In a formal document, I want to mention something which I was not able to understand for a long time. After that time, I had learnt some other thing and suddenly click! and I understood the other also.

So I want to say something like, I had the click moment. But I am not sure if this sounds natural and appropriate to use. What would you use for that?

  • 1
    How formal? It sounds like you are writing an essay, which, while formal, is different from a scientific paper on the nature of learning.
    – James K
    Sep 3, 2017 at 9:14
  • It is a Statement of Purpose for graduate studies where I should talk about my motivations to pursue a higher study.
    – user2222
    Sep 3, 2017 at 9:21
  • 1
    How about just, "finally it clicked." That sounds natural and not overly informal.
    – littleO
    Sep 4, 2017 at 10:58

4 Answers 4


The formal word I can think of is epiphany:

3 a (1) : a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something (2) : an intuitive grasp of reality through something (such as an event) usually simple and striking (3) : an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure
b : a revealing scene or moment

Definition of epiphany for English Language Learners
: a moment in which you suddenly see or understand something in a new or very clear way


It depends on the context, but usually the verb click is used, as opposed to click moment. For example, "And then it clicked! I realized why X worked." It's informal.

click verb (BECOME CLEAR)
[I] infml to be understood or become clear suddenly:
Something clicked, and I remembered where I’d seen her before.

(Cambridge Dictionary)

Another informal phrase using moment is "aha moment":

Definition of aha moment
: a moment of sudden realization, inspiration, insight, recognition, or comprehension

  • The aha moment you experience when you've been trying to remember the name of a song and three hours later it hits you … — Jeffrey Kluger


  • Note the etymology (greek) "shine above" -> illumination -> lightbulb Sep 3, 2017 at 16:29

In the context of a personal statement "clicked" could be ok, but a simpler and I think better alternative is to write about the "moment of understanding"

As a high school student, I tried to work out why there are two tides each day. At the time I found this hard to understand. My moment of understanding came when I read a book describing the Lagrangian approach to mechanics. I understood how it would be possible to formulate the equations of motion in a rotating frame of reference. ...

The reader is interested in how you were able to overcome difficulties (as this shows your aptitude as a student) than whether it was sudden or not. Indeed there may be more to gain by suggesting that you worked hard to achieve an understanding, instead of it coming suddenly.


Such a "click" of sudden understanding is often called a "Eureka moment" or a "flash of insight/inspiration".

A eureka moment is when the solution to a problem which you have been unable to solve suddenly becomes clear. It comes from a story told about Archimedes where he suddenly realized the solution to a problem while taking a bath, and shouted "Eureka!"

Such a moment is also often called a flash of insight.

The Eureka moment is commonly used when talking about solving a problem or puzzle, while a flash of insight is also used to describe a sudden burst of creativity or understanding about people or events.

Both are often described with the word epiphany, which has the same basic meaning, but can have some religious or spiritual connotations.


You experienced a "moment of clarity." If you choose to phrase it that way, do remember to keep the conveyance succinct (the moment part) and simple (the clarity thing) for the sake of your listener.

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