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From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishcomprehendcom‧pre‧hend /ˌkɒmprɪˈhend $ ˌkɑːm-/ ●○○ verb [intransitive, transitive]  UNDERSTANDto understand something that is complicated or difficult syn understand, grasp, → comprehension She cannot comprehend the extent of the disaster. I did not fully comprehend what had happened.comprehend what/how/why etc It may be hard to comprehend how much this gift means for my country.comprehend that Finally, she comprehended that he wanted his pay.see thesaurus at understandRegisterIn everyday English, people usually say understand rather than comprehend: I could understand most of what she was saying.GRAMMAR: Patterns with comprehendComprehend is often used in the negative, especially with can’t/cannot: I cannot comprehend why anyone would do that.Comprehend is not used in the progressive. Don’t say: I am not comprehending why anyone would do that.→ See Verb table
Examples from the Corpus
comprehendThe dream is easy to describe, difficult to comprehend.The pain of this incomplete ending of a relationship is impossible to comprehend.A disposition to incremental change can deflect one from considering or even comprehending wider and more fundamental problems.In industry I found the status system much more difficult to comprehend.Take the time to read, comprehend, and evaluate the report.God cannot truly be seen or comprehended by the human mind.The chink in this otherwise disarming argument is that Nature exists only to the extent that we comprehend it.A child can not comprehend the subtle difference between illegal segregation in the South and racial imbalance in the North.Even scientists do not comprehend these phenomena.The significance of the disappearance of the buffalo and the passenger pigeon was not fully comprehended until much later.People did not comprehend what was happening, and there was genuine confusion over how to respond.comprehend thatFinally she comprehended that he wanted his pay.My father failed to comprehend that his explanations were based as much upon faith as mine.Such as he can not comprehend that which prompts others to give their heart free rein!
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Verb table
Simple Form
I, you, we, theycomprehend
he, she, itcomprehends
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I, you, he, she, it, we, theycomprehended
Present perfect
I, you, we, theyhave comprehended
he, she, ithas comprehended
Past perfect
I, you, he, she, it, we, theyhad comprehended
I, you, he, she, it, we, theywill comprehend
Future perfect
I, you, he, she, it, we, theywill have comprehended
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