who wants to know?

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FATE91

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Hello. What does the expression 'who wants to know' mean? Does it mean who knows or what?
 

emsr2d2

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Hello. What does the expression 'who wants to know' mean? Does it mean who knows or what?

Some context would help. There is more than one possible meaning. For example, if you were talking to a group of people, you might say:

Who wants to know what I had for lunch?

You're asking if anyone in the group would be interested to hear what you ate for lunch.
 

FATE91

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That was quick! Thanks. But if somebody says something that really bothers him and he looks for a solution to his problem but his friend doesn't know the answer, can he say 'who wants to know' meaning 'i wish i knew'?
 

emsr2d2

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That was quick! Thanks. But if somebody says something that really bothers him and he looks for a solution to his problem but his friend doesn't know the answer, can he say 'who wants to know' meaning 'i wish i knew'?

That doesn't make sense to me, no. "Who wants to know?" is a question, not a statement.

It's used in BrE a little sarcastically sometimes. Someone might say to you:

"How much do you earn?"

Your reply could be "Who wants to know?" What this means is that you're interested to know who actually wants this information. Is the person asking you for themselves? Are they asking you on behalf of someone else? Why is it anyone else's business how much you earn?

I have just thought of a similar phrase which could be used to mean "I don't know and (perhaps) I wish I did". That phrase is "Who knows?!"

What's the square root of 364,251?
Who knows?!!!

Why do so many people think Tom Hanks is a good actor?
Who knows?!

It's more of an exclamation than a question and it sort of means "I don't know and I can't imagine that anyone else does".
 

BobK

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That was quick! Thanks. But if somebody says something that really bothers him and he looks for a solution to his problem but his friend doesn't know the answer, can he say 'who wants to know' meaning 'i wish i knew'?

No, it doesn't mean that. You're thinking of 'Who knows?' which implies "whoever it is, it's not me".

One common use of 'Who wants to know?' is as a hostile response to 'Who are you?' It implies "That's a question that you have no right to ask, and I'm not even going to think about answering it unless you tell me your name first."

But as emsr2d2 said, it can mean different things in different contexts.

b
 

FATE91

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thanks to everybody. Now it really makes sense to me)
 
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