15 “How Long is a Piece of String” Similar Phrases

Often we hear questions that have no definite answer. “How long is a piece of string?” is one of these questions.

This question is an expression that’s often used as a reply to questions that have no perfect answer, especially when it has to do with time, length, size, or numbers. 

First, questions about length or amount can have varying answers, depending on the data provided.

So, just like a piece of string can be any length, certain questions too can have several answers.

In this article, I’ll be describing some similar phrases you can use to express yourself when you don’t have an answer to a question.

15 “How Long Is a Piece of String” Similar Phrases

There are countless ways you can express yourself when someone asks you a question you don’t have an answer to.

You can use this expression, “How long is a piece of string,” sarcastically or humorously to let the speaker know how unreasonable it is for them to expect an exact answer to a question.

Some similar expressions include: “How large is the universe?” “How many stars are in the sky?” “I can’t say,” and several more.

Here are 15 similar phrases:

How Large is the Universe?

“How large is the universe?” is one of the similar phrases to “How long is a piece of string”

This response is also a question that doesn’t have a definite answer, so you can use it as a reply to a question that you don’t have an answer to.

First, the universe is not only defined by the physical things we see. Rather, it’s described as the sum of everything that exists in the world, including what we can’t see and touch, that’s time and space.

Therefore, no one can tell exactly how large the universe is. So, if someone asks you a question that you don’t have an answer to, this response will work appropriately. Also, you can use it to avoid answering a question.

Here’s how to use it;

  • A- when will you come over?
  • B- how large is the universe?
  • A- Alright, I get that.

Can You Count the Stars in the Sky?

How Long Is a Piece of String Similar Phrases

“Can you count the stars in the sky? ” is another similar phrase to “How long is a piece of string.”

Just like the universe isn’t defined only by physical qualities and has no definite measurement, no one can tell the exact number of stars in the sky.

So, this is an expression you can also give in reply to a question that has no perfect answer or you don’t want to answer. It’ll also let them know how unreasonable it is for them to think you can provide an answer.

For instance, if someone asks you how long before you get back from the market, counter-asking if they can count the stars in the sky tells them that you don’t know.

Here’s an example:

  • A- How long before you get here, Jane?
  • Jane- Can you count the stars in the sky?

Can You Number the Sands on the Seashore?

Another expression you can use to replace “how long is a piece of string” is “Can you number the sands on the seashore?”

This is another challenging question you can give to a question that has no perfect answer. If you’ve been to the beach or sea, you’ll see a lot of sand, that’s impossible to estimate.

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Just like water, it’s described as an uncountable noun.

So, this is a response that’ll let the person know that you don’t have an answer or let them know that it’s unreasonable to expect you to have an answer to their question.

Here’s an example:

  • A- can you tell when it’ll rain?
  • B- can you number the sands on the seashore?
  • A- can you give me an exact time you’ll arrive?
  • B- can you number the sands on the seashore?

It’s as Broad as It’s Long 

“It’s as broad as it’s long” is another thing you can say instead of “How long is a piece of string” when you don’t have an answer to someone’s question.

This response is a perfect reply to give when someone requires an answer between two options when it’s difficult for you to make a choice.

It’s an idiom that people use to explain that they can’t choose between two things. For instance, if someone asks you to choose between eating a sandwich or salad. You can give this response if you can’t decide between both of them.

Here’s an example:

  • A- What can you say about Extraction one and two? I think I prefer one, the cast was exceptional
  • B- It’s as broad as it’s long for me

As Long as It Takes Me

“As long as it takes me” is another thing you can say when you can’t give an exact answer to someone’s question.

In this case, it’s appropriate when someone asks you about the duration of something. This response implies that you don’t know the exact time it’ll be done.

Also, by saying as long as it’ll take you, it’ll help you not to be held accountable to a particular time.

However, you should know when to use this kind of response. You definitely should not tell your boss that you’ll finish up your project as long as it takes you.

It’s a humorous and casual response you use in an informal setting.

Here’s an example:

  • A- Danny, how long before you get this working again?
  • B- As long as it takes me

Do You Know When You Will Die?

“Do you know when you’ll die? can also replace “how long is a piece of string.”

One thing that’s inevitable in life is death. And sadly, no one can tell exactly when they’ll die. 

Of course, doctors can predict when their patients will die. However, the exact moment is what no one can say.

So, when someone inquires about something you don’t have a definite answer to or you don’t want to provide an answer to, this humorous reply is appropriate.

Here’s an example:

  • A- have you submitted it yet, how long before you do?
  • B- Do you know when you’ll die?
  • A- can you tell me how much more time before we get there? 
  • Do you know when you’ll die? 

Do You Know How Your Mother Gave Birth to You?

“Do you know how your mother gave birth to you?” is a funny response that’s meant to cause some laughter and not taken literally. Of course, our mothers can share details of how they carried us until birth. 

