You want to let someone know that you comprehend what they’re saying. However, is I understand a suitable term to use in a formal email?
In this article, we’ll show you how to write “I understand” in an email at work. Moreover, we’ll show you 10 alternative ways to express this in your professional correspondence.
Is It Correct to Say “I Understand”?
It is correct to say I understand in an email when you want to confirm that you and the other person are on the same page. This phrase is neither particularly formal nor informal. In fact, it is simply plain English and can be used in any circumstance.
Therefore, it would be appropriate to use this phrase in professional correspondence whether you work in a small business or a large, corporate company.
Let’s see the phrase I understand in a couple of example emails:
Dear Miss Monroe,
I understand your predicament and I will do my best to resolve this issue promptly.
I understand. We can reschedule for Thursday.
All the best,
Although it is perfectly correct to use I understand in a work email, there are many other ways to express the same sentiment.
Therefore, you can use one of the alternative phrases we’ve provided below when I understand starts to feel standardized.
10 Alternative Ways to Say “I Understand”
Have a look at these 10 other ways to write I understand in an email:
- Got it
- I hear what you’re saying
- I can imagine
- That’s fair
- I see your point
- I see where you’re coming from
- I know what you mean
- I see
Understood is a very concise variation of I understand that you can use in response to an instruction or explanation from your employer.
This phrase has a somewhat serious register. Therefore, it’s a good example of how to say I understand formally in a business email. Moreover, it is very clear and to the point, which is ideal for a fast-paced corporate environment.
Have a look at how we’ve used this phrase in an email example:
Dear Ms. Henderson,
Understood. I will have the file forwarded to legal.
A common way to respond to an explanation or instruction is okay. This is a very tonally neutral and plain phrase that you can use in an email to a colleague.
This phrase isn’t impolite by any means, but it may come across as a bit short. There are certainly more courteous alternatives on our list that you can use in formal correspondence with a client or superior.
Therefore, it’s better to use this phrase if you are speaking to an equal at work.
Okay, I’ll look into the Hertz file and get back to you.
3. Got It
If you have a friendly dynamic in your office and tend to use a more informal tone in emails to your colleagues, you can go with the phrase got it when you have been told something important.
Got it is an idiomatic phrase that is used by English speakers to say I understand in less formal settings. However, it remains a business casual phrase frequently used in workplace settings as well.
See how we’ve used this phrase in a sample email:
Got it; I’ll add these notes to the memo and get it back to you tomorrow.
4. I Hear What You’re Saying
If you’re working on a project with a colleague and they have expressed some concern regarding the task, you can show that you understand their concerns with the phrase I hear what you’re saying.
This phrase is a great way to show that you are listening to your colleague and taking their thoughts seriously. This is always a good sign when working together with another person! Moreover, you can follow this phrase with a potential solution.
See the email sample below:
I hear what you’re saying.
Would it be possible to restart the tax assessment with this updated information?
Let me know,
5. I Can Imagine
Another way to express empathy for a person’s point of view is with the phrase I can imagine. This phrase essentially means that even though you haven’t experienced something, you have no trouble seeing things from the other person’s perspective.
In a professional setting, you can use this phrase when speaking to a client. For example, if they have raised some complaint or concern, you can show that you understand their perspective. This will let the client know that their concerns are being heard and dealt with.
Moreover, it has a professional tone, making it suitable for a formal email.
Let’s see an email sample that includes this phrase:
Dear Mr. Ross,
I can imagine that this must be very frustrating for you.
Please be assured that my team is working on your matter, and I will be back with an update as soon as possible.
6. That’s Fair
Sometimes, we use I understand to show that we empathize with another person’s viewpoint. Another way to do this is with the phrase that’s fair.
Essentially, this phrase means that you can see why a colleague might think or feel a certain way about an issue. Moreover, it assures them that their concerns are reasonable.
It’s always good to validate the thoughts of your coworkers, especially when they have raised a fair point. Therefore, you can use the phrase that’s fair to make your fellows feel heard, especially when you are working together on a project.
Consider the following email example:
That’s fair. I hadn’t considered the fact that this may cause a conflict of interest.
Let me give the issue some thought and get back to you.
7. I See Your Point
If a colleague has made a reasonable comment about a project, and you want to concede to their idea, you can say I see your point.
Essentially, this phrase shows that you are open-minded and will consider your colleague’s ideas. These are all great qualities when you are working in a team! This phrase is rather tonally neutral. Therefore, you can use it when speaking to a coworker you don’t know very well.
Let’s see this phrase in a sample email:
I see your point.
Do you have any suggestions on how we might improve the brief?
8. I See Where You’re Coming From
I see where you’re coming from is a more informal variation of the phrase above. Therefore, you can use it when speaking to a colleague with whom you have a friendly relationship.
This phrase is a polite way to let the other person know that you are taking their perspective into consideration.
Moreover, it is sure to maintain a good rapport between you and your team members. After all, they will be happy to work with you again if you value their opinions.
Check out the following email example:
I see where you’re coming from regarding Miss Turell’s matter.
Why don’t we have a meeting this afternoon to discuss things further?
All the best,
9. I Know What You Mean
I know what you mean is a different way to say I understand when you’re speaking to a colleague.
This phrase comes across a tad more casually than some of the others on our list. Therefore, it is most appropriate for when you’re talking to a coworker you have a friendly dynamic with at work.
I know what you mean.
I’ll ask the financing team whether there is a more efficient way to organize the accounts.
10. I See
When a client is explaining their matter to you, you can say I see as an alternative way of saying I understand. Either phrase can be used interchangeably, as they essentially mean the same thing.
Saying I see lets the client know that you are taking their instructions or concerns into consideration in order to come up with a sensible solution.
Therefore, have a look at how we’ve used this phrase in our final email sample:
Dear Mr. Bourne,
I see. Let me look into this matter and return with an update.