How to Say "I Don't Understand" in Spanish

Quick Answer

I don’t understand. = No entiendo.or No comprendo.

There are two phrases you can use to say I don’t understand in Spanish: no entiendo and no comprendo. These phrases come from the infinitives entenderand comprender, two verbs that mean to understand in Spanish. Read on to learn how these verbs differ!

Entender vs. Comprender

There is an abundance of tricky verb pairs in the Spanish language, such as ser vs. estar and saber vs. conocer. Luckily, learning the difference between entender and comprender doesn’t require memorizing a long list of rules. Whew!

The difference between entender and comprender is very subtle. Let’s take a look!

  • Entender suggests a general understanding, or lack of understanding, of something. Use no entiendo when you don’t understand someone’s words or what they mean.

  • Comprender, on the other hand, suggests a deeper understanding, or lack of. Use no comprendo when you can’t comprehend a concept or what someone is implying. In other words, when you fail to read between the lines.

Let’s put these verbs into practice!

No entiendo portugués. ¿Hablas español?
I don’t understand Portuguese. Do you speak Spanish?
No entiendo lo que dicen porque no hablo griego.
I don’t understand what they're saying because I don’t speak Greek.
No comprendo. ¿Qué quieres decir con eso de que no se puede tener lo mejor de dos mundos?
I don’t understand. What do you mean by saying you can't have your cake and eat it too?
No comprendo la vida.
I don’t understand life.