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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    Question "not really" and "really not"

    1. If the teach asks "Do you understand?"
    And then I answer: "Not really!". Does it mean I answer "I don't understand at all" or it means "I understand a little bit, but not sure" ?
    2. If I say "I really don't know" and "I don't really know"
    Are they different? I think "I really don't know" means "I don't know at all - I don't know anything about it" and "I don't really know" means "I know a little bit about it"
    Am I right?
    Thank you!

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: "not really" and "really not"

    Quote Originally Posted by ref1 View Post
    1. If the teacher asks "Do you understand?"
    And then I answer: "Not really!". Does it mean I answer "I don't understand at all" or it means "I understand a little bit, but not sure" ?
    The word themselves suggest your second interepretation, but many people use them when they don't understand at all. They do this for a variety of reasons. When saying this to a teacher, they may just wish to avoid appearing stupid.
    2. If I say "I really don't know" and "I don't really know"
    Are they different? I think "I really don't know" means "I don't know at all - I don't know anything about it" Yes
    and "I don't really know" means "I know a little bit about it" Possibly. See my answer to #1.
    5

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    #3

    Re: "not really" and "really not"

    Quote Originally Posted by ref1 View Post
    1.
    2. If I say "I really don't know" and "I don't really know"
    Are they different? I think "I really don't know" means "I don't know at all - I don't know anything about it" and "I don't really know" means "I know a little bit about it"
    Am I right?
    Thank you!

    CAUTION: NOT A TEACHER


    (1) "Really" is my favorite word, so may I add my two cents?

    (2) Really, I do not know./ I do not know, really.

    (a) I believe that in those two sentences, it means something like:

    Believe me/ In reality/ In fact/ I am telling you the truth: I do not know.

    (3) In "I really do not know," I believe that it has the same meaning, especially

    if you stress (pronounce strongly) the "really."

    Tom: Do you speak French?
    Mona: No.
    Tom: You lived there for a year. I think that you do speak French.
    Mona: Believe me! I really don't speak French.
    Tom: How can that be?
    Mona: Well, I associated only with English-speaking people. I saw no need to learn French. I felt it was the responsibility of the French people I met to speak English. I am very proud that I speak only English.

    (4) And I agree with you regarding "I do not really know." That is, I know a little bit, but ....

    Martha: How long were you in Beijing?
    Ralph: About 6 months.
    Martha: I bet you learned how to speak Chinese.
    Ralph: No, I didn't.
    Martha: Don't be modest.
    Ralph: Oh, sure, I learned how to say "How are you?" and "Thank you" and "Where is the restroom?" but, believe me, I do not really know how to speak Chinese.

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