14 phrases to use if you want to sound more intelligent

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Are you longing to elevate your conversational game and give off an air of expertise?

Or perhaps you are just worried about coming across as uninformed or unsophisticated when talking with others.

Fear not, as we’ve curated a collection of simple yet impactful phrases that will enhance your conversational prowess, leaving you sounding intelligent, knowledgeable, and self-assured.

Whether you find yourself in the professional arena, mingling in social circles, or simply engaging in chit-chat with friends, these 14 little phrases are your ticket to conveying a sense of authority and confidence.

If you’re ready to up your conversational level, then read on.

1. “From what I understand, the thinking now is…”

When it comes to sounding knowledgeable, the key lies in peppering your conversations with phrases that demonstrate your finger is firmly on the pulse of the latest ideas and trends.

This phrase is tailor-made for situations where you want to convey a keen understanding of the current state of affairs.

Using this phrase is a great way to show that you’re aware of the latest developments and that you’ve been keeping up with the latest research.

It’s also a good way to introduce a fresh idea or concept that you’ve recently learned about.

2. “Experts point to… as a possible explanation.”

This particular phrase carries the weight of expert insights, signaling that you have delved deep into the realm of expertise and emerged with a firm grasp of their perspectives to support your argument.

Using this phrase can be especially effective when discussing a complex topic that is not yet settled. By acknowledging that there is still debate around the issue, you come across as nuanced and thoughtful.

In addition to using this phrase to demonstrate your knowledge, you can also use it to introduce new information.

For instance, if you were discussing the effects of social media on mental health, you might say, “Experts point to the dopamine hit we get from likes and shares as a possible explanation for why social media can be addictive.”

This statement not only enriches the conversation but also positions you as a well-informed individual who is abreast of the latest research.

3. “A theory gaining traction is…”

This phrase helps you sound more knowledgeable because it hints at the emergence of fresh ideas and perspectives that have captured the attention of experts in the field.

Using this phrase shows that you are aware of developing thoughts on a subject and positions you as somewhat of an insider who is clued into new ways of thinking about an issue.

Referring to a theory as gaining traction presents it as part of an ongoing discussion and evaluation by knowledgeable parties. It signifies that the theory has demonstrated sufficient validity or explanatory power to captivate a growing audience.

Importantly, the phrase does not require you to fully endorse or support the theory yourself. You can deftly raise awareness of an idea that is actively under debate without necessarily championing it.

This allows you to demonstrate familiarity with current thinking in a field while maintaining some intellectual distance.

4. “What’s often overlooked is…”

When you’re trying to sound knowledgeable, it’s crucial to recognize that the most impactful insights often lie in the overlooked corners of a topic.

Phrases like “What’s often overlooked is…” serve as your secret weapon, signaling that you possess knowledge that others may have missed or dismissed.

Picture this: in the midst of a discussion, you casually interject, “What’s often overlooked is the influence of X on Y.” In that moment, you effortlessly showcase your profound understanding of the subject, offering illuminating perspectives that might elude others.

Another way to use this phrase is when discussing solutions to a problem. You might say “What’s often overlooked is the importance of Z in solving this issue.”

5. “There are a few ways of interpreting that…”

Ever found yourself in a conversation where a statement hangs in the air, open to multiple interpretations?

It’s undeniably frustrating, particularly when you’re left grappling with the speaker’s intended meaning.

Enter the phrase “There are a few ways of interpreting that…

This phrase acknowledges that there are different ways to understand what was said, and it can open up a conversation to explore those different interpretations.

Using phrases like these can help you sound more knowledgeable in conversations and discussions. By acknowledging that there are multiple interpretations, you signal your openness to varied perspectives and a willingness to entertain them.

It can also help you avoid misunderstandings and clarify what was meant.

6. “Conventional wisdom used to be X, but now many argue Y…”

“Conventional wisdom” encompasses those widely embraced beliefs or ideas that tend to be accepted as truth without much scrutiny.

However, it’s crucial to recognize that conventional wisdom is not infallible, and as fresh insights and evidence emerge, it is subject to change.

Take, for instance, the once-prevailing belief in a flat Earth, which has since yielded to the understanding that our planet is indeed round.

Similarly, in the realms of science and medicine, conventional wisdom has evolved over time in response to new research and discoveries.

By shedding light on the evolution of thought, you not only underscore your familiarity with the subject but also hint at a broader depth of knowledge than initially meets the eye.

7. “The full picture is probably more complicated than…”

When discussing complex topics, it’s easy to fall into the trap of oversimplification.

While it’s important to make concepts understandable, it’s equally important to acknowledge that there may be more to the story than what meets the eye.

Enter the invaluable phrase, “The full picture is probably more complicated than…”

This phrase allows you to gracefully acknowledge the intricacy of a topic while still providing valuable insights.

Using this phrase can also help you avoid making sweeping generalizations or oversimplifying complex issues. It’s a way to show that you appreciate the multifaceted nature of every topic, and that you are willing to entertain diverse perspectives.

To further illustrate this point, consider the analogy of a jigsaw puzzle. If you only look at one or two pieces of the puzzle, you might think you have a good understanding of the overall picture. But as you add more pieces, the full picture becomes more complicated and nuanced.

Similarly, when discussing complex topics, it’s important to consider all the pieces before drawing conclusions.

