The usage of the word understand


1) I understand the grammar.

2) I understood the grammar.


3) I have understood the grammar.

I met someone who says the meanings of #1 and #3 are the same, and if it is true, I also think #2 can be considered the same as the others. Do you agree with this?


Thank you for your time and help as usual  

asked Oct 23 '12 at 11:57 Hans Contributor

4 answers


No, the meanings are not the same. Each of the sentences is in a different tense.


#1 - "understand" is in the simple present. It means that in this moment of time, you understand. It does not tell us whether that was true in the past or will be true in the future. It is only true now.


#2 - "understood" is in the simple past. It means that in the past, you understood. As Sanjay points out, the sentence is vague and incomplete without a reference to a point in past time. The sentence does not tell us whether you still understand in the present; it only talks about the past.


#3 - "have understood" is in the present perfect tense. We use the Present Perfect to say that an action happened at an unspecified time before now. The exact time is not important. You CANNOT use the Present Perfect with specific time expressions such as yesterday. You can use the Present Perfect to describe your experience. It is like saying, "I have the experience of..." You can also use this tense to say that you have never had a certain experience. The Present Perfect is NOT used to describe a specific event. We often use the Present Perfect to talk about change that has happened over a period of time. We often use the Present Perfect combined with the negative to say that an action which we expected has not happened. Using the Present Perfect in this way suggests that we are still waiting for the action to happen.


Again, different tenses ALWAYS have different meanings.


I hope this helps.

link comment answered Oct 23 '12 at 12:58 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow

1) I understand the grammar. (Simple present tense)


You always have the ability to understand the Grammar.(Past, present and future)



2) I understood the grammar.(Simple past)

In the simple past tense, time is specific.  You need to mention the time.

I understood the Grammar yesterday.

3) I have understood the grammar.

The sentence is in the present perfect tense.  An action began in the past and continuing upto the present. The action in your sentence is understanding the Grammar rules. This action has been recently completed.  

link comment answered Oct 23 '12 at 12:40 sanjay Expert

The simple present tense expresses a general truth or a customary action.

1.Peter sometimes lends me his bike.

2.Monkeys like bananas.


Use the simple present tense to talk about things that are planned for the future.

1.Next week I go to summer camp.

2.My elder brother leaves school at 4 o’clock.


Use the present perfect tense to talk about happenings in the past that explain or affect the present. The verbs have and has are used as “helping” or auxiliary verbs to form the present perfect tense.

1.Uncle Tom has lost his wallet.

2.It has not rained for months.


Use the simple past tense to talk about things that happened in the past. The simple past tense is also used to talk about things that happened in stories. Simple past is time specific.

1.I bought a new TV last week.

2.The plane landed a few minutes ago.

3.We drove to the safari park last weekend.

4. David hurt his foot when he jumped over the drain.

link comment answered Oct 23 '12 at 12:49 sanjay Expert

Before us the artificially created, little society, existing in the isolated space and strictly part on two classes, is presented: ruling and inferior. One gives unlimited power, other are deprived every right and doomed to the implicit submission. It would seem just miniature model, experiment, even game, if pleasingly.

link comment answered Nov 11 '15 at 06:06 Anastasiia New member

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