Do I Know You - Detailed Explanation

english phrases questions Aug 20, 2021
do i know you

 It may seem strange to ask someone ‘do I know you?’ considering that we should know if we have met someone or not.  However, there are times when a face or a name are very familiar yet we are unsure whether we’ve met the person in the past or not.  And there are other times a person might say hello to us and use our name but we don’t know who they are or how we know them.  In this blog, we’ll go through the meaning of ‘do I know you?’ and how and when to use this question.


Meaning of The Question Do I Know You  

“Do I know you?” means “have we met before?”  It is another way of saying “I think I know you know me?”  It’s common to add a polite introductory word like ‘sorry’ or ‘excuse me’ before asking the question.

For example:

“Excuse me, do I know you?”

“Sorry, I don’t mean to worry you, but do I know you?”


It’s important to vary your tone when asking a question like this.  Native English speakers might think that you sound rude if you only use a flat tone when asking the question.  It’s important to use a polite tone when asking ‘do I know you?’


If you ask ‘do I know you?’ with a falling tone, then you will sound sarcastic or sceptical.  It will sound like you’re not interested in speaking with this person and you would prefer it if they stayed out of your conversation.

A native English speaking partner can help you with your intonation in English and they can teach you polite phrases in English to use in different situations.  This will help you say what you want to say in the way you want to say it and communicate effectively in English.  It’s important to remember that meaning doesn’t only come from the words we say.  It also comes from our gestures, facial expressions and tone of voice. 


How to Reply to The Question Do I Know You 

It can be awkward to just say ‘no.’  Only saying ‘no’ will seem dismissive and will show your disinterest for the person asking the question.  It’s better to say ‘I’m afraid not.  I’m…’  By introducing yourself with your name, you’re being polite and offering to continue the conversation.  You could even add ‘it’s nice to meet you,’ if you want to be extra polite to the person who asked you the question. 


Other ways to reply:

“I don’t think so.  I’m…”

“You look familiar, but I don’t think we’ve met before.  My name is…”

“I don’t know.  Do you know…?” (this is a good response if the other person is familiar and you think you may have a mutual friend.)

“I don’t think we’ve met.  Allow me to introduce myself.  I’m…” (this is a bit of a fun way to introduce yourself to the person asking the question.)


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Do I Know U 

‘You’ is often exchanged for ‘u’ when texting in English.  The word and the letter make the same sound so native English speakers shorten ‘you’ to ‘u’ when texting or writing informally.  You mustn’t use ‘u’ instead of ‘you’ when writing formally.  


How Do I Know You

We ask ‘how do I know you?’ when we are almost certain that we have met someone before but we can’t remember where we met them or how we met them.  We can also ask this question if someone we don’t know very well calls us by name.  

Once again, tone and phrasing must be polite to make sure you don’t sound blunt, sceptical or rude.  We can say ‘sorry, how do I know you?’ ‘You look familiar, how do I know you?’ or ‘please refresh my memory.  How do I know you?’


Is Do I Know You Correct in English?

“Do I know you?” is correct in English.  It’s a simpler way of asking ‘do we know each other?’ or ‘have we met before?’  It’s a common English phrase that English speakers use to clarify whether or not they have met someone who looks very familiar.