(1) I don't follow.

(2) I'm not following.

I know the meaning of these 2 sentences. But I don't know what the difference is between them. Is that the second sentence puts more emphasis on the ongoing nature of the action of not understanding what the other is saying?

The context is like this:

My friend is angry about her husband, and she is saying a lot of thing to me. I can't catch up and understand what she is saying. Which sentence should I use ?

  • 2
    Native speakers would rarely use the continuous in such contexts, but speakers of non-standard "Indian English" would, so you might want to avoid it purely for that reason. Occasionally, a native Anglophone might use the continuous here to emphasize the ongoing lack of comprehension - I haven't understood what you've been saying for a while (it's not just a problem with the last sentence you uttered). So it's not inherently "wrong", but my advice is avoid continuous here. Commented Apr 24, 2023 at 10:44
  • 1
    Does this answer your question? Use of the word "understanding" Commented Apr 24, 2023 at 10:47

1 Answer 1


If it’s a matter of the other person’s speaking too fast, I don’t think that it would be expressed as a question of following. For me, either of those would be used in contexts in which all of the individual words—and maybe the sentences too—are clear, and it’s the speaker’s overall meaning that is not.

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