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  1. #1

    "Guess what?" and "You know what?"

    Hi Teachers,

    On TVs and Movies, I always hear the native speakers say "Guess what?" and "You know what?" I want to know the meaning of them and how to use them properly? On the other hand, recently I watch the American popular TV series called "Breaking Bad", I found that they almost only used "You know what?" in the conversation, they never use "Guess what?", I want to know "You know what?" is more popular than "Guess what?"? is "Guess what?" outdated? Please advise.

    W

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: "Guess what?" and "You know what?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Williamyh View Post
    Hi Teachers,

    On TVs and Movies, I always hear the native speakers say "Guess what?" and "You know what?" I want to know the meaning of them and how to use them properly?
    They both signify that the speaker has something interesting or important to say to the hearer. They mean the same thing. It's a way of building up suspense in the hearer.
    The common answer to both these phrases is, "What?" - meaning "No I don't know what, and I don't want to guess. Just tell me."
    Sometimes, after the speaker says "Guess what?", the hearer will play along and try to guess what the news is.

    A: Guess what?
    B: Umm ... your cat died?
    A: No, I've been accepted into Harvard!


    On the other hand
    You only use this phrase when you are about to contrast what you've said with what you are about to say.

    Also, recently I watched the popular American TV series called "Breaking Bad", and I found that they almost only used "You know what?" in the conversation, they never use "Guess what?", I want to know if "You know what?" is more popular than "Guess what?"? Is "Guess what?" outdated? Please advise.
    No, they are the same. Different groups of friends fall into different speech habits. You can't read anything into that.

    W
    R.

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    #3

    Re: "Guess what?" and "You know what?"

    ----- I am not an English teacher -----

    Quote Originally Posted by Williamyh View Post
    Hi Teachers,

    On TVs and Movies, I always hear the native speakers say "Guess what?" and "You know what?" I want to know the meaning of them and how to use them properly? On the other hand, recently I watch the American popular TV series called "Breaking Bad", I found that they almost only used "You know what?" in the conversation, they never use "Guess what?", I want to know "You know what?" is more popular than "Guess what?"? is "Guess what?" outdated? Please advise.

    W
    The expression "guess what" is an enthusiastic one, it means something like: "Can you guess what I am thinking?" or "Can you guess an interesting thing I am thinking about right now?"

    The expression "you know what?" is similar to the previous one, it means something like "Do you know what I am thinking?" or "Do you know what I am going to talk about?"

    Of course although both expressions have a question structure, the speaker does not expect them to be answered. In fact the speaker never expects his interlocutor to properly guess or know what he is thinking. This expression is just used as a kind of "link" to connect ideas. See the following examples:

    - "Emily's English is becoming better and better."
    - "Yes, and you know what, I think she is planning to travel to London next year."
    - "Are you sure? Guess what? I think I'll do the same!"

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