I want to express that it is my fault for not understanding something, would it be:




if there is a better way to say this in general please let me know as well!

  • You'd need to provide more contexts, but I guess using either won't lead to a grave error.
    – sundowner
    Mar 27 at 3:47
  • they were talking about how they did not provide enough context to the thing we were talking about (言葉足らずですみません) and for my part i just want to be polite about it i guess? if its not such a big deal i will just keep this information for the future.
    – yui770
    Mar 27 at 3:52
  • It depends on whether you would describe your fault as 理解しなかった at a particular point of time or 理解していなかった as a lasting state during a certain period of time.
    – aguijonazo
    Mar 27 at 3:58
  • i see, so 理解していなかった would be more a period of time? in my case it was really that one instance (just happened) so 理解しなかった would be more correct
    – yui770
    Mar 27 at 4:00

1 Answer 1


The latter (理解していなかった私が悪い) is usually more natural. I assume something bad happened recently, and it was because of your failure to understand something, which happened even before that. Let me reuse the same image I posted in this question.

enter image description here

In your case, your main concern is probably the time when the bad outcome happened in the recent past (the eye icon in the bottom image). The "point of change" refers to your earlier opportunity to understand something (although nothing actually changed in your case). Saying 理解していなかった can express this time sequence.

On the other hand, 理解しなかった私が悪い is also okay, but this is a simple description of the past; your focus (the eye icon) is your past chance of understanding something. In the context of reflecting on the bad outcome, this may sound slightly sudden unless you clearly say あの時 or something as well.

In other words, 理解していなかった is like "I wasn't aware (when I finally made the mistake)", while 理解しなかった is like "I didn't learn it".

  • i see, thank you for the explanation as well as the graph! ill keep this in mind for the future
    – yui770
    Mar 27 at 6:06

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .