1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Spanish
  4. >
  5. "I really don't know."

"I really don't know."

Translation:De verdad no lo sé.

March 8, 2018



The "lo" appears to be used because you are really saying: "I really don't know it". So the lo refers to "it".


Is it implied? Maybe not. "I really don't know" and "I really don't know it" are not the same in meaning.



If the lo is omitted, then I might interpret the sentence to mean the same as if the "lo" were included.

Likewise, if you tell me "I don't know", then I might interpret you to mean the same as if you had said "I don't know it."

So, depending on the circumstances, the lo or the it might be implied.


In reply to myself:

Evidently Duo agrees with what I said in my post, above, because Duo just gave me credit for answering without including the word, "lo". I am pasting my answer into this post.

  • Realmente no sé.


Can it be "No lo sé de verdad"?


I did, and it took it, 6-5-2020


"Realmente no sé" rejected and reported 08/03/2018. I reported this because the correct answer given was "Realmente no lo sé" (transitive) but the origin English sentence is (intransitive). The english sentence simply states that the subject (I) is in the present (sé) state of not knowing. Nothing more! Simplified if the sentence "I know." = "Lo sé." = "I know it." then "I swim." = "Lo nado."= "I swim it." I think not.

My dictionaries concur that both "saber" and "to know" can be used transitively and intransitively.

My sources: Spanishdict.com and Merriam-webster.com.



The DOP was introduced in the Spanish translation to change the meaning of the sentence even though there is already a valid Spanish construct that provides the correct semantics for the given English sentence. "Realmente no sé"


What is a DOP?


From context, I'm assuming "direct object pronoun."

In the sentence: "No lo sé," the word "lo" is the direct object pronoun because "it" receives the action of the verb (being known).


Why do we need the "lo"?


Lo means "it" in a way. Lo sè = "It I know". just a easy way to say that I know something. Its used when not talking about something specific that you know or dont know. It's one of those things, but not the worst to remember..


Which spanish lesson covers "lo"?


No sé.

I don't think that a little Duo blurb will be enough to explain "lo." These two articles really helped me: https://www.realfastspanish.com/vocabulary/uses-of-lo and https://www.thoughtco.com/using-lo-spanish-3079438


Why "yo de verdad no lo se" wasn't accepted?


probably because you split the pronoun and the verb construct with the adverb? maybe that is technically acceptable, but every example i come across puts the adverb at the beginning or end of the verbal construct: de verdad (yo) no lo sé or more emphatically: (yo) no lo sé de verdad

not sure if this changes when using object nouns (which come after the verb) vs pronouns (which come before the verb in most cases)?


I was wondering the same thing.


why is "lo" used with no lo se. What does "lo" mean and when do use it


lo is used with se' when there is no reference to what you know or don't know (like an "it"), as in this sentence. yo se' or just se' would be used if you know what the "it" is, such as a certain thing or person. For example, if this sentence said "I don't know this word", lo would not be used because you know what the "it" is, rather it would be "yo no se' esta palabra" or just "no se' esta palabra".


I know we are supposed to be learning things conceptually and not "word for word" but it bugs me as I build my vocab sheets when the actual meaning of the word is obscured - "verdad" doesn't mean "really" it means "truth". So, yes, this phrase is useful for when you want to convey that you know or don't actually know the facts or the truth about something, and can ideologically translate to English as "I really don't know", but this phrase actually means "I don't know the truth" and that is still conceptually compatible, so why not just use it, or include it in the definition?


you're confused. this phrase doesn't mean i don't know the truth it means "in truth, i don't know (it)"


Why "Yo de verdad no lo sé" war marked as wrong?


At first I thought it was because you separated "yo" from "no lo sé." But then I went to SpanishDict and found the following example:

Ray, tú de verdad necesitas venir a jugar en mi equipo.

Ray, you really need to come play on my team.

See https://www.spanishdict.com/translate/de%20verdad

So, I don't know why it wasn't accepted. In my (admitted limited) experience, your construction just doesn't look right, but I can't give a reason for that feeling.


I use this phrase in Mexico and they understand me.


What's the "lo" for?



The Spanish word, lo, has multiple possible meanings depending on which Spanish sentence it is used in and depending on its part of speech. So it is not surprising that Spanish students get mixed up about this word.

For example, the post by AlfoJr explained the term incorrectly. AlfoJr should have explained that this word, when it is used as a verbal object in this kind of sentence, actually does refer to something in a previous statement. But AlfoJr made the opposite assertion (or something similar to the opposite).


