I'm subtitiling a road rage video where two cars, one after another, are driving in a place where there is no driving (pedestrian zone.) A pedestrian steps in front of them, they stop, and the driver of the first car says:

  • I'll back up. Just have that car behind me move first.

To which the pedestrian replies:

  • I think he'll understand it now by himself (meaning that he thinks the second driver will understand that he needs to start backing up, so that the first car could back up too.)

So I wanted to ask, is this phrase grammatical or would you say it differently?


  • "I think he gets it" or "I think he'll figure it out" or simpy "I think he'll understand"? Or maybe something completely different?
  • The tenses and time markers are a little off. He will understand is future. "now" is present. Do you mean to say "He has already understood it"? or "He already understands"? Is the rear car already backing up? Or has it not yet begun to back up?
    – TimR
    Feb 5, 2016 at 10:16
  • Hi. Thank you. The pedestrian says that he thinks the second driver will figure out by himself that he needs to start backing up so that the front car could also back up (because the second car is blocking the reverse path of the 1st car). So the pedestrian thinks the second driver will understand that and will start backing up, and there is no need come up to him and ask him to back up. Feb 5, 2016 at 10:27
  • So the pedestrian is thinking to himself: "Should I tell the second driver he needs to backup? No, he'll figure it out." or "What an idiot! Doesn't he realize he needs to backup?" or "Good he's backing up, he figured it out."
    – Peter
    Feb 5, 2016 at 12:23

1 Answer 1


"I think he'll [be able to] [figure/work] it out [by himself]" is probably fine for this.

Adding "be able to" makes it sound a little more polite, at least to me as a British English speaker.

I don't see much difference between "figure" and "work", although "figure" feels like a more educated way of speaking.

"By himself" is implied, but you can add it if you like. Some people prefer to speak like that, and it does carry a stronger tone of "stay in the car, you don't need to tell him".

As an aside, your direct translation is also acceptable with some small modifications: add "I think" at the beginning, change "will" to "can", change "it" to "that", and remove "now":

I think he can understand that by himself.

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