“Does that make sense” can be a reasonably easy phrase to misinterpret. Some people consider it quite rude, which is why it’s better to use alternatives. This article will explore some of the best ways you can use other phrases with similar meanings (without insulting someone).
What Can I Ask Instead Of “Does That Make Sense”?
There are a few good alternatives you might want to use. This article will explore the following ones:
- Does that answer your question?
- Is that clear to you?
- What do you think?
- Do you have any questions?
- Am I making sense?
- Do you follow?
- I know this can be quite confusing, so let me know if you do not understand me.
The preferred version is “does that answer your question.” It’s a good question to ask because it allows us to explain our answer first before checking whether that made sense to someone. It does not insult their intelligence like “does that make sense” tends to do.
Does That Answer Your Question?
“Does that answer your question” is a great question we can ask. It often works when someone has asked us to explain something, and we come up with the best explanation known to us.
The simple answer we can expect is either “yes” or “no.” If “yes,” we have fully answered their question, and something in our explanation was helpful enough for them to not have to worry about it anymore.
However, if they say “no,” it means they did not understand something or that we did not cover something very well. If this is the case, we have two options.
The first option is to ask them what they don’t understand and see if there is something else we can say or try to do to help them further. This might just allow us to reiterate certain points of our explanation.
The second option is to tell them that we’ve already said everything we know about the topic. If they have further questions that even we do not understand, it might be best if they look elsewhere for help, and we can tell them this.
Here are some examples to show it to you in action:
- Does that answer your question? Let me know if there’s anything else you need help with.
- Okay, does that answer your question? I hope I made sense!
- Does all of that answer your question? If it doesn’t, let me know, and I’ll help you some more.
Is That Clear To You?
“Is that clear to you” can work well when we want to find out whether someone understands what we say. However, sometimes this phrase can be just as rude as “does that make sense.” You need to be careful with the audience when you use a phrase like this.
“Is that clear to you” is best used for more difficult concepts. Use it when it’s uncertain whether people will understand what you’re talking about.
If you use it for more simple concepts, it might end up insulting someone again. This situation can be avoided if you don’t try and make a really simple explanation “clear” (because it’s likely that most people already know what you’re explaining).
We could use this phrase in the following ways:
- Is that clear to you now? I’m trying to find an easier way to explain it.
- Is it clear to you? I think that’s about all I can say on the matter.
- Is that clear to you? I will try and explain it again if you’re not following me.
What Do You Think?
A simpler question could be asked as follows:
- What do you think, then? Is that what you wanted to know?
- What do you think? Is that something you might be interested in trying?
- What do you think? I tried my best to explain it as easily as possible.
Do You Have Any Questions?
“Do you have any questions” puts the ball in the other person’s court. Now, if they do not understand our explanation, they can ask us all the questions they need to know until they figure it out.
If we explain something well, the person we’re talking to will not need to ask questions.
However, if they do ask questions, you likely missed something in your explanation. It might also mean that they simply weren’t able to keep up with all the things you explained, and they might need some things reiterated.
We could ask people for more questions like so:
- Do you have any questions? I’ll be happy to answer them.
- Do you have any questions? I’ll do my best to help you understand them.
- Do you have any more questions about it?
Am I Making Sense?
“Am I making sense” is a great question to take away from the insult of “does that make sense.” This time, we question ourselves to try and find out whether people understand what we’re saying.
Even if a situation is easy to explain, we might be bad at explaining it. In these cases, it could help to ask a question like this to find out whether we’re doing a sufficient job with the explanation. If we’re not, we can always try a different approach.
This phrase works well in the following situations:
- Am I making sense? Please stop me if you start to lose your place in the explanation!
- Am I making sense? I think that about covers everything that I wanted to explain.
- Am I making sense? I don’t usually have to explain much, so I’m not very good at doing it!
Do You Follow?
“Do you follow” is a simple question we can ask to find out if someone still understands us. We use “follow” to mean “following our train of thought.” If someone stops “following,” it means they have lost themselves or do not fully understand what we are saying.
This is a good question to use because it doesn’t directly ask whether someone understands something. It isn’t as rude as “does that make sense” because we’re not trying to insult anyone’s ability.
Instead, we’re making sure that they understand the things we’re saying. We acknowledge that sometimes our explanations can be difficult in this way.
This question can work like so:
- Do you follow? I’m trying to make it as digestible as I can for everybody here.
- Do you follow me? I think that about covers what I wanted to tell you.
- Do you follow? I hope that you’ll tell me if anything gets a bit confusing.
I Know This Can Be Quite Confusing, So Let Me Know If You Do Not Understand Me.
We can use this phrase instead of any of the questions we used above. It works well when we want to show a little empathy toward the person we’re explaining something to.
Rather than asking, “does that make sense,” we instead show them that it’s okay if it doesn’t make sense.
Saying that something is “quite confusing” shows that you might have struggled with it when you were learning too. This can help many people to understand your point of view, and they’ll often feel a little less bad if they’re not quite grasping the concept straight away.
We can use this empathetic phrase like so:
- I know this can be quite confusing, so let me know if you don’t understand something.
- I know all of this can be confusing, so let me know if there is anything you do not understand.
- I know this can be quite confusing, so let me know if you do not understand me. I’ll do my best to help you figure it out.
What Does “Does That Make Sense” Mean?
We have seen all the best alternatives available to us. Now, it’s time to quickly look back at “does that make sense” and find out what it means.
“Does that make sense” is a phrase we use after we’ve tried to explain something. We use it to try and clarify with whoever we were explaining the thing to. It helps us to check that they are still following along, and they didn’t get lost anywhere in the explanation.
Sometimes, it’s helpful to ask questions like this. While it’s not the most polite phrase to use, it’s still useful to find out whether your explanation was sufficient.
If you are explaining something to somebody and they do not understand it, that could be because of your teaching rather than their interpretation. It could be a good learning experience for you to try and understand where they failed to follow along.
Is It Rude To Say “Does That Make Sense”?
“Does that make sense” can be rude to some people. Sometimes, they’ll see it as a way of asking whether they understood something that should be obvious. While you might think it’s clear, your explanation may not have helped them.
If an explanation was obvious and we use “does that make sense,” some people will think you’re trying to insult their intelligence. They’ll get annoyed at you for asking an obvious question when they shouldn’t have to clarify their understanding.
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Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.