10 Polite Synonyms for “Doesn’t Make Sense”

Are you trying to explain that something doesn’t make sense to you?

There’s no shame in it, but you’re probably a bit concerned that “doesn’t make sense” sounds a bit rude, right?

Well, you’ve come to the right place.

This article will explain how to professionally say “doesn’t make sense.”

Is It Rude to Say “Doesn’t Make Sense”?

It is not rude to say “doesn’t make sense.” To be fair, it’s a bit unprofessional, but that doesn’t mean it’s rude.

You should avoid using it in an email because it will make you sound a little informal. Other than that, it’s still correct and polite.

Generally, it’s a great way to let someone know you simply don’t understand what they’re telling you to do or trying to explain.

Here’s a great example showing you how to use “doesn’t make sense” in a sentence:

I’m very sorry, but it doesn’t make sense to me. Why do we have to do things that way?


  • It’s a simple way to show you don’t understand something.
  • It’s polite.


  • It’s quite unprofessional.
  • It shows you don’t understand an explanation, which could seem weak.

Well, “doesn’t make sense” might not be the best professional phrase around. It’s still polite, but we recommend having a few alternatives ready to help you mix things up.

So, keep reading to learn how to say “doesn’t make sense” politely. We’ve touched on some of the best synonyms to help you explore your options.

What to Say Instead of “Doesn’t Make Sense”

  • It’s not entirely clear
  • It’s a bit confusing
  • I find it rather puzzling
  • It is somewhat confusing
  • I can’t find a way to understand this
  • I don’t understand
  • It’s a little unclear to me
  • I’m having trouble grasping it
  • I’m having difficulty following
  • It’s not coming across clearly

1. It’s Not Entirely Clear

You can write “it’s not entirely clear” as another way to say “doesn’t make sense.” This is a great way to keep things professional and honest.

Generally, you can use this when reaching out to a client. If they’ve run you through a project idea, this lets them know that there are a few things you need clarification with.

We recommend it because it’s polite and sincere. It shows that you don’t quite get something and could really do with more information.

You should also review this email sample:

Dear Ms. Catford,

It’s not entirely clear. I know you’ve explained it, but there are some things that I just can’t grasp at the moment.

Best regards,
Ross Jones

2. It’s a Bit Confusing

You can use “it’s a bit confusing” as a polite way to say “doesn’t make sense.” This time, it’s much better in a more informal setting.

Generally, this works when contacting a colleague. It shows that you are trying to understand what they’re telling you, but you keep failing at a few points.

After an email like this, a coworker should be more inclined to give a thorough explanation. It’s a great way to highlight your difficulties with understanding them.

Here’s a great email example to show you a bit more about how it works:

Dear Sarah,

I’m afraid it’s a bit confusing. I’m not sure what you’re trying to say, and I need you to run me through it again.

All the best,
Sian Whitehead

3. I Find It Rather Puzzling

Try “I find it rather puzzling” instead of “doesn’t make sense” for a more formal phrase.

It’s also quite a quirky and unique option. So, it’s worth using to keep your emails fresh and exciting.

Generally, this works well when emailing your boss. It shows you’re trying to understand something they’ve written to you, but you can’t quite follow it.

Also, check out this email sample if you’d like to learn more about it:

Dear Mr. Kitsch,

I find it rather puzzling at the moment. Please try to find another way to explain this to help me understand your thoughts.

Best regards,
Damian Walker

4. It Is Somewhat Confusing

Feel free to include “it is somewhat confusing” when emailing someone about a problem that makes little sense.

For instance, you can use it when emailing a professor. It shows you don’t quite understand the assignment or essay they’ve set for you.

Being direct and honest about finding something confusing is useful. After all, it’ll let a professor know that you’re trying your best but you need a bit of clarification.

A good professor will be more than happy to reply and give you more information.

If you’re still unsure, you can check out this example:

Dear Dr. Kingston,

I know you’re trying to explain it, but it is somewhat confusing. Could you make it a little simpler for me?

All the best,
Joe Swanson

5. I Can’t Find a Way to Understand This

Next, we recommend using “I can’t find a way to understand this” instead of “doesn’t make sense.”

It shows that you’ve tried multiple different methods to figure something out. However, you simply can’t wrap your head around it.

For the most part, it’s honest and apologetic. It shows that you’d prefer it if someone could provide you with a more direct and understandable explanation.

This email example will also help you to understand it:

Dear Mrs. Storm,

I can’t find a way to understand this right now. Please try rewording it to help me grasp the situation better.

All the best,
Brian Shaw

6. I Don’t Understand

You can go for something more conversational with “I don’t understand.”

There’s nothing wrong with admitting when you don’t quite get something. In fact, it usually encourages someone to be a bit more descriptive and help you figure it out.

Try using it when asking an employee for more information. It shows that you’re trying to hear them out, but you don’t quite grasp the situation.

Generally, this will allow them to reword their initial complaint or query. It’s a polite and respectful way to ask for more information when you don’t get what they’re telling you.

Feel free to review this example if you still need help understanding it:

Dear Milo,

I don’t understand what you’re saying here, so I’d appreciate you trying to explain it again. Is that okay?

Thank you so much,
Kyle Jennings

7. It’s a Little Unclear to Me

It’s always good practice to be polite and direct when you don’t get something. That’s where “it’s a little unclear to me” comes in.

This synonym shows that you don’t fully understand the concept someone explained to you.

So, you can use this when asking a coworker for an explanation. It shows that you’re trying to grasp what they’re saying, but you’re not on the same page.

Also, you can request a call with them after using a phrase like this. Calls generally allow you to be more open and honest with each other, which might help to clear up major confusion.

Here’s a great example showing you how it works:

Dear Michael,

I realize that you’ve done your best to explain this, but it’s a little unclear to me. Shall we call to talk about what you mean?

Markus Rashford

8. I’m Having Trouble Grasping It

You can also use “I’m having trouble grasping it” when you don’t quite understand what someone is saying to you.

It shows something “doesn’t make sense” when emailing a teacher. You can use this to let them know that you do not understand an assignment and need further clarification.

It’s polite and sincere. So, it won’t cause offense if you use a phrase like this.

Also, review this example if you’d like to learn more about it:

Dear Miss Clarkson,

I know you’ve set a task for tomorrow, but I’m having trouble grasping it. Please could we meet to discuss this assignment?

Sara Roper

9. I’m Having Difficulty Following

Feel free to include “I’m having difficulty following” instead of “doesn’t make sense.” This synonym will help you to show that you don’t get someone’s explanation.

If you can’t “follow” something, it means someone made their explanation too hard.

Try it when emailing your boss. It’ll show them that you’re trying your best to understand their orders, but you simply can’t figure them out.

If you’re still confused, you should review this email sample:

Dear Mr. Dunphy,

I’m having difficulty following what you’re asking of me. Can you please reiterate the points you want me to fall back on?

Best regards,
Dan Hunter

10. It’s Not Coming Across Clearly

Finally, we recommend using “it’s not coming across clearly” as a professional way to say “doesn’t make sense.”

It keeps things polite and sincere when you don’t understand what someone is saying to you.

Generally, you can use this when contacting your boss. It lets them know that you simply don’t understand what they’re trying to convey.

In an email, this is a great way to ask for a reply that clears the air. It shows that you’re not following the situation and need things to be made easier.

Feel free to refer to this email sample if you still don’t know how it works:

Dear Miss Adams,

I’m afraid it’s not coming across clearly right now. I don’t really understand what I’m supposed to take from this.

All the best,
Holly Smart