70+ Different Ways to Say I DON’T KNOW in English

How many times have you said “I don’t know”? They’re simple, honest words that we use all the time. Sometimes, saying “I don’t know” can feel like a cop-out. Like we should have all the answers. But the truth is, there are other ways to say I don’t know that can be just as powerful (and honest), without feeling so plain and boring.

Formal Ways to Say I Don’t Know

70 Different Ways to Say I DON'T KNOW in EnglishPin

List of Formal Ways to Say I Don’t Know

  1. I would need more information before giving an accurate response.
  2. I’m afraid I’m not in a position to answer that.
  3. That isn’t something I can speak to at this time.
  4. That’s a great question, but I’m not sure.
  5. I can’t say for certain.
  6. That is beyond my scope of knowledge.
  7. I’m sorry, but I can’t answer that question confidently.
  8. This is a new experience for me.
  9. Let me think about that and get back to you.
  10. I need more information before I can answer that question fully.

How to Use Some of These Phrases

Assuming you are in a business meeting with your junior colleagues, you could use the phrase “That is beyond my scope of knowledge” to imply that the question asked was more suitable for a more senior colleague.

When dealing with something new, you could say “This is a new experience for me” to imply that you are not familiar with the topic at hand.

Informal Ways to Say I Don’t Know

List of Informal Ways to Say I Don’t Know

  1. I haven’t the foggiest.
  2. Hmmm… not sure about that one.
  3. It’s a mystery to me.
  4. Gosh, I wish I knew the answer.
  5. That’s a puzzler.
  6. I’m still learning about this topic myself.
  7. That’s a great question! I don’t have the answer off the top of my head, but let me look into it and get back to you ASAP.
  8. Hmm…that’s something I haven’t thought about before! Let me do some research and see what I can find out.

How to Use Some of These Phrases

If a friend asks for your advice about something you are not familiar with, you could use “Gosh, I wish I knew the answer” to express that you sympathize but don’t have an answer.

If someone is asking you a difficult question, you could say “That’s a puzzler” to show that you have thought about the question but don’t know the answer.

Idiomatic Ways to Say I Don’t Know

  1. Not as far as I’m aware.
  2. I don’t have a clue.
  3. No idea whatsoever.
  4. Your guess is as good as mine.
  5. What do I know?
  6. Search me!

Funny Ways to Say I Don’t Know

  1. Nope, not a single inkling.
  2. That’s above my pay grade.
  3. I’m in the dark here!
  4. That’s beyond my understanding.
  5. That’s outside my wheelhouse.
  6. No can do, amigo!
  7. Beats me!

Remember, there is no shame in admitting that you don’t know something! In fact, these phrases show that you are curious and want to learn more – which is always a good thing. So next time you find yourself stuck with “I don’t know,” try one of these instead!

Other Ways to Say “I Don’t Know”

List of 40 other ways to say I don’t know in English.

  1. Beats me.
  2. Hmm…
  3. I am not the best person to answer that.
  4. I can find out for you.
  5. I can’t remember off the top of my head. I’ll get back to you on that.
  6. I don’t have that information here right now.
  7. I don’t know anything about…
  8. I have no clue/idea.
  9. I haven’t/ haven’t got a clue.
  10. I haven’t got the faintest idea.
  11. I haven’t had time to think that through yet.
  12. I haven’t looked at that yet.
  13. I want to be sure and give you the correct information. Let me check.
  14. I’ll double-check and let you know.
  15. I’ll find out and let you know.
  16. I’ll get back to you on that one.
  17. I’m going to investigate that further.
  18. I’m not 100% sure on that.
  19. I’m not sure/unsure.
  20. I’m probably not the best person to ask for that information.
  21. I’ve been wondering the same thing!
  22. I’m afraid. I have no idea
  23. It could be one of many possibilities, I’ll look into it.
  24. It’s a mystery to me.
  25. It’s beyond me.
  26. Let me check on that.
  27. Let me find out for you.
  28. Let me look that up for you.
  29. Search me.
  30. That requires a bit more research first.
  31. That’s a really good question, I’ll check/ find out.
  32. That’s not my area of expertise, I’ll ask …..
  33. That’s something I want you to find out for yourself!
  34. That’s exactly what I’m seeking to answer.
  35. That’s a good question, but I don’t know.
  36. That’s a good question, I’ll check this.
  37. There are several possible answers, I’ll need more information first.
  38. What do you suggest?
  39. What do you think?
  40. Who knows?

Ways to Respond to “I Don’t Know”

Comforting Responses

When someone says “I don’t know,” they may feel embarrassed or ashamed. It is important to respond in a way that is comforting and reassuring. Here are some comforting responses:

  • “It’s okay not to know. We can work together to find the answer.”
  • “Don’t worry, we’ll figure it out together.”
  • “I understand it can be difficult to know everything. Let’s take a moment to think about it.”
  • “Let’s find out together.”
  • “That’s a great question. Let’s look it up.”
  • “I’m not sure either. Let’s brainstorm some possibilities.”

By using these comforting responses, you can help the person feel more at ease and confident in finding the answer.

Motivational Responses

Sometimes, when someone says “I don’t know,” it can be a sign of low confidence or motivation. In these cases, it is important to respond in a way that is motivational and encouraging. Here are some motivational responses:

  • “I believe in you. You can do this.”
  • “Let’s take a step back and look at the bigger picture. What do you think might be the answer?”
  • “Don’t give up. We’ll keep trying until we find the answer.”
  • “It’s okay not to know everything. Let’s figure it out together.”
  • “I appreciate your honesty. Let’s work together to find the answer.”
  • “I respect your honesty. Let’s see if we can find the answer together.”

By using these motivational responses, you can help the person feel more motivated and confident in finding the answer.

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