Consider the following sentence:

I don't know.

Easily, the Spanish for this would be:

No sé.

How can one place some stress on the "not knowing" part of this sentence...maybe when one is a little annoyed while saying it? In English, one could say:

I just don't know!

Is there any way to translate the sense of "just" in Spanish in this context?

4 Answers 4


I just don't know could be translated to this most of the times:

Simplemente no lo sé.

Also sencillamente, same as simplemente.

It is more or less neutral, you can use it in many context, probably in all of them. But depending on the context (mostly the question that is being answered and the mood of the respondent) other forms could be more expressive:

No lo sé, y ya está.
[Te he dicho] ¡que no lo sé!

A lot of stress here, probably it means stop asking me or I'll get angry.

  • 1
    Does no lo se, y ya esta mean "I don't know and that's that"?
    – David G
    Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 19:10
  • 1
    @0x499602D2, here y ya está means that you won't add anything else (and you are probably annoyed), or maybe that there is nothing else to say, so I would translate it to period / full stop, or maybe and that's all.
    – Lucas
    Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 21:06

Some other usual alternatives, to add to Lucas' answer:

  De verdad, no sé.
  ¡Te digo que no lo sé!
  No sé, y punto. (=y basta).

The word just has no straightforward translation to Spanish. The correct translation depends on the sentence.

In this case, I would suggest no tengo ni idea, at least in Spain. This expression begs the listener to stop asking. It can also convey annoyance, though not necessarily.

  • 1
    Isn't "no tengo ni idea" a straightforward translation for "I have no idea". I don't see how this conveys any further emphasis as "No sé" and "I don't know", respectively.
    – Em1
    Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 12:28
  • 1
    No tengo ni idea means, more or less, I don't know at all, so it is more emphatic than just No sé. Other suggested constructions, in my opinion, are unusual or convey a strong annoyance (rather than being maybe a little annoyed, os OP said).
    – Gorpik
    Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 13:50
  • 3
    @em1 it means more like "I haven't a clue" which is definitely stronger than simply "I don't know" Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 13:57
  • Sencillamente no lo sé
  • Simplemente no lo sé
  • No tengo ni la más mínima idea
  • No tengo ni la más remota idea

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