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I'm getting bored of repeating the same "I can't answer that" phrase over and over.

I'm trying other phrases, like "I'll leave that to your imagination," but that one sounds too weird.

Specifically, I'm not trying to avoid answering a question (so deflecting it is not in the question). I'm trying to reply to a question by asserting it's one I cannot answer, and that the asker should understand this.

I'm looking for both formal and informal phrases.

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closed as too broad by Kit Z. Fox Mar 17 '14 at 15:57

There are either too many possible answers, or good answers would be too long for this format. Please add details to narrow the answer set or to isolate an issue that can be answered in a few paragraphs.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Why do you have to repeat it? Is it to the same asker? What are you saying at the moment, that they are failing to understand? – AakashM Mar 13 '14 at 11:12
Why can't you answer? Forbidden, don't know, answer is poorly formed, ... Without knowing that, it's hard to suggest appropriate phrases. – keshlam Mar 13 '14 at 13:30
Yes, I think this depends a lot on context. For instance, in a job interview, "I'll leave that to your imagination" is probably not something you should ever say, for obvious reasons. :D – Kyle Strand Mar 13 '14 at 16:51
"Sorry, I'm under NDA." If you tell people that you aren't allowed to talk about it, they may stop pestering you. Or they may not, in which case the next step is "what part of 'legally liable if I blab' didn't you understand?" – keshlam Mar 13 '14 at 19:31
You could print "Sorry, I'm under NDA." on a t-shirt and point to it as necessary. – Jason C Mar 14 '14 at 1:08

32 Answers 32

For the NDA option: “talk to my lawyer.”

(Or in some domains, “You do understand that I am required to report that you asked to our compliance office?”)

For the original misinterpretation: “I don’t know and I don’t have time to do a web search.”

Sometimes I give them the URI for the web search they should have done.

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"That's beyond the scope of [this course/my expertise/what I'm allowed to discuss/ etc]."

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protected by Kit Z. Fox Mar 17 '14 at 15:57

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