Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

What do you usually say when you are unsure of something?

Do you often say “I think?”

In today’s episode, Lindsay and Michelle share with you several phrases you can use instead of saying “I think.”

Listen in and learn how to say something more interesting, both in a formal and informal situation in English.

What to Say When You Are Unsure

In today’s episode, Lindsay and Michelle talk about ways to say you aren’t sure about something.

The most common phrase used is “I think…” to show that you are unsure.

At All Ears English, our goal is to provide you with better terms and phrases to use and avoid sounding like a textbook.

We share fun and unique phrases you can use to let others know you are unsure.

These examples will make you sound natural and more like a native English speaker.

Lindsay adds that with these phrases, you are showing your authentic self and refrain from sounding like a robot.

You are being honest and letting the other person know that you are not sure or you’re still thinking of the right answer or thing to say.

Phrases to Show You Are Unsure

When you are unsure of something, you don’t want to sound repetitive and keep using the phrase “I think…” when answering.

Lindsay and Michelle discuss different phrases you can use instead of saying “I think…” over and over again.

Here are the examples to bring variety to your vocabulary when expressing that you’re not definite with your answer:

  • “I wanna say…”

This means you don’t have the accurate data but you can provide an estimate.

It is often used when your answer is approximate to something and you are unsure.

You are giving them an estimate close to the right answer but not quite.

This is an honest way of providing the person what they are asking for with a disclaimer that your answer may not be entirely accurate but it is within that range.

Lindsay mentions that this phrase can also be used in business but in moderation.

If you keep saying “I wanna say…”, it makes you sound like you are guessing and you are often unsure of your answers.

Pronunciation is also important to make you sound like a native English speaker.

You have to say “wanna” instead of “want to.”

Examples:

She will meet you there. What’s her name? I wanna say…Marie? “

There should be some money left over in that account. I wanna say…500 dollars.”

  • “It should be around…”

This is used to predict a number, a time or a measurement.

Just like the previous phrase mentioned above, you are providing an estimate as your answer.

You will usually hear this being used when estimating timelines for projects or arrival from a vacation or business trip.

Example:

“I’m not sure how long it will take. It should be around…20 minutes.”

  • “I’m gonna go with”

This is often used in games where you are openly guessing your answer.

You can also use this when using your instinct to answer something important.

This is often used by contestants in game shows and quiz bees.

Example:

“Her title..what’s her title. I’m gonna go with VP of Student Affairs. “

  • “I believe…”

This is a formal phrase to use when you are unsure about your answer.

This is perfect to use when you are at work or when answering questions in a job interview.

You can also hear this being used when they are answering questions that require an opinion in a formal setting.

Example:

“You two have met…I believe in 2009?”

Roleplay

Lindsay and Michelle use roleplaying to show how to better use all the phrases discussed in this episode.

Michelle reminds us that we may stack these phrases together when needed but do not overuse a certain phrase to avoid sounding repetitive.

In this roleplay, Lindsay and Michelle are coworkers in the event planning industry.

Lindsay: Ok so…there should be…I wanna say…50 people there.

Michelle: That sounds about right. It should be around, 25 bucks a head then.

Lindsay: Right right. And the client..what’s her name again? I’m gonna go with…Jean..Jean wants flowers on half of the tables.

Michelle: Yeah it is Jean. I believe she said 75 percent of the tables actually.

Lindsay: That’s right you got it.

In this roleplay, you can see that Lindsay and Michelle are using the phrases in context to the estimated number of guests that will attend their event.

They talk about the cost implications and the additional preparation they need to do in relation to their approximate attendance of guests.

Takeaway

Lindsay asks Michelle what these phrases add to someone’s English vocabulary.

Michelle answers that it adds fun and variety to your vocabulary and helps you steer away from using “I think…” which makes you sound bland.

It also makes you sound more natural and comfortable in English.

Lindsay shares that this can also help you be more confident when answering questions or participating in discussions and conversations at work.

On top of that, it helps you connect easily with others and build relationships in English.

What phrase will you use to replace “I think…” in your conversations?

Share with us how you will use it in the comments below.

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