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What to Say instead of “I Don’t Know” – 12 Best Alternatives


Being frank and true to whoever you come across is although a good quality but sometimes creates a negative impact in the eyes of others. Others especially are the employers, colleagues, boss in your company or the organization.

You are assigned a task, even if you don’t know anything about that project, just try and stay calm, think a little and then respond, but do not directly shoot the answer I don’t know to the one assigning you the task. There are many ways in which you can get over this difficult situation of directly saying no and mould your answers in altogether smart ways.

instead of i don't know

How to Stop Saying ‘I Don’t Know’ Frequently:

1. I am not sure if I am the best one to answer or tell about this:

Yes, this is one of the good ways in which you can respond and maintain your professionalism in front of the office mates. If you are being questioned about something or you are being asked to accomplish some task that you have no idea of how to start even then do not directly say no, I don’t know.

Just respond in a smart manner by saying I am not sure if I will be the best one to answer this for you. This will give you the confidence and also will not project you in a negative manner in front of others.

2. Let me be sure that I do understand which information you are exactly looking for:

For many of the reasons, it is one of the best responses you can give. This will help you in handling the remarks and the requests. Also, if you are given any work, then you may even look for the extra information so as to know more.

You will be able to make yourself clear about the concept by doing more research on that specific topic. So, this also forms one of the best answers than saying no.

3. I can tell you in parts, but would like to know it further and get back to you:

i can tell you

Many times it happens that we are not aware of something or the other, we have the notion of giving up that quickly. Postponing your answer till you gather all the relevant facts will help buy you lot amount of credibility.

People will come to know that you know little about something but want to collect more information, facts and the exact statistics. This way you are ahead of all as you have what others won’t have.

4. That’s exactly what I was looking for to answer:

You are researching, still doing, but blank in front of the boss about what to say for the query they have asked. Just say that it was exactly what I was looking for to answer ahead. This will show your boss, client or whosoever is questioning you, that the answer will surely come, may be late or early but it will be there. This way you are able to put a little amount of premium to your answer.

5. I know an expert who can certainly help you in solving this issue:

You don’t know even the ABC of the content your boss is talking on to you, but you can move ahead with some expert that you know and can give a reference to that particular person.

Though it won’t help make you a mark in terms of work that you could not do, but will certainly carve a niche by showing that you do have contacts. Telling and discussing your sources with your colleagues and others is a good way of building a mark for yourself.

6. May I please have some time to think? Request for what you want:

some time to think

Requesting and also getting your work done is the best part when you have no idea of doing something that you find very difficult. Saying no directly will do no good to you and not even to the one whom you are responding.

Just add please to what you are asking for, it will showcase how humble you are and also will portray truth to the other person.

7. Where could I get more information about this particular topic?

When you are given a certain topic, do not get confused and reply blisteringly to your boss that you are not aware or don’t know anything about any topic. This will show your negative approach and also will put wrong impression in front of others.

If you are not satisfied with the information you got till now and wish to know more, then ask for where you could get more information about the discussed topic. This will show your interest in the present topic, also will put forth a good impression.

8. That’s a timely query because I am currently searching for XYZ information:

When you know the topic to be discussed is timely, it gives an impression that you will cover what you did not know. Suppose you came back from the vacation, you did not know what happened in your absence, then without becoming a hurdle in the whole conversation, just say that you were presently working on some other topic and will cover what you had not known so far. This shows that you do posses an interest in covering up what you left behind.

9. Let me try and connect with you:

let me try

Trying and not giving up is the spirit. Just say that you would like to try and try again to understand the concept. Just concentrate on what the other person is trying and saying. This will build interest in you as well as the other person, showing that you are trying your best to get the best output.

It is very easy to please the clients by showing a little insight of what we do. If however you think you are hurting your image and reputation., then stop it and change your track. Gently and honestly explain why some other person is better than you and also set time to contact that person, so as to unfold the information.

10. I am not sure whether I will be able to give you the best:

When you yourself express lack of surety to the other person, it builds your goodwill in terms of honesty. The people think that you are also honest and will rely on you for any other work. The trust factor will build and ultimately will provide you better image amongst others in the organization.

11. May I take a little more time to get divulged into the matter?

When you are not known to the subject, then you are always welcomed to ask for extra time. Asking for little more time is not at all bad, but gives others an idea of what you are and how you are in working. It also tells about the work approach you have towards the task assigned to you.

Just say it frankly that you need more time to get yourself acquainted with the accurate information which will help you lead to success, whereas a little and wrong information will lead to behind. So, Choice is yours!

12. Can you assist me by giving some more hints?

some more hints

Wao, this is just next to awesome. Ask for little more hints and after gathering all the information, start with your work. Do not shy in getting help of those who know more than you. Firstly, it will enhance your skills. Secondly, it will assist you in working smoothly without any hurdle. What else is needed.


So, above are some of the tactics or you may even say them as tricks to hold on to the discussion with a positive answer also making a mark in front of others. It is always advisable to be honest and frank but in a smart way so that your credibility is not affected.

Saying no directly is like destroying your own erecting building by throwing rocks and stones on it. Just do not do so, try and handle the situation. Do not panic if you don’t know the answer. Act smartly and be straight forward. Say your heart out as above all honesty is the best policy and pays in the long run.