How do different stresses change the meaning of the sentence “I don’t know”

If one says “I don’t know” in 3 different ways, like, when they stress “I”, “don’t” and “know” respectively. How does the meaning of this sentence change?


When you put a stress on “I” in “I don’t know,” you’re actually making a distinction between who you are talking about: “I” don’t know! (not him, her, etc.)

When “don’t” is stressed, it is meant to emphasize the negativity of the sentence: I “don’t” know! (in contrast with “I know!”).

And finally when you put a stress on the verb “know,” you’re emphasizing what you don’t do: I don’t “know”! (in contrast with, say, I don’t “want” or I don’t “like”!)

Source : Link , Question Author : Pith , Answer Author : BeatsMe

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