I often hear people in their conversation when a person is checking if the other understands what he mean, he raises a question with only 1 word "Understand?"

But sometimes, I also hear people in similar situation, but the question is replaced by "Understood?"

What is the difference between the two? Which one is more correct? Is that kind of question informal? Is that kind of question only be used for very informal situation, such as, talking to a kid?

  • 1
    Understood? is an elision of Is it or Is that from the question Is [that/it] understood? – P. E. Dant Jun 19 '17 at 9:21

Understand? is short for Do you understand?

Understood? is short for Is that understood?

These are not imperatives. When spoken, the pitch will be raised at the end of the word as is normal with questions in English. This is how a listener can tell it is not a command.

It's unusual for plain "understand" to be expressed imperatively, especially by itself.

In conversation, words can be omitted at the beginning or ends of sentences, if the speaker believes the listener is following closely and paying attention. The mind usually works faster than the mouth so when two people are "in sync" they will tend to elide phrases as they can "fill in the blanks."

Whether or not you can do this is not really governed by formality but rather the chance that the listener may not be paying attention or need for clarity. In some formal situations such as some business dealings, court, legal matters etc. you certainly want to be 100% clear and not omit any words.

  • +1 They aren't imperatives. I DV Maulik answer because he said they were imperatives. – user178049 Jun 19 '17 at 20:38

Both are okay. The full forms of those words are -

Understand?~ Do you understand? AND
Understood? ~Did you understand?

Other variations are:

Get it? ~ Do you get it? AND
Got it? ~ Did you get it?

Not much difference they carry in meaning. They all mean whether the listener has understood what the speaker is telling.

  • I would rephrase "Understand?" as either of "Do you understand?" or "Did you understand?" and "Understood?" as "Is that understood?". In your second example - "Have you got it?" would be a more understandable rephrasing of "Got it?". But otherwise agree - both are okay. – PaulF Jun 19 '17 at 12:16
  • @PaulF I may not incline toward 'Have you got it?' I may prefer it when that 'it' is some tangible object, say 'parcel'. – Maulik V Jun 20 '17 at 6:23
  • In many cases the phrases "Get it?" and/or "Got it?" will be used after somebody has given an explanation something - so the "it" will not always be a physical object. The former is often (not always) a friendlier way of asking if the person understands, whilst the latter can be a more assertive, occasionally aggressive, question. – PaulF Jun 20 '17 at 8:10
  • @PaulF get/got it - we tell the same thing! I have an issue with 'Have you got it' Vs. 'Do you get it' where for the former one I'd prefer some tangible subject. – Maulik V Jun 20 '17 at 9:11
  • In the UK, at least - "Have you got it?" is regularly used as an alternative to "Do you understand?" - so it could be important for somebody learning the English language to understand the "it" may not always refer to a tangible object. – PaulF Jun 20 '17 at 9:39

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