5 ways to replace “I know” in your language and sound more positive

5 ways to replace “I know” in your language and sound more positive

How do you feel when someone says “I know” after you comment on something? Or do you often reply “I know” in a conversation?

In case you haven’t noticed, this is usually considered as a negative speaking pattern.



  1. It makes you sound arrogant

  2. It holds you back

  3. It stops you from learning further

And it also sounds unpleasant and hard to listen to.

How does this happen?

The moment we say “I know”, it shows that we think we have known what the other person has to say, which means we are not curious about his/her point anymore. In that situation, we don’t see the need for elaboration or explanation. We assume that we have got the whole picture, when we don’t even validate our assumptions.

However, this is a typical example of the famous concept in NLP

The map is not the territory.

When we say “I know”, we are using our internal map to navigate the external world. It gives a faulty sense of shortcut, and we need to be aware the world is larger than we think.

So what can we say instead?

  1. That’s right

    If the person reveals information that you have heard before, and you agree with that, this is what you can say to show your support. The same goes for “So true” or “Indeed”.

  2. Yes! (plus your citation or source)

    Some smarty-pants like to show off? Then complement it with a reference. If you do know, show your party how much you know with credibility.

  3. I hear you, and we can….

    A lot of time when a person is telling us something, it is not because they are assuming we don’t know, it is because they don’t see any signs indicating we DO know. To make it more relatable, you can signpost your understanding with an affirmation phrase and take the conversation to the next step.

  4. I see…. (paraphrase the statement you just heard)

    Another big nono is just saying “I see what you mean” without any elaboration – That is no less irritating than “I know.” If you strongly believe that you have understood everything from the other person, why don’t you just check-in with him/her? Perhaps you will find something new after you reframe it, then you learn more too!

  5. Thank you!

    Yes, just say “thank you”. If we are honest about the reason why people sometimes tell us what we have known, it is probably not that pleasant – Like your parents nagging you it is healthy to eat more green. Of course you know! But do you want to change your diet? Probably not. So a simple thank you can cut you loose without irritation, if that is what you think is best for you.

Honestly “I know” is more about your ego than anything else – a phrase trips off the tongue for me at times too. I can usually spot it when I am in a conversation with anyone, and you will be surprised how often some people can be so obsessive with it while others rarely say it.

Or maybe you’ve known this already. 😉

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