Ways To Say I Don’t Know In French

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Written By Jessica Knight

Founder of Linguatics. Passionate multilinguist.

Looking to expand your French vocabulary? Want to be able to express yourself confidently in any situation? Well, look no further! In this article, we will guide you through the various ways to say ‘I don’t know’ in French. By the end, you’ll have a whole arsenal of phrases and expressions at your disposal.

From the straightforward ‘Je ne sais pas’ to the more colorful ‘Je suis perdu(e),’ we’ll cover it all. Whether you’re a beginner or more advanced in your French studies, this article will provide you with the tools you need to navigate any conversation with ease.

So, let’s dive in and discover the diverse ways to express uncertainty in French. Get ready to impress your friends, colleagues, and language partners with your newfound linguistic prowess!

Je ne sais pas (I don’t know)

Don’t worry if you don’t have all the answers, because in French, you can simply say ‘Tu sais pas’ to let someone know that you don’t have the slightest clue.

This phrase, ‘Tu sais pas,’ is a casual way to express your lack of knowledge or understanding.

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It’s a simple and straightforward way to admit when you don’t know something.

So, next time you’re unsure, just remember, ‘Tu sais pas.’

Je n’en ai aucune idée (I have no idea)

Absolutely clueless? You’ve got no idea whatsoever? Well, in that case, you can confidently say, ‘Je n’en ai aucune idée.’

This phrase, which translates to ‘I have no idea,’ is a perfect way to express your complete lack of knowledge or understanding.

It’s a concise and straightforward response that will leave no room for doubt.

So, the next time you’re faced with a question you can’t answer, remember to use this phrase and sound like a fluent French speaker.

Je ne peux pas vous répondre (I can’t answer you)

Unfortunately, I can’t answer you. It is regrettable that I am unable to provide you with a response at this time.

However, please feel free to ask any other questions you may have, and I will do my best to assist you.

It is important to note that sometimes there are situations where one may not have the necessary information or knowledge to provide an answer.

Thank you for your understanding.

Je suis perdu(e) (I am lost)

Feeling lost? Let me guide you through and help you find your way.

When you’re unsure of something in French, you can say ‘Je suis perdu(e)’ which literally translates to ‘I am lost.’

This expression is commonly used to convey that you don’t know the answer or are confused about a specific topic.

By using this phrase, you can effectively communicate your uncertainty and seek further guidance or clarification.

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Je ne suis pas sûr(e) (I’m not sure)

Uncertainty can be expressed in French by saying ‘Je ne suis pas sûr(e)’. This phrase is commonly used when you are unsure about something and need to express your lack of certainty. By using this expression, you convey your hesitation or doubt, indicating that you do not have a definite answer or opinion.

It is a polite way to acknowledge your uncertainty and seek additional information or confirmation.

Je ne peux pas vous aider (I can’t help you)

Regrettably, I can’t help you. It’s important to acknowledge that sometimes we don’t have the answers to every question. In this case, I am unable to provide the assistance you’re seeking.

However, there are other resources and individuals who may be able to assist you. It’s always worth exploring different avenues to find the information or help you need.

Ça m’échappe (It escapes me)

You’re struggling to grasp the concept and it’s slipping through your fingers like sand. But fear not, because there’s a phrase in French that perfectly captures this feeling: ‘Ça m’échappe.’

It literally means ‘It escapes me.’ This expression conveys your lack of understanding or knowledge about something, as if it’s just out of reach.

So next time you’re faced with a perplexing question, simply say, ‘Ça m’échappe.’

Aucune idée (No idea)

Surprisingly, when faced with a complex problem, you might find yourself uttering the phrase ‘Aucune idée’ to express your complete lack of knowledge or understanding.

This simple yet effective expression allows you to convey your uncertainty without hesitation. It is a concise way to admit that you have no clue about the subject at hand.

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‘Aucune idée’ is a straightforward and widely used phrase that perfectly captures the essence of not knowing.

Je ne saurais dire (I couldn’t say)

Now that you’re familiar with the phrase ‘Aucune idée’ meaning ‘No idea,’ let’s explore another way to express uncertainty in French.

The phrase ‘Je ne saurais dire’ translates to ‘I couldn’t say.’ This expression is commonly used when you genuinely don’t have the knowledge or ability to provide an answer.

It conveys a sense of humility and honesty, allowing you to gracefully admit your lack of knowledge or understanding.

Je ne suis pas au courant (I’m not aware)

Unbeknownst to you, there’s another phrase in French to express uncertainty: ‘Je ne suis pas au courant.’

This phrase, quite literally meaning ‘I’m not aware,’ is commonly used when you don’t have knowledge or information about a specific topic.

It’s a polite way to admit that you don’t know something without sounding ignorant.

So, next time you find yourself unsure, remember to use ‘Je ne suis pas au courant’ to express your lack of awareness.


In conclusion, there are several ways to express uncertainty or lack of knowledge in French. These phrases allow you to convey your uncertainty or lack of information in a clear and concise manner. Whether you’re feeling lost, unsure, or simply unaware, these phrases will help you navigate conversations and communicate effectively in French.

Some straightforward ways to say "I don’t know" in French include "Je ne sais pas" and "Je ne peux pas vous répondre." These phrases can be used in various situations to express your lack of knowledge.

So, the next time you find yourself in a situation where you don’t know, remember these phrases and confidently express your lack of knowledge.