1. Junior Member
Join Date
Mar 2006
Posts
45

## I can see

Does " I can see" mean "to understand"? And could I say " I can understand " or "I can see" without difference?
thanks

2. Moderator
Join Date
Feb 2005
Posts
2,585

## Re: I can see

Hello Lenorj

You would normally use "I see" for "I understand":

Ex. 1
"The square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares on the other two sides."
"I see."

Ex. 2
"If you are converting from radians to degrees, you multiply the given by 57.3 (which is the same as dividing it by pi /180.) Do you see?"
"Well, not really..."

MrP

3. ## Re: I can see

"I can see" is usually used when "see" is meant literally -- "I can see a ship on the horizon".

However, it can occasionally be used in situations like the following:

"If we want the world to be a safer place, we need to invest more in the military."
"Yes, I can see that, but for that to work, we also need....."

Or:

"Well, now that I know she has four children, I can see why she has so little time."

In such contexts, yes, "I can see" means something very similar to "I can understand". However, you can't do this in all circumstances. In MrP's examples, "I can see" would not be a good choice. It's probably best to avoid "I can see" if what you mean is "I understand", and use it only when you really mean "see".

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