DON'T KNOW WHAT TO SAY? HOW TO KNOW WHAT TO TALK ABOUT

     
Has this happened to lớn you at work: a colleague asks a question & you SHOULD know the answer… but you don’t. In that moment, your heart stops và you tìm kiếm your brain for a better way lớn say I don’t know in English. 
The truth is, if you say I don’t know at work, it can sound unprofessional.

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And sometimes it’s embarrassing.

Today I want to help you remove that stress và worry.

The good news is, native speakers have the SAME problems at work. So we have many alternatives that we can use instead.

In this Confident English lesson you’re going khổng lồ learn better ways to lớn say I don’t know when:

You should know the answer but you don’tYou’re not an expert but someone wants your opinionYou need more information to lớn give the right answer

Plus I’m going to mô tả some fun slang alternatives for I don’t know when it IS okay.
14 alternatives to lớn saying ‘I don’t know’ in English.
Lesson by Annemarie

14 Better Ways lớn Say ‘I Don’t Know’ in English at Work


How to say I don’t know (when you should know the answer)

You’re in the accounting department và your team is still working out the financial projections for the next year. 

You’ve got a meeting about this today & you know you’re not ready to lớn every question on this topic.

But saying ‘I don’t know’ isn’t an option.

Try one of these instead:

I’m not sure, but I’ll find out và let you know. I’ll find out.I’ll look into it và get back khổng lồ you with what I find.That’s a good question and I want to lớn get you the right information. Let me get back to you by end-of-day.

So your answer might sound like:

That’s an excellent question. My team and I are finalizing the projections on that & I’ll have your answer by the kết thúc of the day.


I don’t know when it’s not your area of expertise but someone wants lớn know your thoughts…

We all have our areas of expertise.

And then we have topics we don’t know so much about.

For example, everything I vày is focused on helping my students develop English confidence & fluency. THAT is my expertise.

But I also think climate change is an interesting topic. I’m not an expert, but I have some ideas & opinions. 

Here are 3 ways to lớn answer a question when you’re not the expert:

I’m not sure I’m the best person lớn answer that but… Here’s what I know và here’s what I don’t know… Based on my understanding, I believe that…

What khổng lồ say when it’s better to help someone find the answer…

Imagine you’re training a new employee at work.

If she asks you a question about her job, it’s MUCH better if you help her find the answer, right?

If you bởi vì that, she won’t need lớn ask again in the future.

In this case, it’s better khổng lồ learn together.

Instead of saying ‘I don’t know’ try one of these:

Great question. Let’s look into that.Let’s see if we can get some more information on that.

A better way lớn say I don’t know when you need more information lớn give the right answer.

Xem thêm: Cách Tập Cho Bé Ăn Cơm Thế Nào Là Khoa Học, Tập Cho Bé Ăn Cơm Thế Nào Là Khoa Học

Sometimes questions are unexpected and we don’t know what to say in that moment.

Sometimes there aren’t enough details to lớn understand the question or give a good answer.

And sometimes, you just need more time khổng lồ think.

Here’s two great options:

Before I answer, could you share a few more details about what you need/what you’re looking for?Before I answer your question, could you clarify your question?

Now what about when it IS okay to say ‘I don’t know’?

Your friend lost her keys — again!

She always does this and, of course, you have no idea where her keys are.

Here are a few casual ways lớn say I don’t know:

I don’t have the foggiest idea.I haven’t a clue.Who knows?Don’t ask me.Your guess is as good as mine.

❤️Love this lesson?

Check out my lesson on Better Ways lớn Say Yes, No, Maybe, và I Can’t or view it here on YouTube.
Now it’s time to lớn practice what you’ve learned.

This is the BEST way to địa chỉ cửa hàng new vocabulary and expressions to lớn your English — learn, practice, and repeat.

So here’s your chance to lớn try some new language.

In the phản hồi section below, tell me:

What would you say if your colleague asks you a question in a business meeting tomorrow & you don’t know the answer (but you should)?You may not be an expert on this but I’d love to know your thoughts: what vị you think is the best way khổng lồ gain English confidence and fluency?

Share your answers below và be sure khổng lồ include a new way to say I don’t know in English!

Have a fantastic Confident English Wednesday!

~ Annemarie

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21 Comments
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Mohamed Ahmed Yusuf
1 month ago

Thank you, Annemarie, very helpful tips


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Helga
9 months ago
Very helpful tips before my presentation with senior team today


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Author
Annemarie
9 months ago
Reply toHelga
Wonderful! I’m glad to hear that.


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Reply
Agata
1 year ago
I must write a professional communication & I need to lớn say

We don’t know each other


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Reply
Srishti
2 years ago
“I vị not have knowledge on that front.”Does this sound about right?


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Reply
Cinthya
3 years ago
How to say I don’t know (when I should know the answer) while interview section


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Reply
Yon
3 years ago
1. That’s an interesting question. I’ll look into it và let you know what I find.1. Let my chek my notes & I’ll get back to lớn you by end-of-day.2. Based on my understanding of the process of learning, I believe that studying and practicing are the best ways to lớn gain confidence và fluency in English.


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Author
Annemarie
3 years ago
Reply toYon
Fantastic, Yon! I love your example answers. They’re perfect for each situation.

Xem thêm: Cách Trang Trí Món Chả Giò Chiên, Page Not Found


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Alex
3 years ago
What is the best way khổng lồ ask for a pause during the conversation, when someone asked you a tough question and I just need a few minutes lớn find right words?

“Let me think about it” is one of the options


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Ahmad
3 years ago
I’m not sure I’m the best person to lớn answer that but, but I’m trying to vị my best to find the answer


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Author
Annemarie
3 years ago
Reply toAhmad
Great answer, Ahmad. But what’s the original question? If someone is asking you something that you SHOULD know, then this wouldn’t be the most appropriate. What could you say instead?


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Samurai
3 years ago
Let me discuss this point with my supervisor and I’ll get back to you soon.


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melai
3 years ago
Hello Anamarie,

I want to lớn point out that there are some mistakes in this page.The alternative answers are the same in scenarios: “How khổng lồ say I don’t know (when you should know the answer)” & “I don’t know when it’s not your area of expertise but someone wants to lớn know your thoughts…”


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Reply
Author
Annemarie
3 years ago
Reply tomelai
Oh my, thank you Melai! I’ve got it all fixed now.