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Understood vs. Understand: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
"Understood" is the past tense and past participle of "understand," implying a completed action. "Understand" is the present tense, indicating an ongoing process or current state.
Understood vs. Understand

Key Differences

"Understood," as the past tense of "understand," refers to comprehension that has already been achieved. It implies that the process of understanding is complete. On the other hand, "understand" in its present tense form indicates an active process of comprehending or grasping the meaning, nature, or importance of something. The focus with "understand" is on the current act of comprehension.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023
In terms of usage, "understood" often signifies agreement or acknowledgment that has been reached in the past. For example, "It was understood that they would share the profits equally." Contrastingly, "understand" is used to express ongoing comprehension or the need for clarification, as in, "Do you understand the instructions?"
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023
When considering their grammatical roles, "understood" can serve as both an adjective and a verb, depending on the context. As an adjective, it can describe something as known or comprehended, as in "an understood fact." As a verb, it marks the completion of understanding. In contrast, "understand" is primarily used as a verb in the present tense, focusing on the current process of understanding.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023
"Understood" can also imply a form of passive acceptance or a tacit agreement, where something is accepted without being explicitly stated. "The risks were understood by all involved." In contrast, "understand" is more proactive and requires active engagement, such as in learning or communication scenarios. "I am trying to understand the concept."
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023
In a broader context, "understood" can convey a sense of resignation or acceptance, whereas "understand" often involves exploration or inquiry. "Understood" closes the dialogue on a topic, suggesting that no further explanation is needed, while "understand" keeps the conversation open, inviting more explanation or discussion.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Tense

Past tense and past participle.
Present tense.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Implication

Implies completed action or comprehension.
Indicates ongoing process or current comprehension.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Usage in Sentences

Often used to signify past agreement or acknowledgment.
Used to express current understanding or inquiry.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Grammatical Role

Can be a verb (past tense) or an adjective.
Primarily used as a verb in the present tense.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Contextual Implication

Suggests closure or acceptance of a situation.
Implies active engagement or exploration.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023
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Understood and Understand Definitions

Understood

Acknowledged or agreed upon implicitly.
The rules were understood, though never formally stated.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Understand

Perceive what is meant by someone or something.
I understand what you're saying, but I disagree.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Understood

Perceived or comprehended the meaning.
After the explanation, the complex theory was finally understood.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Understand

Grasp the meaning, nature, or importance of something.
She tries to understand the complex physics behind the experiment.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Understood

Recognized the significance or explanation of something.
He understood why she was upset after she explained her feelings.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023
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Understand

Have knowledge or a firm grasp of a language or subject.
He understands Spanish fluently.
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Nov 20, 2023

Understood

Past tense and past participle of understand.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Understand

To become aware of the nature and significance of; know or comprehend
She understands the difficulty involved.
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Oct 19, 2023

Understood

Agreed on; assumed
The understood conditions of troop withdrawal.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Understand

To become aware of the intended meaning of (a person or remark, for example)
We understand what they're saying.
We just disagree with it. When he began describing his eccentric theories, we could no longer understand him.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Understood

Not expressed in writing; implied
The understood provisos of a custody agreement.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Understand

To know and be tolerant or sympathetic toward
Hoped that they would understand my complaint.
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Oct 19, 2023

Understood

Having been comprehended.
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Oct 19, 2023

Understand

To know thoroughly by close contact or long experience with
That teacher understands children. I understand the basics of car repair.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Understood

Simple past tense and past participle of understand
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Oct 19, 2023

Understand

To learn indirectly or infer, as from hearsay
I understand his departure was unexpected. Am I to understand you are staying the night?.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Understood

Indicates comprehension on the part of the speaker.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Understand

To assume to be or accept as agreed
It is understood that the fee will be $50.
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Oct 19, 2023

Understood

Fully apprehended as to purport or meaning or explanation;
The understood conditions of troop withdrawal were clear
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Understand

To supply or add (words or a meaning, for example) mentally
A verb is understood at the end of the statement "Yes, let's.".
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Understood

Indicated by necessary connotation though not expressed directly;
Gave silent consent
A tacit agreement
The understood provisos of a custody agreement
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Understand

To have understanding, knowledge, or comprehension.
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Oct 19, 2023

Understood

Accepted as a norm or convention.
In our culture, it's understood that you should take off your shoes indoors.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Understand

To have sympathy or tolerance
You're upset. I understand.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Understood

