Are you trying to figure out whether someone understands what you’re saying?
Perhaps you’re trying to ask “does that make sense,” but you’re worried it sounds a bit rude.
Luckily, we’re here to help.
This article will show you what to say instead of “does that make sense” to keep your writing polite and professional.
It is not rude to say “does that make sense.” As a matter of fact, it’s a great way to find out whether someone understands what you’re trying to say to them.
It’s not condescending, which is a good start. Generally, the last thing you want to do is condescend or insult someone when you’re trying to explain how something works.
Also, it’s quite professional and polite. So, it’s a great way to gauge whether someone understands you or needs further information that might help things to make more sense.
Check out this email sample to learn more about how it might work:
Dear Mr. Hamilton,
So, that’s everything we know so far. Does that make sense? Or can you think of anything that would aid your understanding?
All the best,
- It’s professional.
- It’s a polite way to ask whether someone understands what you’re saying.
- It’s a little generic.
- It doesn’t always make the recipient comfortable enough to say “no” if they don’t understand you.
“Does that make sense” is certainly a useful formal phrase. But that doesn’t mean you can’t explore some alternatives to see what else is available.
So, keep reading to learn what to use instead of saying “does that make sense.” Then, you can use those options to see what you can write in your emails.
- Can I clarify anything for you?
- Do you have any questions about this?
- Is everything clear up to this point?
- Please feel free to ask if you don’t understand something
- Are there any parts you’d like me to go over again?
- Is there anything that needs to be clarified?
- Would you like me to elaborate on anything?
- Do you need more information on this topic?
- Are you following along so far?
- Is this information coming across clearly?
To start with, we recommend using “can I clarify anything for you?” This is a great formal question that shows you’re willing to answer any questions if someone doesn’t understand.
It works well because it shows you’re open to criticism if you haven’t explained something correctly.
It shows you’re polite and sincere, too. This helps the recipient to feel more at ease, and they should feel better about sharing any problems they might have in understanding something.
You can also review this email sample:
Dear Mr. Carter,
Can I clarify anything for you? I realize that we haven’t spoken about this for very long, so I want to be as helpful as possible.
You can also use “do you have any questions about this?” as a professional way to say “does that make sense.”
This question works well when emailing a student. It shows that you’re happy to explain something about an assignment or exam, but you want them to ask a question first.
That way, you can confirm whether they understand what you’re talking about. And if they don’t, it’s a direct and honest question that should encourage them to open up.
Here’s a great example to show you more about how to use it:
Do you have any questions about this? I’ll be happy to answer anything that you might be struggling with.
Next, we recommend using “is everything clear up to this point?” as another way to say “does that make sense.”
It’s an effective question in formal emails. Generally, you would use it when contacting a coworker because it shows you’re trying to explain something to them.
For instance, you can use it when talking them through a strategy for a team project. It shows that you’d like to get them on board, but you need to check to see if they understand you.
We also recommend reviewing this sample email:
Is everything clear up to this point? If not, that’s not a problem! Just ask me for another explanation, and I’ll see what I can do.
All the best,
Instead of asking a question, try “please feel free to ask if you don’t understand something.”
This is a more friendly and conversational choice in an email. It’s more of a statement than a question, so it shows you’re open to any response the recipient might give.
You can use it when emailing an employee. It lets them know that you want to help them out and provide explanations about projects or changes to the workplace.
This example should also help you with this:
Please feel free to ask if you don’t understand something. I’m happy to go through it again if you don’t follow my methods.
Try using “are there any parts you’d like me to go over again?” as another phrase for “does that make sense.”
This is a polite and sincere question that shows you’re willing to help someone understand you.
Try it when asking a client if they need help. It lets them know that you’re a good source of information and would like to help them however possible.
If you’re still unsure, you can check out this example:
Dear Miss Burke,
Are there any parts you’d like me to go over again? If not, then I look forward to working with you on this project.
You can also write “is there anything that needs to be clarified?” as a formal synonym.
You can treat this question like a checklist. It allows you to check all the boxes to ensure that someone understands what you’re talking to them about.
Generally, this works well when asking a customer if they understand your solution to their problem. It’s polite and respectful, showing that you’d like to be on the same page as the customer.
We recommend reviewing this sample email if you still need help:
Dear Mr. Bryant,
Is there anything that needs to be clarified? Let me know if you think of anything that you don’t quite understand.
Another great synonym for “does that make sense” is “would you like me to elaborate on anything?”
This question works well in formal emails. It shows you’re willing to assist if someone has any questions that haven’t been answered yet.
Use it when emailing your boss. It shows that you’re trying to explain a project or task to them, especially if you’ve completed it but need to talk them through your process.
Here’s a great email sample to show you how it works:
Dear Miss Bean,
Would you like me to elaborate on anything? I realize that I’ve rushed most of the explanations you’ve asked for.
Feel free to use “do you need more information on this topic?” as a formal synonym for “does that make sense.”
It shows that you’re willing to provide more insight, but only if someone asks for it.
This phrase is a great way to keep things polite and open-ended. It shows you’re happy to help someone if they don’t quite understand what you’ve said so far.
Also, why not try reviewing this example to give you more of an idea of how to use it:
Do you need more information on this topic? Please don’t hesitate to contact me if I can help you with anything.
Try using “are you following along so far?” instead of “does that make sense.”
It’s great as a synonym because it shows that you want to keep someone’s attention while you explain something.
Try using it when contacting a student. It lets them know that you’re there to help, but they need to be honest about it if they don’t fully understand what you’re saying.
Here’s a great sample email to help you understand it a bit better:
Are you following along so far? It’s okay if you’re not, as I’m more than happy to explain more about how this works.
All the best,
Finally, we recommend writing “is this information coming across clearly?” instead of “does that make sense.”
It’s a professional phrase that shows you’re interested in hearing whether someone understands you.
Generally, asking this question allows the recipient to provide a simple “yes” or “no” answer. So, you can use this to let them know that you’re open to suggestions if you need to explain something better.
It’s polite and respectful above all else. Therefore, it’s a great phrase to use to show that you’re willing to listen to someone.
Dear Mr. Applegarth,
Is this information coming across clearly? Feel free to ask me questions if you have any that might apply.