Let's say you just met a stranger, and you say:

1.I never would have guessed.


2.I never thought of that.

What is their meaning and difference.

In a movie I am watching at the moment, the main character(after a short introduction amongst themselves) said ''Really? I never would have guessed'' after meeting another stranger.

why did he just said ''Really? I never would have guessed'' instead of ''I never thought of that'' is this cultural or something? Thx.

  • 1
    What was said before this line? It can't be the first thing they've ever said to each other.
    – user230
    Feb 22, 2018 at 7:30
  • Context is very important, do you have a link to your example?
    – Peter
    Feb 22, 2018 at 12:44
  • Sry for the late reply, I was kinda doin' some impt. stuff also. Anyway, the dialogue of characters in The Postcard Bandit was: bandit(main char.):...hello I'm _____, I'm an engineer here in this art musuem, Japanese: hi I'm _____, nice to meet you, I'm an architect here. Bandit: oh really! I NEVER WOULD HAVE GUESSED THAT... then it continues...
    – John Arvin
    Feb 22, 2018 at 22:15

1 Answer 1


Both "I never would have guessed ..." and "I never would have thought ..." are simply "stock" phrases to express mild surprise, but the actual degree depends more on context and intonation.

Wow! I never would have guessed that he had such an amazing singing voice!

Wow, what a surprise. I never would have thought that John would show up late, to his own birthday party. Again.

The first sentence indicates polite amazement. The second sarcastically indicates a complete lack of surprise.

"I never thought of that" is somewhat different. This suggests a lack of information or proper reasoning, which may be surprising. Again the exact meaning depends entirely on context.

So you're telling me that you can put peanut butter and jelly on bread to make sandwiches? Wow, I never thought of that.

Tone is everything with this sentence. It can be honest surprise that the "PBJ" is a thing, or it can be sarcasm since everyone knows this.


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