what do the expressions "yo que se" and "que se yo" mean? | SpanishDict Answers
3 Vote

i am studying vocabulario de los estudios and i have to define these two expressions:

" ¡Yo qué se!" and " ¡Qué se yo!' , but i cannot find the defintions anywhere. it would be of great help if i could get somehelp in understanding these expressiones.

  • Posted May 11, 2011
  • | link
  • | flag

6 Answers

7 Vote

What do I know?

5 Vote

They usually translate as "I don't know!", "I have no idea!", "I have no clue!", etc.

  • Thank you Thommo , I was playing with the Italian ,Io no lo so , and almost got it from that , which of course means the same. - ray76 May 11, 2011 flag
4 Vote

Can I clarify this? Why is the translation in a negative form? I'm guessing it should be "I know that!"

"¡Qué sé yo? and ¡Yo qué sé? are responses to a question when you have absolutely no clue about the answer, but also want to convey to the asker that you were the wrong person to ask in the first place: How should I know !?

  • Ok! Now it make sense... Thanks! :) - tzarleen Aug 18, 2011 flag
0 Vote


Can I clarify this? Why is the translation in a negative form? I'm guessing it should be "I know that!"

Thanks! smile

0 Vote

I am native speaker of English with some proficiency in Spanish. I thought "Qué sé yo" was closer to "let me think" or "I don't know".

Eso costará... ¿qué sé yo? cien dólares. = That probably costs, I don't know, one hundred dollars

I'm unclear whether it can also mean "How should I know?"

  • Gintar77 and Jeezzle have the right answers - JulianChivi Feb 1, 2013 flag
0 Vote

Literally, the translation would be "what do I know?" as is a question.
Qué = what
sé = know (present, at this moment)
yo = I

But, as is an idiomatic expression, (near to a slang), its use is way less literal than that. As native of neither Spanish nor English (but Portuguese), I could say that this is my favourite untranslatable expression in Latin-Spanish.

"¿Qué sé yo?" has always some sarcasm implicit on it. It comes when you explain your point of view with a lot of conviction but... What do I know, right? So, is up to you to agree with me and take my words for granted... Because I DO KNOW what I'm talking about.

In the case cgervasi exemplified, I think the expression "ponele" would be rather appropriate. It's also untranslatable to my point of view, but would mean something like "put in that".

poner = to put
nele = in/on him

Eso costará, ponele, cien dólares. = That costs, probably, one hundred dollars

Note that this is not a grammatical norm, but cultural! It definitely wouldn't be wrong to translate "qué sé yó" as "what do I know", but one would never understand the true meaning of the expression without a bit of proficiency.
But... ¿Qué sé yo?

Answer this Question