I dare say is defined on Dictionary.com as:

to venture to say (something); assume (something) as probable.

I've also heard of the expression dare I say it as well; however, I was unable to find a definition of it. Do they mean the same thing?

Although I understand the definition of I dare say provided, I'm not quite sure how, and in what context do you use it, and what does it convey.


4 Answers 4


They are closer to opposites. "I dare say" is a statement, meaning you are confident enough in what you are about to say to dare to say it.

"Dare I say it" is a question, because you believe what you are about to say will be regarded as controversial or may offend the sensibilities of the listen.

Example: "They made the first-ever matchup between unbeatens in the national title game — dare I say it? — a little bit boring." (source) In this case, the author is making the controversial statement that an important basketball game is boring, so she softens the shock of her words and reassures the reader she is still using good judgement by interjecting the "dare I say it?"

  • 1
    Does dare I say it always said in a question? because I've seen this expression somewhere without a question mark.
    – Theo
    Commented Apr 10, 2014 at 17:27

The main sense of dare is "not afraid" to do something.

Macmillan Dictionary provides definitions for both I dare say and dare I say (it).

I dare say  British  spoken
used for saying that something is probably true, although you do not know for certain

dare I say (it)  mainly British  spoken formal
used when you are saying something that you think other people may not like
This famous novel is a little, dare I say it, dull.

I dare say that is enough to understand the usages of the two.

Typically, I personally don't say either I dare say (sometimes written I daresay) or dare I say (it).

Instead of "I dare say", I usually say these:

I would say ... (or I'd say) - I use this to express my opinion, without much assertive
I say ... - This is a bit stronger version of I would say or I dare say, but still leave room for uncertainty
If I think I'm sure, chances are I won't say I'd say, I dare say, or I say, because it's unnecessary.

Swan also suggested this in his Practical English Usage,
And I dare say (sometimes written I daresay) is used to mean 'I think probably', 'I suppose'.

Instead of "dare I say (it)", I usually say these (note that their meanings are not quite identical, but in appropriate contexts, they're quite interchangeable):

let me say this,   let me be blunt,   to put it bluntly,   frankly,   let's face it,  

For example,
Let me be blunt. This famous novel is a little dull.
To put it bluntly, this famous novel is a little dull.
This famous novel is a little, let's face it, dull.

  • I just saw this question because karlalou posted a new answer to it. After upvoting it, I decided to write this answer and added a little, say, useful information. ;-) Commented May 20, 2014 at 23:14

I'm just adding an example of "dare I say it" not as a question (I don't have the commenting right yet). I think it's an inversion form of emphasis.

There was something, dare I say it, a little unusual about him. (Oxford Learner's Dictionary)


I daresay or I dare say is a phrase.

I daresay/I dare say - it is like that

On the other hand, dare I say (it) is an expression where you want to say something and that something is likely to raise an objection. We are just adding a rhetorical question.

By putting such expression, one would acknowledge that what they tell might be considered as a controversial topic or the like.

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