clear to me.
    Asks to go back to a specific part of the conversation that was confusing.
  12. I’d appreciate more details on… to fully grasp the concept.
    Expresses a desire for additional details to understand the concept better.
  13. I’m struggling to see how… Can you clarify?
    Indicates confusion about a specific point and asks for clarification.
  14. Could you specify what you mean by…?
    Asks for clarification on a particular term or phrase.
  15. I’m curious to learn more about… Could you explain further?
    Shows interest and asks for more in-depth information.
  16. The connection between… is unclear to me. Could you elaborate?
    Points out a specific area of confusion and asks for further explanation.
  17. I’m not entirely sure I catch your meaning. Could you rephrase that?
    Politely indicates that the message wasn’t clear and asks for it to be said differently.
  18. Would you mind going over… once more? I want to ensure I understand correctly.
    Expresses a desire to fully understand by reviewing the information again.
  19. I’m not quite catching the link between… Can you help me connect the dots?
    Shows that you’re trying to understand the relationship between two concepts and asks for help in doing so.
  20. Could you expand on that a bit more?
    Asks for additional information or clarification on a subject.
  21. I’m not sure I grasp the full implications of this. Can we delve a bit deeper?
    Expresses uncertainty about the consequences or deeper meanings and asks to explore further.
  22. This seems important, and I’d like to understand it better. Could you detail it for me?
    Acknowledges the importance of the topic and asks for a detailed explanation.
  23. Perhaps I’m missing something here. Could you explain it to me as if I’m unfamiliar with the subject?
    Suggests that an explanation from the basics could be helpful.
  24. I’m having difficulty understanding the concept of… Could we go over it again?
    Admits difficulty with a concept and requests another explanation.
  25. Could you help me understand what led to…?
    Asks for an explanation of the reasoning or events leading to a specific outcome or idea.
  26. I’d like to grasp this better. Could you point me towards some additional resources?
    Shows a willingness to do further research and asks for resources.
  27. This is a bit outside my area of expertise. Could you simplify it for me?
    Acknowledges that the topic is beyond your current knowledge and asks for a simpler explanation.
  28. Can you illustrate that idea with an example?
    Asks for an example to help illustrate and understand the concept better.
  29. I’m trying to wrap my head around this. Can we approach it from a different angle?
    Expresses a struggle to understand and asks to look at the topic from a new perspective.
  30. I need a bit more information to fully understand the context. Could you elaborate?
    Indicates a need for more context to understand the situation completely.
  31. Could we slow down a bit? I want to make sure I’m keeping up with all the details.
    Requests to slow the pace of information delivery to ensure understanding.
  32. I’m not quite sure I understand the significance of… Could you explain why it’s important?
    Asks for an explanation of the importance of a specific point or concept.
  33. This topic seems complex. Could you explain the key aspects in layman’s terms?
    Requests an explanation in simple, everyday language to better understand complex topics.
  34. I feel I’m not fully understanding the impact of this. Can we discuss it in more detail?
    Expresses a need for a more in-depth discussion to understand the impact fully.
  35. Can you summarize the main points again? I want to make sure I’ve got them right.
    Asks for a summary to confirm understanding of the main points.
  36. I’m not entirely clear on your stance. Could you state it more plainly?
    Asks for a clearer expression of someone’s position or opinion.
  37. It appears I’ve overlooked a crucial point. Could you point it out for me?
    Admits possibly missing an important detail and asks for it to be highlighted.

Polite Ways to Express Lack of Understanding

Each of these responses is designed to be respectful and professional, showing your engagement and willingness to understand, rather than simply stating a lack of understanding. They can be adapted to fit various professional settings, from meetings and presentations to emails and reports.


How can I professionally say “I don’t understand”?

There are various ways to express confusion in a professional manner. Some polite phrases you can use include “Could you repeat the question?” or “Can you clarify that for me?”. These phrases allow you to convey your lack of understanding without sounding unprofessional or rude.

What are some ways to politely express a lack of understanding?

If you find yourself unsure of what is being said, you can politely ask the person to speak louder or rephrase the question. This can help ensure better comprehension and clarity in the conversation.

Are there informal expressions for clarifying when I don’t understand?

Yes, in more casual or informal situations, you can use expressions like “sorry?”, “excuse me?”, or “huh?”. However, it is essential to consider the context and your relationship with the person you are speaking to before using these expressions. Additionally, idioms like “This is all Greek to me” or “I can’t make head nor tail of what you’re saying” can add a creative touch to your expression of confusion.

Jessica Smith

Jessica Smith

Jessica Smith, writer at, blends creativity with insight, exploring technology, culture, and psychology. With a background in English Literature, she crafts engaging stories inspired by nature and urban life. Outside writing, she enjoys exploring and continuous learning.View Author posts

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