Can someone explain when to use se and when not to?


There is a tips section for each lesson through the first 5 levels of the lesson tree. Saber is used when you know information or how to do something. Conocer is used when you know a person or a place.

I really don't know why. = De verdad no sé por qué.
I know that. = Sé eso.
I know her. = La conozco.


yo realmente no se


So what I thought I learnd in MANY previous excercises using "sé" WITHOUT "lo" is not to be trusted ?


I've seen it used without lo


I tried "yo no sé verdad" ..i guess that is wrong..


There was no 'it' to begin with. So why do we need to use 'it' (lo)?


"En verdad, no sé." Accepted 03/04/20.


I answered 'Yo no lo sé' and got as the correct answer 'No lo sé' . Why is that ?



Duo's response doesn't make a lot of sense. But I can explain the real reason that your answer is wrong.

The Duolingo exercise is to translate from English into Spanish. Here is the English sentence:

  • I really don't know.

Okay, the English word that I highlighted in red needs to be translated into Spanish. But you answered 'Yo no lo sé.'


Why not put Yo instead of lo


I don't understand the "lo" part of this answer. What does the "lo" stand for?


"Lo" is a pronoun. It's most often used in a SECOND sentence to refer back to a noun in the first:

¿Conoces a Juan?

No lo conozco.

In my example, "lo" refers back to "Juan" and means "him."

This nice article explains its usual uses: https://www.realfastspanish.com/vocabulary/uses-of-lo

What Mr. Barr doesn't cover is that "lo" can also mean an implied "it/that," especially in otherwise very short sentences.

While "No sé" does means "I don't know," it's much more common to hear people say "No lo sé," which literally translates to "I don't know it/that."

At this point in my language journey, I just accept that Spanish folk like the way "No lo sé" sounds better, and I try to move on.


Why can't it be "Lo no sé de verdad"? Or does "de verdad" have to go in front of "lo no sé"?


First, "lo" needs to go between "no" and "sé."


De verdad no lo sé = I really don't know.

No lo sé de verdad = I don't really know.

Subtle, but the difference is there.


I'm confused as to what the connotation of this sentence is. Is it more like 'I have no idea' or 'Truly, I don't know [implying that someone thought they DID know and were lying about it]'? It's hard to tell if "de verdad" is literal or just for emphasis here.


It's difficult to understand the connotation of one isolated sentence. But here goes: I think that when "de verdad" is used at the beginning of a sentence, it is more akin to "truly," as in "I truly don't know." That's the same idea behind "really" -- as in "the reality is." To me, the thrust is that the speaker is emphasizing that she is telling the truth that she doesn't know.

I don't think that the isolated sentence is conveying whether the person has changed her mind or is casting aspersions on another.

Or, I could be totally wrong, and the person is just being emphatic about being totally stumped by whatever is in front of her. Maybe mom walked into a disaster of living room and says, "I really don't know...."


As a native English speaker, I haven't thought much about using the word "really", but now that I do, you're right - it can be just as confusing in English as in Spanish. It probably does depend on context. Thanks!


What's the literal translation here?


De verdad no lo sé. means "I really don't know." To break it apart:

De verdad = "of truth" but it means "really" or "real", see https://www.spanishdict.com/translate/de%20verdad

Lo sé = means "I know." See https://www.spanishdict.com/translate/lo%20s%C3%A9.

You'll notice that I eschewed word-for-word translation. That's because words often mean different things IN CONTEXT.

"Lo is one of those Spanish words that doesn't always have a clear definition—and it can function in at least four different ways, as a subject pronoun, object pronoun, definite article, or part of a phrase." See https://www.thoughtco.com/using-lo-spanish-3079438


no sé realmente was accepted August 2020


Why do you need the "De"?


It's just part of the phrase. Where English speakers could say, "really" or "truthfully," Spanish speakers -- in this construction -- use "de verdad." (There are other Spanish words and phrases that can be used to mean "really" or "truthfully," but this construction -- de verdad -- is very common.)


why do they pop up de verdad when it has never been seen for over 150 days of lessons?


To me, the better question is why haven't we seen it before? One hears this phrase in Mexico all the time.


why is the "lo" needed?


why no de verdad yo no lo se?


"De verdad" is a set phrase or idiom. It just goes together. You could also use "realmente," but that's not as common as "de verdad."

Learn Spanish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.