“Thank you for your understanding”: Meaning & alternatives + 7 example sentences

Language has been known to morph over time, with same words meaning different things depending on the subtext. One of such phrases is “thank you for your understanding”. Before highlighting a few examples of how to use thank you for your understanding, we first have to highlight what exactly it means.

What does “Thank you for your understanding” mean?

Thank you for your understanding is majorly used when someone is inconvenience by you in a way. It can be you offering an apology. It can also be seen as demand, requesting that someone comply.

In order to make things bit more detailed, we will highlight 5 major usages of this phrase in a sentence.

7 examples of how to use “Thank you for your understanding” in a sentence

Thank you for your understanding can be used when apologizing for inconveniencing someone

This example has you apologizing after having inconvenienced someone. This can be used if you have someone waiting on you for something and you end up running late. For instance:

Me: I apologize that I am late for our meeting, I’m stuck in traffic. Thank you for your understanding


“I apologize that the coming shipment has encountered some logistical issues in spite of my best efforts. I hope this isn’t a major inconvenience for you and I say thank you for your understanding”

What you are saying in this example means that even though something beyond our control has gone wrong, we hope you can understand and forgive us.

Thank you for your understanding can be used when letting people know you appreciate their comprehension

This phrase can be actually helpful when talking to individuals that do not have English as their first language. This is a way to show that you appreciate that they understand what you are saying. This is usually used in lieu of “thank you for your comprehension” which can be a little incoherent to numerous non-English speakers.

For instance:

“I have put the rest of the documents together for you to review. They can be found in the folder. Thank you for your understanding.

Thank you for your understanding can be used when you deliver a complaint

In this instance, you can use “thank you for your understanding” when you are complaining about something. For instance, if you are complaining to a supplier concerning a product you just got from them and would like to be compensated for your troubles. When you use “thank you for your understanding” you are letting them know that you know they understand your complaint and hope that they deal with it as soon as possible.

You: the product I received was broken, I would like to return it and get a refund

Company: we are sorry about that; we will work on fixing it

You: thank you for your understanding

Thank you for your understanding can be used when letting people know you appreciate their flexibility

Numerous times, we use “thank you for your understanding” when we are really appreciating them for being flexible. This could mean extending a deadline, explaining why certain things need to remain the same or simply forgiving us for not being able to attend the meeting and rescheduling to a later date. In this instance, when we say, “thank you for your understanding” we really mean “thank you for your flexibility”.

“I really appreciate you accepting to reschedule our meeting. There’s a lot going on but thank you for your understanding”.

Thank you for your understanding can be used when you let people know you are thankful for bearing with you

This phrase can be used when someone has to sit through something longwinded or meeting. You do this to thank them for their patience.

“I know this presentation has been quite long, but I needed us to get through all the required information. Thank you for your understanding.

Thank you for your understanding can be used when you make an inconvenient request

For instance, if you happen to be at a shoes store, paying for some shoes at the counter, you are going to come into contact with a cashier. Once the transaction is complete, and you are on your way, you most likely will thank that cashier. However, would you say, “thank you for your understanding”?

No, that would seem out of place. This is because they are simply doing their job and they haven’t gone out of their way to do anything else. You’ll most likely be met with bemusement, nevertheless, if while paying for the shoes, you have to do something like pay with a few credit cards, you would be inconveniencing them to do the additional work. Since this isn’t part of their mandate, they are likely to protest. It is up to you to somehow convince them of this. If they do acquiesce to your request, you can thank them for it by saying “thank you or your understanding”

You: Can you spread my payment over these 3 credit cards

Cashier: It’s not really something we do

You: I understand but I have my reasons. Thank you for your understanding

Alternatives to saying “Thank you for your understanding”

Now that we have discovered what “thank you for your understanding” means, it’s time to talk about alternate ways to convey each of the meanings.

If you happen to be making an inconvenient request, then you could use the following:

You’re the best

This phrase is most likely one you have heard used between friends. This is because it is an extremely informal phrase.

Example: “Hey, I don’t think I will be able to make dinner tonight. Can you cover for me? Thanks, You’re the best.”

I owe you one

This is another phrase that you use when telling someone you appreciate them inconveniencing themselves for you. It also lets them know you are indebted to them.

Example: “Can you help me finish my workload? I’m stuck in traffic. I owe you one.