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Usage e.g.

A: I don't think I will be able to go there that day, because you know, it's almost the new year's day.

B: I'm understandable of that, don't worry. In that case, we should arrange our meeting then. (meaning: I'm able to understand that)

Is this usage of "understandable" correct and/or natural? I know "understandable" is oftentimes used in this manner e.g. "That's totally understandable." (= That is being able to understood.). I googled and looked up some dictionaries but couldn't find a resource, so now I'm asking here :)

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    You could say I'm understanding of that, as a synonym of sympathetic. But that's not as common, and usually used talking about someone else (he was quite understanding).
    – Cullub
    Dec 17, 2021 at 15:12
  • Side-note: "it's almost the new year's day" should be "it's almost New Year's Day", since that's the name of the day so you wouldn't say "the" before it (and since it's a name, it's a proper noun so you capitalise it in writing).
    – kaya3
    Dec 18, 2021 at 7:52

3 Answers 3

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To say "I'm understandable" would mean that people can understand you. That's probably not what you want to express ;) So no, "I'm understandable" is not correct in this situation, and it's not idiomatic in general - except maybe if you weren't understandable before and now stopped mumbling ;)

To express that you can understand somebody else's argument, you can say just that:

I can understand that, don't worry.

Possible alternatives are

I can see that, don't worry.
I understand that, don't worry.
That's understandable, don't worry.

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    That's a totally understandable explanation. Thanks :) Dec 17, 2021 at 1:59
  • If you really want to use the "I'm X of", you can use a word like "aware" or "conscious" or even the rarer word "cognizant" to replace X.
    – Muzer
    Dec 17, 2021 at 16:52
  • These suggestions are all correct, but I think they may be a little too heavy in tone for the original conversation. Unless you are surprised or disappointed by what the other person has said, a simple agreement like "Oh, okay. [We can meet] another time, then." would be more casual and neutral-sounding. Dec 17, 2021 at 17:18
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To add to Henning's excellent answer, if you really wanted to use the "I'm X of that" construction, I can think of three words that will fit in place of X there:

I'm aware of that

This one might sound quite neutral on the face of it, but it's actually quite easy for this to come across as slightly sarcastic; the unspoken implication being "well obviously I'm aware of that". So be cautious especially when using it in textual communications, but even when spoken aloud be careful about your tone of voice when using it. The advantage is it does sound quite natural and I would expect to hear this in both informal and formal speech.

I'm conscious of that

This one seems genuinely quite neutral to me, I don't think it could be misconstrued as sarcastic so easily. It does seem slightly more formal/"businessy", in that I wouldn't expect it to be the sort of thing you'd say to your friends down the pub, unlike the above; but still works in a variety of cases.

I'm cognizant of that

"Cognizant" is a bit of a rarer word, so this one would definitely be for more formal contexts only. It also has the danger of it seeming like you're using a fancy word deliberately to show off your vocabulary; if the rest of the conversation uses long/unusual words it's probably fine but if not, I'd avoid this one.

I'm a British English native speaker which is basically the source of these feelings, but I doubt American English differs significantly on this subject.

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When you look up "understand" you will find that it is a verb, and "understandable" is an adjective. I am sure that you know that verbs reference actions, and adjectives describe things.

It is easy to make English long-winded and complicated, but in everyday speech, simplicity is the best option.

The most concise use in English of your example is simply:

"I understand.", although "I see." will do perfectly well too, to express your understanding of the situation.

So perhaps:

"I see. When will be good for you then?"

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