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    #1

    understand and comprehend

    “You have never done one single thing in all your life to be ashamed of---not one. Look at the newspapers---look at them and comprehend what sort of characters Messrs. Woodford and Hoffman are, and then see if you are willing to lower yourself to their level and enter a public canvas withthem. From Mark Twain's "Running for Governor"

    The question is about "comprehend" here in the above sentence. Is it used to express the process or the result of comprehending. My understanding is comprehend emphasizes the process, but "understand" emphasizes the result. So in this case, the word comprehend doesn't indicate he has already understood, right? Thanks.



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    #2

    Re: understand and comprehend

    To my mind, the source of origin is where the two words differ.
    There is no semantical difference between them.

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    #3

    Re: understand and comprehend

    Quote Originally Posted by svartnik View Post
    To my mind, the source of origin is where the two words differ.
    There is no semantical difference between them.
    I agree that there is no major semantic difference, but the emphasis is different. What do you think of the word in this particular context?

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    #4

    Re: understand and comprehend

    It sounds bigger than merely understanding to me- a greater degree of perception of how low they are.

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    #5

    Re: understand and comprehend

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    It sounds bigger than merely understanding to me- a greater degree of perception of how low they are.
    I can understand your "bigger than merely understanding" opinion. But I was asking whether "comprehend" expresses the process or result. In other words, when the person uses "comprehend", is he or she in the process of getting the perception of how low they are, or the person has already understood how low they are. I ask this, because from the dictionary definition, "Comprehend" emphasizes the process of getting the understanding, whereas "understanding" emphasizes the result, that is, one gets it. Sorry for this complicated question. But thanks again.

    Ian

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    #6

    Re: understand and comprehend

    'Comprehend' may emphasises the process, but that does not mean itdoes not involve the product. It emphasise the process because it if often used where a degree of effort is required, but the result is also important.

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