Hello, I’m very confused of using the phrase “I have no idea” and “ I don’t know”. I’m wondering is the phrase “I have no idea” considered rude or impolite to native speakers? Or can it be used in the same context as I don’t know? Thank you.

Original Post

Hello, Jessica, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange.

@Former Member posted:

I’m very confused of using the phrase “I have no idea” and “ I don’t know”. I’m wondering is the phrase “I have no idea” considered rude or impolite to native speakers? Or can it be used in the same context as I don’t know?

I think it all depends on how you say it, and in what context. You can even emphasize the idea of not knowing by saying things like:

- I have no idea whatsoever.
- I don't have the slightest / faintest / foggiest / haziest idea.

Any of those phrases will sound more polite, I guess, if you start by saying you're sorry:

- Sorry, but I have no idea.

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