19 Other Ways to Say “Doesn’t Make Sense”

People are imperfect, and we don’t always articulate ourselves well. So, how do you let someone know that they aren’t making any sense politely and professionally?

We intend to answer that question, while also providing some useful synonyms for the phrase “doesn’t make sense.”

Other Ways to Say “Doesn’t Make Sense”

  • Please explain further
  • I don’t quite follow
  • Incomprehensible
  • Not quite clear
  • If you wouldn’t mind clarifying
  • Nonsensical
  • Unintelligible
  • Cryptic
  • Inexplicable
  • Absurd
  • I don’t understand
  • Makes no sense
  • I don’t get it
  • Not sure what you mean
  • Ludicrous
  • Contradictory
  • Unsound
  • Has no sense
  • Struggling to understand


  • The phrase “doesn’t make sense” may come across as rude in most contexts, so it should be used cautiously.
  • In formal circumstances, you can say “please explain further” as a polite alternative.
  • In informal settings, you can say “I don’t quite follow.”

Before you click away! We’ll be discussing our choice of formal and informal synonyms for “doesn’t make sense” next. So, stick around to see some useful examples.

After that, we’ll discuss whether the phrase “doesn’t make sense” is too rude to use.

Please Explain Further (Formal)

If you’re wondering how to say “doesn’t make sense” politely, we suggest asking for clarification. Therefore, “please explain further” is our choice of formal synonym for this phrase.

If you want to maintain a good rapport with your employer or coworkers, the phrase “doesn’t make sense” should probably be avoided in most circumstances (even if what you’re looking at is truly nonsensical!)

Instead of pointing out the flaws in what someone else has said or provided, you can simply ask for more explanation. Hopefully, this will help you make sense of things!

Finally, have a look at the following email example to see this phrase in action:

Dear Kendrick,

Could you please explain further what is expected when it comes to our talent acquisition strategy? I haven’t quite understood the brief.

Annabella Reise

I Don’t Quite Follow (Informal)

A nicer way to say “doesn’t make sense” is “I don’t quite follow.”

As this phrase is a more informal alternative, you may want to avoid using it when speaking to superiors. After all, you want to look competent and on top of things when speaking to your boss!

Nonetheless, this phrase is less accusatory and critical than “doesn’t make sense,” so we would recommend using it as a response to your coworkers when they’ve given unclear instructions.

Check out this example to see what we mean:

Hi Ken,

Thank you for your response, but I’m afraid I don’t quite follow your explanation about the Excel spreadsheet.

Would you be willing to have a call to discuss this?


Is It Rude to Say “Doesn’t Make Sense”?

The phrase “doesn’t make sense” will often come across as rude and abrasive, so we urge caution if you ever use it! This is the case in both formal and informal contexts.

There are certainly contexts in which using this phrase won’t be rude. Consider these examples, for instance:

  • It doesn’t make sense to me how people can be so lacking in compassion.
  • The data doesn’t make sense, so I have shifted some of the variables.

However, if you are using it to respond to a suggestion or instruction, particularly at work, you may alienate yourself from your colleagues:

  • I appreciate your feedback, but it doesn’t make sense.
  • That doesn’t make sense!

So, if you are given some rather illogical instructions at work, take a deep breath and use one of our more polite alternatives instead!

We hope this article made sense! If you find our list of alternatives helpful, go ahead and bookmark this page to keep them in your arsenal!