Women are difficult to read sometimes

If I use other ways to say that, such as “it’s difficult to understand women’s mind” or “women’s thinking is hard to know”, does it make sense? Is it weird? Do people say that?
Thank you!!

1 Like

First, I would never say this because my wife would hit me, but if it has to be said… “Women are sometimes difficult to understand.” “It’s difficult to know what is on a woman’s mind sometimes.” “I really don’t understand how women think at times.” It could be said many different ways.

“women’s mind” or “women’s thinking” would be a little strange, unless that is what you mean to say. Those phrases say there is a specifically feminine way of thinking. I don’t imagine the writer of the movie had something that direct in mind. I think “it’s difficult to understand a woman” would be closer to the original intent.

1 Like

Here’s a good example of the difference between what is grammatically correct to say, what is colloquially uttered in certain situations, and what is socially appropriate/acceptable to say in various contexts.

It is grammatically correct to say, “women are difficult to read sometimes.” Colloquially – in a conversation – it is something that a man could say and is something that some man somewhere has undoubtedly said. Yet it says a lot about the speaker: i.e., I am not at fault for failing to understand an entire class of people that is biologically different from me. No woman would say this about understanding other women. (I’m speaking about here in America and even here there would be great differences among the population. To what extent it applies in other societies, I would not presume to generalize.)

I think many (American) women would find the comment insulting (as scgrant176 noted concerning his wife). In many circles in America, where gender equality is a goal (although admittedly not a reality), many would find this inadvisable for men to say this in public, although they may very well say this amongst their male friends.

Alternative ways of conveying a similar meaning offered by scgrant176 are more socially acceptable “in mixed company” (that is, in a situation which includes men and women). In general, saying, “it is difficult to know what is on a woman’s mind” (singular) would be preferable to, “it is difficult to know what is on women’s minds” (plural). The first sentence refers to a single woman, while the gross generalization about women generally in the second sentence is inherently more insulting and insensitive.

“It’s difficult to understand women’s mind” is incorrect grammatically as “women” don’t have a single mind. “Women’s thinking is hard to know” is awkward, as scgrant176 noted. One can talk about a specific “woman’s thinking” regarding a specific issue, but to refer to “women’s thinking” as if it were a generally accepted fact, is something to which many would object.

In short, grammar affects the understandable options as to how to say something. However, there are still many nuanced choices as to how something is said by specific individuals in a given context and, in turn, how an individual’s speech is interpreted. For language learners, the easier task is to learn grammar rules, the more challenging hurdle is to learn the nuances of context.


Thank you so much! I’ve learned several ways to describe it.

People are difficult to read sometimes.
Generally speaking, men tend feel that women are difficult to read, and women tend to feel that men are difficult to read.

When you cannot understand why someone behaves in a certain way, you will feel that you cannot read him or her. But, even if you can understand the motive of other people’s behavior, you might not want to approve it. Sometimes a man and a woman find themselves in so-called zero-sum-game situations.