'Understanding of Something', 'Understanding about Something', or 'Understanding on Something'? | Mastering Grammar

(Last Updated: 6 February 2024)

Understanding of Something, Understanding about Something, or Understanding on Something: Which One Is Correct?

When you are linking the noun understanding to a particular subject or situation, the correct preposition to use is of:

Chris has a deep understanding of English grammar.

The course gave me a basic understanding of programming principles.

To solve this problem, you must have a good understanding of mathematics and physics.

The seminar is designed to provide participants with an understanding of effective communication techniques.

The teacher has an exceptional understanding of child development and learning styles.

Using on or about with understanding can sound awkward or incorrect. Of is the preferred preposition when discussing comprehension or knowledge of a subject or situation.

The entry for the noun understanding in the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

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Examples from the Media

My kids have a pretty good understanding of what money can do for them. —Toronto Star (2016)

"Extend" describes the motivation to then gain a deeper understanding of a specific story which usually demands more time than a quick news update. —The Guardian (2015)

We should have more such talks with those who have a deep knowledge of subjects important to our understanding of an increasingly complex world and our place in it. —The Age (2021)

Post publisher Frederick J. Ryan, Jr. said in a statement, "Charles Krauthammer brought rigorous intellectual analysis and common sense-thinking to every column he wrote. He will be deeply missed by all of us at The Washington Post and by the many loyal readers who looked to his column to help inform their thinking and better their understanding of the important issues of our time." —The Washington Post (2018)


Rewrite the following sentences using the noun understanding.

1. Judy understands the topic thoroughly.

2. The mechanic completely understands how the machine works.

3. I understand some French.

4. My brother and I understand the subject very well.

5. He does not really understand the legal system.

Suggested Answers

1. Judy has a thorough understanding of the topic.

2. The mechanic has a complete understanding of how the machine works.

3. I have a basic understanding of French.

4. My brother and I have a deep understanding of the subject.

5. He has little understanding of the legal system.

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