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if you must know

This page is about the conversational phrase if you must know

Meaning

You can say this if you're telling someone something you don't really want them to know.

For example

  • "You're not really fifty, are you?"
    "Well, if you must know, I've just turned sixty. But don't tell the others."

  • "Why isn't Brad with you? Is something wrong?"
    "Yes, as a matter of fact! We had a huge fight, if you must know!"

Note:
If you say "if you must know" gently, it sounds like you're sharing a secret (see example 1). If you say it forcefully, it sounds like you're annoyed about being questioned (see example 2).

Quick Quiz

I said, "Tell me what's wrong!" and Emma said, "If you must know,

a. my boyfriend left me."

b. you'll have to find out."

c. mind your own business!"

Contributor: Matt Errey