What’s the difference between understanding and take?

For example, consider the following two questions:

  • what’s your take on this issue?
  • What’s your understanding of this issue? Would it make a subtle difference if one were to substitute one with another?

1 Answer 1


A person's take on something is that person's opinion about that thing, usually on a subject that is clearly a matter of opinion.

My take on Woody Allen is that his humor depends on self-put-downs .

A person's understanding of something (in a simian construction) is a statement of fact, or at least of alleged fact.

My understanding is that Omicron is more infectious than Delta.

The word "understanding" can also be used in quote a few other ways, of course.

  • I thought that you and I had an understanding.
  • At that time his understanding of English was quite limited.

However "take" is significantly more in formal and casual than "opinion". It is also a bit vaguer, and someone's take on something could include both an opinion and supporting beliefs about the facts on that issue, particularly when the facts are not known with certainty.

  • It seems like a take is closer to an opinion than an understanding. So is there any difference between what’s your opinion on it and what’s your take on it?
    – Ray
    Dec 24, 2021 at 9:15
  • @Ray I would say that "take" is more informal, and also is vaguer, and can include elements of both opinion and understanding, although usually mostly opinion. Dec 24, 2021 at 15:18

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