It’s inevitable that, at some point in our careers, we will have to be the bearer of bad news. So, should you include I hope you understand in an email in which you’re letting someone down? Is there a better option?
Below, we’ll discuss whether it is appropriate to use I hope you understand in a work email. Moreover, we’ve compiled a list of 10 alternate phrases that you can use in its place.
Is It Correct to Say “I Hope You Understand”?
The phrase I hope you understand is a grammatically correct way to impart difficult news. You can use this phrase in formal and professional circumstances, but it can come across as rather familiar.
Nevertheless, we’ve drafted two emails below to illustrate how one might use this phrase in a work setting.
Our first example will look at a customer service scenario:
Dear Mr. Klein,
You can cancel your subscription by signing into your account and accessing your account settings.
I hope you understand all of the above. If not, please contact me.
Next, we’ll look at a situation where an offer is being declined:
Dear Ms. Mkize,
We appreciate your generous offer. However, in the interest of a fair public bid procedure, I’m afraid we must decline at this time.
As a member of a public office, I hope you understand our need for transparency in all donations we accept.
Although I hope you understand is a grammatically correct phrase that can be used in formal and professional circumstances, it can come across as overly emotive and familiar.
Therefore, to sound more distinctly professional in your work correspondence, you can use one of the alternative phrases we have compiled below.
10 Alternative Ways to Say “I Hope You Understand”
Check out these 10 alternative ways of saying I hope you understand in professional emails:
- Thank you for your understanding
- I hope for your understanding
- I hope you can appreciate
- I hope you will take all the relevant factors regarding my situation into consideration
- I appreciate your understanding
- I trust you understand
- Your understanding is greatly appreciated
- I would ask for your understanding
- Your patience is highly appreciated
- I’m sure you understand
1. Thank You for Your Understanding
You can use the phrase thank you for understanding in a formal email to a client, especially when they have made a complaint or issued a query.
The inclusion of “thank you” makes this phrase particularly polite. Moreover, the phrasing of thank you for your understanding essentially implies that the client’s understanding is assumed but still appreciated.
To see what we mean, check out the email example below:
Dear Mr. Quoth,
Your order has been delayed due to road closures. We apologize for any inconvenience and are doing everything we can to resolve this issue.
Thank you for your understanding in this matter.
2. I Hope for Your Understanding
You can say I hope for your understanding when you are letting someone down in some way.
For example, if you are offered a new job but are unable to accept it for some reason, you can politely explain your circumstances to the hiring manager before adding this phrase.
See the email example below:
I appreciate being considered for this role. However, I am unable to accept an unpaid internship due to my current financial circumstances.
I hope for your understanding in this regard.
If you work for a company and must impart some bad news on, say, an applicant, you can say we hope for your understanding to speak on behalf of your company.
Thank you for taking the time to apply for this role.
We regret to inform you, however, that we have selected a more qualified candidate.
We hope for your understanding in this matter.
3. I Hope You Can Appreciate
When you have to say no to a request made by a client or employee, you can precede your explanation or reasoning behind your decision to decline with the phrase I hope you can appreciate.
I hope you can appreciate is essentially just a formal synonym for I hope you understand. After all, to “appreciate” something is to recognize and understand it.
Thus, let’s see this alternative in an email sample:
You are a highly valued employee, but I am afraid we are unable to provide a pay rise at this time.
I hope you can appreciate the difficult financial circumstances facing our industry at present and the compromises we must make as a result.
4. I Hope You Will Take All the Relevant Factors Regarding My Situation Into Consideration
If you are an employee and you’re in an uncomfortable position wherein you have to say no to your boss, you can include this formal and wordy phrase in your email.
Essentially, you can use the phrase I hope you will take all the relevant factors regarding my situation into consideration to remind your employer of your circumstances and prompt them to empathize with you.
This may be especially necessary if you are concerned that your refusal to do something won’t be received well.
Consider the following example:
Dear Ms. Zungu,
As a parent and a woman, I feel I cannot, in good conscience, represent Mr. Dour at his trial.
I would therefore ask that you refer his file to one of my colleagues.
I hope you will take all the relevant factors regarding my situation into consideration and come to understand why I must refuse.
5. I Appreciate Your Understanding
I appreciate your understanding is another phrase you can use if you work in a customer service role and have told a customer some unfortunate news.
Like thank you for your understanding, this phrase assumes that the customer has understood that things are out of your hands, and it shows your gratitude for this.
Let’s see a sample email making use of this phrase:
Dear Miss Pierre,
I am sorry for any inconvenience caused by this error, and I appreciate your understanding.
6. I Trust You Understand
If you are instructing an employee, you can use the phrase I trust you understand to impart information without coming across as patronizing.
This phrase gives the impression that you know your employee probably does understand something, and you are just reiterating things for the sake of clarity.
Have a look at the following example to see what we mean:
The client information is attached below.
I trust you understand that all of these documents must be kept strictly confidential.
7. Your Understanding Is Greatly Appreciated
When you are dealing with a customer’s complaint but cannot provide an immediate and satisfactory solution, you can use the phrase your understanding is greatly appreciated.
This phrase essentially assumes that the customer will take your bad news on the chin – and you are grateful for their resilience!
See the example below:
I apologize for any confusion caused, but we cannot accept coupons from another store.
Your understanding is greatly appreciated.
8. I Would Ask for Your Understanding
I would ask for your understanding is another professional way to ask for empathy from your employer when you are imparting bad news.
After all, it is essential to set boundaries at work. Hopefully, your boss is reasonable and will accept that you are not always able to carry out their instructions.
Therefore, let’s see how to use this phrase in an email sample:
Due to a personal matter, I will be unable to attend the work conference next month.
I would ask for your understanding in this regard.
9. Your Patience Is Highly Appreciated
If you are trying to assist a customer with a query or complaint and you’ve kept them waiting, you can say your patience is highly appreciated.
Of course, if you are speaking over email, you don’t know whether they have been patient or whether they have been extremely vexed the entire time.
Nevertheless, this phrase de-escalates the situation by acknowledging that they have been kept waiting and expressing your gratitude.
Let’s see this phrase in action:
I apologize for the delayed response. A member of our team will contact you regarding your query within the next 48 hours.
Your patience is highly appreciated.
10. I’m Sure You Understand
If you are asking a colleague for a favor or giving them disappointing news, you can use the phrase I’m sure you understand to, essentially, level with them. This phrase is more informal than the others, so you should only use it if you have a casual dynamic with your peers.
In short, if you want to bring someone over to your point of view, trying to relate to them is a well-known tactic. Thus, in saying I’m sure you understand, you are implying that the two of you have similar experiences and can, therefore, probably understand each other.
Therefore, this phrase is most suited for when you’re speaking to someone who is your equal in the workplace. In other words, they are on the same level as you in the structural hierarchy.
Consider the email example below:
I’m very sorry, but I can’t take over your shift this afternoon.
I’m sure you understand how difficult it is to find a babysitter on such short notice!
All the best,