Imagine yourself in a business meeting where you as the presenter are beginning to give a speech and the crowd are looking at you. You don't know how to start and where from you have to begin! I was wondering if in the self-made sentence below the word from is redundant:

  • Well, I don't know where should I start from?

Meanwhile, could you please let me know if the sentence above sounds natural to you?

  • 1
    I'd advise against making any such statement. By doing so you you may make yourself appear less competent. If you are a presenter in such a meeting you surely must have done preparation, hence you now have made a decision where to start. I would simply put up a chart giving an overview of the sequence you will deliver and assertively state that this is what you are going to do. You add no value by telling the audience that you had some concerns about your choice. The fact that you may be feeling anxious is perfectly normal, no need to tell the audience.
    – djna
    Nov 22, 2016 at 18:14

2 Answers 2


a more common expression, whilst very similar is

I don't know where to start

You could also use

I'm lost for words

but this usually implies that you have been affected emotionally buy the situation and don't know what to say.

  • or "I'm at a loss for words"
    – John Feltz
    Nov 22, 2016 at 13:09

An idiomatic thing to say is the rhetorical question, "Where to begin?", or the statement "I hardly know where to begin."

Here's an informal fiction example from 2015:

“Talk to me, Josh, tell me what's going on,” Addison said, her heart racing. “Please, tell me.” “Where to begin,” he said. “How long do you have?”

And here's a more formal nonfiction one from 1883 (and this one is almost exactly the situation you describe!)

I have been a member of a Baptist congregation a great many times; but I must not waste any words in thanking you for the privilege of speaking. I did not expect to speak and I hardly know where to begin. ... I am very sure that if I should go up to Granville I should find a cordial welcome from President Owen, whose paper we have listened to just now. I hardly know where to begin and what to say in reference to this matter.


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