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If I don't understand what my friend is trying to say do I say "That doesn't make any sense", or do I say "I don't understand." Should the two phrases be the same or is there a more polite way of answering towards maybe a grownup instead of a friend? Which phrase is more casual and which phrase is more proper?

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migrated from english.stackexchange.com Oct 18 '13 at 12:15

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You may find English Language Learners helpful – TrevorD Oct 17 '13 at 12:51

"I don't understand" says that "I" can't figure it out - it puts the cause on you.

"That doesn't make any sense" says that your friend can't figure out how to explain it.

So the first wold be more polite.

There may be times when your friend actually doesn't make sense. Then you might say, "Could you please explain that again?".

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It doesn't always mean "your friend can't figure out how to explain it". It might mean "it doesn't make any sense.": "Hey the dog doesn't look too good, I think he ate too much." "Well, give him a treat, maybe that will make him feel better." "Huh?! That doesn't make any sense!" – Jim Oct 17 '13 at 4:28

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