Plenty of expressions derive their meaning from the context within which they are used. For instance, when you say something as simple as “sure,” you might be saying more than one thing.
On the one hand, you might be simply agreeing with the person you’re talking to, and there’s no reason not to take you at face value.
On the other hand, you might be trying to be congenial in the hopes of getting the other person to stop talking. Another possibility is that you are being sarcastic.
The point is that the only way to know for sure what you are trying to say is to take the context into consideration.
Another similar expression that can have more than one meaning is “I will look into it.”
What is the meaning of “I will look into it”?
The meaning of “I will look into it” is that “you don’t know the answer, but you intend to find out.” Alternatively, you can use “I will look into it” as a way of trying to end the conversation, as a polite way of saying that you either don’t know the answer or have no intention of sharing it. A third usage of “I will look into it” is as a response to a request or a favor.
A closer look at the meanings of “I will look into it”
”I will look into it” to say that you will find the answer
According to the Macmillan dictionary, “to look into something” means “to try to discover the facts about something.”
This is why “I will look into it” is the sort of thing you say when you are responding to a question to which you don’t know the answer.
”I will look into it” to end the conversation
Sometimes conversations can go on a bit longer than we would like, and we try to find polite ways of ending them without hurting the other person’s feelings.
For example, customer service agents might find themselves on the phone with a nagging customer who keeps asking irrelevant questions or making asinine comments.
Worse still, some agents might be trapped on the phone with a customer making pedantic comments. And, in all these cases, the agents need to find a courteous way of ending the call.
Now, even though customer service agents can use “I’ll look into it” as a quick way to get out of an uncomfortable conversation, they are still somewhat obligated to call the customer back. That’s good customer service after all.
However, your friends and acquaintances are under no such obligation. So, when they use it, they might not necessarily feel compelled to call back.
If you’ve ever been stuck in a conversation like the one above, then you can probably tell that Friend #2 never “looked it up.”
If anything, Friend #2 probably rolled their eyes somewhere in the middle of the conversation, and if you listened closely enough, you could have heard a hint of sarcasm in their voice.
”I will look into it” as a response to favor
When someone asks of you a favor, very few of us will reply with an immediate yes.
For starters, some favors might be beyond our reach, and no one wants to commit themselves to something they won’t be able to do later down the road.
Moreover, unless the person is a close relative or a dear friend, we are likely to ask ourselves what’s in it for us?
And, one way to make the other person owe us is to convince them that the favor they are asking for is costly.
But, an easy favor is not a costly one, so even if the favor is easy, making it seem like it is difficult can be one way to jack up its price.
And, you can obviously use “I will look into it” to politely decline a favor.
Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.