Used to express comprehension or agreement.
I will meet you at 5 PM, Understood.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Understand

To learn something indirectly or secondhand; gather.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Understand

(transitive) To grasp a concept fully in one's mind, especially (of words, statements, art, etc.) to be aware of the meaning of and (of people) to be aware of the intent of.
I'm sorry. I don't understand.
Please try to understand. It's not you, it's me.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Understand

To believe, to think one grasps sufficiently despite potentially incomplete knowledge.
I understand that you have a package for me?
In the imperative mood, the word “you” is usually understood.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Understand

To stand underneath, to support.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Understand

To have just and adequate ideas of; to apprehended the meaning or intention of; to have knowledge of; to comprehend; to know; as, to understand a problem in Euclid; to understand a proposition or a declaration; the court understands the advocate or his argument; to understand the sacred oracles; to understand a nod or a wink.
Speaketh [i. e., speak thou] so plain at this time, I you pray,That we may understande what ye say.
I understand not what you mean by this.
Understood not all was but a show.
A tongue not understanded of the people.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Understand

To be apprised, or have information, of; to learn; to be informed of; to hear; as, I understand that Congress has passed the bill.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Understand

To recognize or hold as being or signifying; to suppose to mean; to interpret; to explain.
The most learned interpreters understood the words of sin, and not of Abel.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Understand

To mean without expressing; to imply tacitly; to take for granted; to assume.
War, then, war,Open or understood, must be resolved.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Understand

To stand under; to support.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Understand

To have the use of the intellectual faculties; to be an intelligent being.
Imparadised in you, in whom aloneI understand, and grow, and see.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Understand

To be informed; to have or receive knowledge.
I came to Jerusalem, and understood of the evil that Eliashib did for Tobiah.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Understand

Know and comprehend the nature or meaning of;
She did not understand her husband
I understand what she means
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Understand

Perceive (an idea or situation) mentally;
Now I see!
I just can't see your point
Does she realize how important this decision is?
I don't understand the idea
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Understand

Make sense of a language;
She understands French
Can you read Greek?
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Understand

Believe to be the case;
I understand you have no previous experience?
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Understand

Be understanding of;
You don't need to explain--I understand!
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Understand

Interpret or view something in a particular way.
Do you understand the situation as I do?
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Understand

Empathize or sympathize with someone.
I understand your frustration; it's a difficult situation.
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Nov 20, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

Can "understood" be used as an adjective?

Yes, "understood" can function as an adjective to describe something known or agreed upon.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Does "understand" always require active engagement?

Generally, "understand" involves active mental engagement or inquiry.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Can "understood" close a conversation?

Yes, it often indicates that no further explanation is needed.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Is "understand" appropriate for ongoing situations?

Yes, it's used to indicate current or ongoing comprehension.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Does "understood" imply completed action in all contexts?

Typically, it implies that the action of understanding is complete.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

What is the basic difference between "understood" and "understand"?

"Understood" is the past tense of "understand," indicating past comprehension.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Is "understand" only used as a verb?

Primarily, yes. "Understand" is used as a verb to denote the act of comprehending.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Can "understood" imply a tacit agreement?

Yes, "understood" often implies an implicit agreement or acceptance.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Does "understood" always refer to the past?

Mostly, as it's the past tense form of "understand."
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Can "understand" express a need for clarification?

Yes, it can be used to ask for or indicate the process of clarification.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Does "understand" have different meanings in different cultures?

It might be interpreted differently based on cultural context, especially in non-literal senses.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Can "understood" be used in a question?

It's less common, but can be used for confirmation, like "Is that understood?"
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Does "understood" have a different meaning in legal contexts?

In legal terms, it often refers to agreed upon or assumed terms.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Can "understand" be used in educational contexts?

Yes, it's commonly used to indicate comprehension of educational material.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Is "understood" used in everyday language?

Yes, it's commonly used in daily conversations and communications.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Can "understand" be used in a future context?

Yes, in the form "will understand" to indicate future comprehension.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Is "understood" often used in formal agreements?

Yes, especially to indicate implicit or previously agreed terms.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Can "understand" imply empathy?

Absolutely, it can denote emotional understanding or empathy.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

Does "understood" carry the same meaning in all English dialects?

Generally, yes, though nuances may vary slightly in different English-speaking regions.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

How is "understand" used in professional settings?

It's often used to ensure clarity and comprehension of tasks or objectives.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 20, 2023

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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