How to say "I don't understand" in Spanish and be understood?

How to say "I don't understand" in Spanish and be understood?


If I speak with a native Spanish speaker, and want to say that I am able to speak but I don't understand everything in his language, shall I use "no entiendo" or "no comprendo"? Which one is more logical - "Comprendo, pero no todo" or "Entiendo, pero no todo"? What is the main difference between them?

Etition: I am not a native speaker smile

updated JUN 26, 2010
edited by swing
posted by swing

2 Answers


Fair enough Quentin, but I don't hear people using 'comprehend' in spoken English. I would 'comprehend' their meaning, but it would sound very formal and odd.

Like swing, I'd like to know the most commonly used verb in español please.

I've said Entiendo, pero solo un poco, todavia estoy aprendiendo.

Not that I've had much opportunity, but there are a few native speakers who go to our salsa parties which happen once a month! smile

updated JUN 26, 2010
edited by galsally
posted by galsally
Stilted-yes, and that should be mentioned as the author is not a native English speaker. Thoughtless of me. - 0074b507, MAY 13, 2010
"...estoy aprendiendo..." - --Mariana--, MAY 13, 2010
oh yes Marianne, I think I have probably said that too lol! Poor old brain... - galsally, MAY 14, 2010

In that context they are synonyms. If you look in the dictionary you will see one of the words listed in a definition of the other one.

In English, if I told you that I understood something or that I comprehended something would that not carry the same meaning for you? You're over-thinking it.

comprehend [kom-pri-jend]

  • Comprender, contener, encerrar, incluir en sí alguna cosa, abarcar (include).
  • Comprender, conocer, entender, penetrar, concebir (understand).
updated MAY 13, 2010
edited by 0074b507
posted by 0074b507
I am not native English, that's why I over-thought :) thank you! - swing, MAY 13, 2010
Sorry, my bad. - 0074b507, MAY 13, 2010
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