“Guess what?” is such a common phrase in the English language. For native speakers, the response to such a question comes naturally, but for non-natives the question might leave you blank, depending on the context that it’s used in.
It might even be more puzzling if the individual asking guess what is not someone that you are familiar with and know how to interact with implicitly.
If you often find yourself facing the dilemma of “what do I say?” in response to “Guess what?” then you’re in the right place. Check out the scenarios below for some tips.
So, How Do You Respond To ‘Guess What’?
Approaching the question in a logical manner is a good idea. Generally when someone says ‘guess what’, they do not actually expect you to guess what it is that they are thinking. The usual and appropriate response in this case is “what?” following which the person will likely get right to the point and share their story.
At times, however, the person may actually expect you to guess what it is they have news about. For example, when kids say ‘guess what’, they often really want an answer.
But what do you say? Depending on how well you know the person, you might be aware of their likes and dislikes, and can generally hazard a guess based on what you think would excite them. You can generally just guess until the person decides to tell you.
Usually, it’s to get you to guess what. They have some big news or a fun surprise for you but they want you to guess what it is first. It’s a nice fun way to build suspense for the reveal.
Depending on who the other party in the conversation is, you can respond with a witty, absurd or silly response. Check out some of these below.
1. Go with a joke
For example “you tripped over a potato and did a backflip?”
This is super unlikely and hilarious, but will likely elicit laughter and provide comedic relief. Followed by which, you will likely hear the exciting news behind the guess what question in the first place.
2. Go with a fun quote.
A common one from “Friends” is “the fifth dentist caved and now they’re ALL recommending Trident?”
For this response to elicit the intended reaction, the person must be able to relate to whatever quote you decide to use. Avoid using quotes outside your friend’s realm.
3. Go with an absurd comment.
You could ask a male friend -You’re pregnant?
While this might cause some discomfort or laughter, it will usually get the person to get straight to the point and prevent you from actually having to guess.
This sarcastic response again might cause some annoyance, so it cannot be used for everyone. So, reserve this one for close friends and family who will not mind the cheeky response.
5. Be direct
You can be upfront and say “just tell me.”
If you are not down for the games, you can be direct and just ask them what the news is. Again, not everyone will appreciate this approach so be tactful.
Some phrases and questions in the English language are not as straight-forward as they appear. For non-native speakers, questions like “guess what?” can leave them stumped especially if they are not fully versed in the culture of western countries.
Even for native speakers, the question can lead to awkward silence as they assess the situation trying to determine what is the best response. You can respond to the question in multiple ways, but always try to assess the context and the speaker before you decide how to respond as you could unintentionally offend someone.