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7 Ways to Say You Do Not Know

It is important to know different ways to say things, so you can communicate more effectively with native speakers and sound more natural and fluent when you speak English.

Let's take a look at a few different ways to express that we do not know something.

1. I don't know.

Obviously, this is the most basic and most used way.

Remember that we can add nouns or noun clauses after the word "know".
  • I don't know her.
  • She doesn't know the answer.
  • I don't know how to do it.
  • She doesn't know where to go.
  • He doesn't know when it started.
  • I don't know why he left early.
2. I have no idea.

This is another very common expression. It has the same meaning as "I don't know".

We use it on its own.

A) Who was the 7th American president?
B) I have no idea.

We can also use noun clauses after the word "idea".
  • I have no idea what she is doing.
  • I have no idea what to do.
  • She has no idea that we are planning a surprise party for her.
  • He has no idea where Nepal is on a map.
3. I have no clue.

This expression is exactly the same as "I have no idea" and "I don't know".

We can use it on its own.

A) What is the 3rd biggest planet in our solar system?
B) I have no clue.

We can also add noun clauses to the end.
  • I have no clue where she went.
  • I have no clue how to fix this.
  • She has no clue what will happen.
4. Your guess is as good as mine.

This means that you should not ask me because I also do not know. This expression is always used by itself.

A) How does this machine work?
B) Your guess is as good as mine.

5. I'm stumped.

This expression is used when we do not know how to solve a problem. It has a feeling of not knowing and being confused. We sometimes use it together with "I don't know".

A) What is the answer?
B) I don't know. I'm stumped.

A) I can't figure out how to solve this math problem. I'm stumped.
B) I'm stumped, too.

Do not use it for basic information things.

A) Where is Sally?
B) I don't know. I'm stumped.

Stumped is not correct in this sentence because we are not confused by anything. We just do not know where Sally is.

6. I'm at a loss.

This expression is very similar to "I'm stumped". We usually use it when we are confused or unsure, and we do not know what to do.

Here are some common sentences that use this expression.
  • I'm at a loss for words.
    (=I don't know what to say.)

  • I'm at a loss about what to do.
    (=I don't know what to do.)
We can also use this as a general expression when we do not what to do or say.

A) The CEO just quit and I heard the company is being investigated by the police. What should we do?
B) To be honest, I am at a loss.

7. I'm puzzled.

We use this expression when we do not know and we are confused or perplexed.
  • I'm puzzled by this problem.
  • I was puzzled by her reaction.
  • They were puzzled by his actions.
This lesson can help you become a natural English speaker. There are certain situations when the language that you learned in this English lesson can be very useful. Try to use one of these phrases or expressions the next time you speak English.

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