8. “When you delve deeper into the details, it turns out…”

This phrase carries the subtle implication that you have delved into the intricacies of a particular topic, signaling a deeper understanding and the ability to provide well-informed insights.

For example, if you’re discussing a current event or news story, you might say, “When you delve deeper into the details, it turns out that there were several factors that contributed to the situation.”

This communicates to your audience that you have gone beyond surface-level headlines, investing time and effort in researching and comprehending the issue.

Using this phrase can also help you sound more confident and authoritative in your statements. By suggesting that you have already explored the intricacies of a topic, you position yourself as an expert in the eyes of your audience.

9. “If you consider it in the context of…”

This phrase allows you to apply an idea to a particular context, which shows higher thought.

By doing so, you can demonstrate a deeper understanding of the subject matter and make connections that may have eluded others.

For example, let’s say you’re discussing a new marketing strategy for a product. You could say, “If you consider it in the context of our target audience, we may want to adjust our approach to better appeal to their interests and needs.”

This shows that you’re not just thinking about the strategy in a vacuum, but rather taking into account the specific audience you’re trying to reach.

Another way to use this phrase is when discussing a controversial topic. By putting an idea in a specific context, you can help others understand your perspective and reasoning.

For instance, you could say, “If you consider it in the context of historical events, you can see why some people feel strongly about this issue.”

This acknowledges that there are different viewpoints and helps to create a more nuanced conversation.

10. “From what I’ve seen/read/heard, most people would say…”

This phrase implies that you’ve gathered insights from various sources and are now presenting a prevailing consensus.

Its use not only steers you clear of exaggerated or false claims but also positions you as a well-informed individual rather than an overconfident expert.

Here are a few examples of how you can use this phrase in different contexts:

“From what I’ve seen, most people prefer to use a standing desk instead of a traditional one.”

“From what I’ve read, the best way to improve your writing skills is to practice every day.”

“From what I’ve heard, the new restaurant downtown has amazing food.”

By starting your sentences with “From what I’ve seen/read/heard,” you’re showing that you’re open to different opinions and perspectives.

This casts you as both approachable and knowledgeable. It’s the perfect blend of warmth and expertise that leaves a lasting impression.

11. “There are a few different schools of thought on that topic…”

This phrase suggests that you have studied the various viewpoints and have a nuanced grasp of the ongoing conversation.

By using this phrase, you can demonstrate that you are knowledgeable about the topic at hand. It also shows that you are open-minded and willing to consider different perspectives.

When using this phrase, it’s important to follow up with a brief overview of the different schools of thought. This not only illuminates the complexity of the topic for your audience but also underscores your depth of understanding and expertise.

12. “If you dig into the data, you’ll find…”

When it comes to sounding knowledgeable, there’s nothing quite like throwing around some data and numbers.

People are always impressed by someone who can rattle off statistics and figures with ease.

That’s why “If you dig into the data, you’ll find…” is a phrase that can instantly elevate your credibility.

Not only does it signal your dedication to truly comprehending a topic, but it also suggests a wealth of information supports your argument.

And let’s face it, in today’s world, data is king.

However, a word of caution: while data can be compelling, too much of it risks overwhelming your audience.

So, be selective with the statistics you choose to share and make sure they support your argument.

It’s all about striking the perfect balance between substance and impact.

13. “A lot of the discussion seems to revolve around…”

When you’re in a conversation or a meeting, it’s important to show that you’re aware of the topics being discussed.

One way to do this is to use the phrase “A lot of the discussion seems to revolve around…” followed by a summary of the main points that have been brought up.

For example, if you’re in a meeting about a new project and people have been discussing the timeline and budget, you could say “A lot of the discussion seems to revolve around how we can stay within the budget while still meeting our timeline goals.”

This shows that you’re paying attention to the conversation and have a good understanding of what’s been discussed so far.

Using this phrase also suggests that you’re involved in the discussion and have been actively listening to what others have been saying. It’s a great way to show that you’re engaged and interested in the topic at hand.

In addition, using this phrase can help to move the conversation forward by summarizing what’s been discussed so far and highlighting any pivotal issues that warrant further attention.

14. “An alternative way to view it acknowledges…”

This phrase can help you sound more knowledgeable and open-minded.

By acknowledging alternative viewpoints, you demonstrate that you’ve done your research and are willing to consider multiple perspectives.

This not only bolsters your credibility with your audience but also infuses your arguments with a compelling persuasiveness.

Here are a few examples of how you might use this phrase in different contexts:

“An alternative way to view it acknowledges that there are valid concerns about the environmental impact of this project.”

“An alternative way to view it acknowledges that there may be cultural differences that affect how we interpret this data.”

“An alternative way to view it acknowledges that there are differing opinions on the best way to approach this problem.”

This phrase shields you from appearing closed-minded or dogmatic, positioning you, instead, as someone who is eager to partake in thoughtful debate and embrace diverse perspectives.


You’ll be amazed at how impactful a phrase such as those above can be.

The key is to pick one or two that you feel work for you and to practice using them.

That way, you’ll get used to incorporating them into your conversations naturally and effortlessly.

In no time at all, you’ll come across as being more knowledgeable and more intelligent.

About The Author

Steve Phillips-Waller is the founder and editor of A Conscious Rethink. He has written extensively on the topics of life, relationships, and mental health for more than 8 years.