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However, no one can perfectly describe the process, except the person who feels it. But, this is not the point of this expression. 

This is just a hilarious way to get away from answering a question or to let someone know that you don’t have a perfect answer to a question.

  • A- I’m tired of waiting, how long until it’s over?
  • B- do you know how your mother gave birth to you?
  • A- How much more before the government grants our request?
  • B- do you know how your mother gave birth to you?

How Tall Is Heaven?

Another expression that can work as an alternative to “How long is a piece of string” is, “How tall is heaven?”

While some persons describe heaven as a physical place in the sky, where God lives, some describe it as a state where the righteous exist after death.

However, whether it’s a state or a physical place, no one can tell how tall heaven is as compared to its existence in the sky.

So, this is an amusing comparison you can use to let someone know that you don’t have an answer for them.

Here’s an example:

  • A- How long before the food cooks?
  • B- How tall is heaven?
  • A- How far are we from Ontario?
  • B- How tall is heaven?

I Can’t Say 

How Long Is a Piece of String Similar Phrases

“I can’t say” is another way to let someone know that you don’t have an answer for them.

This is an expression that directly tells the person that you don’t know. When someone inquires something from you that needs a definite answer, rather than a guess, you can use this phrase.

This phrase will tell them that you’re not sure of the exact answer. It’s a smart way of avoiding a situation that you can’t handle.

Moreover, you can use this expression 

when you can’t provide the answer someone needs, either because you’re not in a position to or you don’t want to.

Here’s an example:

  • A- Hi, I want to know how you run your sales here. Can you put me through?
  • B- I’m sorry I can’t say. Let’s wait for the manager
  • A- Hey, do you know how I can get to East Street from here?
  • B- oh no, I can’t say. Try someone else

No One Can Tell 

“No one can tell” is another thing to say to someone looking for a perfect answer to a question.

If someone asks you about something that you can’t provide a definite answer to, this response is appropriate to express yourself. It lets them know that even they don’t have the answer.

Also, using this response tells them that it’s unrealistic for them to expect an exact answer to their question. Additionally, you can use it humorously when someone is voicing out some annoyance.

It’s a perfect alternative to “how long is a piece of string.”

Here’s an example:

  • A- I’ve been wondering why we eat when we’re hungry, why don’t we just sleep?
  • B- you should know that no one can tell
  • A- I’m tired of waiting for John. How long does it take one to cross the street and order pizza?
  • B- No one can tell, because so many things can happen in-between
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No One Knows the Answer 

“No one knows the answer” is another similar phrase to “how long is a piece of string.”

Just like the above, this response tells the person that the question doesn’t have the perfect answer they’re looking for.

Also, you can use it as a funny response to a rhetorical question.

Here’s an example:

  • A- Can you tell Mike to hasten up, how long will it take him to get in the shower and come out?
  • B- No one knows the answer except Mike 
  • A- when exactly do we fall asleep?
  • B- no one knows the answer of course. You’ve to be awake to know that

Who Knows the End from the Beginning?

“Who knows the end from the beginning?” is another rhetorical question to use as a reply when someone asks a question you don’t know the answer to.

Also, it’s another challenging reply that questions their thinking. It lets them know that it’s unrealistic for them to expect a definite answer to their question.

Here’s an example:

  • A- Why can’t you hurry up? Can you just tell me when I should expect it?
  • B- Be calm. Who knows the end from the beginning 

That’s a Question for God

How Long Is a Piece of String Similar Phrases

“That’s a question for God” is another thing to say to someone looking for an answer when there’s none.

You can use the expression to say that you don’t know the answer and no one does. Also, you can use this response to avoid answering a question. 

In addition, you can use this question to comfort someone facing some difficulties and questioning life.

Here’s an example:

  • A- I want to know how many bags the chairman is providing
  • B- That’s a question for God, my dear. Only God knows his mind
  • A- Why should this happen to me now? 
  • B- That’s a question for God. Just take heart. It’s well

As Big as it’s Big 

“As big as it’s big” is another thing you can say when someone is asking for the size of something.

If someone asks how large something is and you don’t know, you can give this response to let them know that you don’t have the exact size.

Here’s an example:

  • A- Do you know how large what they’re bringing in?
  • B- I don’t know. All I can say is that it’s big as it’s big 

Do You Know What’ll Happen Next?

Another rhetorical question to ask someone asking absurd questions is, “Do you know what’ll happen next?” 

It’s another way to challenge their question, letting them know it’s unrealistic of them to think that there’s a perfect answer to their inquiry.

Here’s an example:

  • A- Can you give me the exact time he’ll be coming?
  • B- Do you know what’s going to happen next?

Wrapping Up

When someone asks questions that you don’t have a definite answer to, “How long is a piece of string” is an expression that you can use to tell them that you don’t have the answer.

Also, there are several similar phrases I have listed above you can use to convey the message. Feel free to choose from any of them as it suits you.

 

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