I don’t know in Russian: How to say?

Jul 19, 2021 | How to say it in Russian?

Some time ago, we have already looked into how to say I know in Russian.

Today, let’s see how to say I don’t know in Russian.

The simpliest and most straightforward way is to add не in front of the verb.

– Я не зна́ю.
– I don’t know.

However, there are other ways that are not directly translated as I don’t know, but in essence mean the same:

– Я не в ку́рсе.
– I’m not in the know.

– Я не представля́ю.
– I have no idea (lit.: I don’t imagine).

– Поня́тия не име́ю.
– I have no idea.

– Без поня́тия.
– No idea.

– Мне не изве́стно.
– I don’t know (lit.: It is unknown to me).

Among friends, you might also here this colloquial version:

– Отку́да я зна́ю?
– How do I know?


– Отку́да мне знать?
– How do I know?

It is mostly used when someone is asked something that he or she is not really supposed to know.

Listen to "I don’t know" in Russian

The audio recording includes all the examples (in bold and blue) listed above.

Related Russian words

to know
в ку́рсе [v kúrsye] Phrase
in the know, familiar with, (to be) posted, (to be) aware

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