How to answer the following questions in English? Here's an example: 1) "Are you not ready to do this?" The right answers would be "No, I am not" or "Yes, I am", right? What if one uses just a short answer "No" or "Yes"? Is it natural to answer like this? And will these short answers still have the same meaning as "No, I am not" and "Yes, I am"? 2) Here's another example with a different structure: "You can do this, can't you?" What would be the right SHORT answer here? If I answer "Yes" that means "I can do this" and if I answer "No" that means "I can't do this", right? 3) And here's the last one: "You can't do this, can you?" What would "Yes" and "No" mean in this case? It's just a little bit confusing, so please explain it a bit
Sep 27, 2019 5:59 PM
Answers · 7
Hi Danil These are tag questions, which can be a bit tricky for non-native speakers. Often, we just say Yes or No. Sometimes we may repeat the tag and reverse it (They don't live here, do they? Yes, they do). Important: Answer a tag question according to the truth of the situation. Your answer reflects the real facts, not (necessarily) the question. In some languages, people answer a question like "Snow isn't black, is it?" with "Yes" (meaning "Yes, I agree with you"). This is the wrong answer in English! A few examples: - Snow is white, isn't it? Yes (it is). -> This answer can be really short, because you just confirm the truth that snow is indeed white. - Snow isn't white, is it? Yes it is! -> Because you don't agree with the questioner, you have to make that clear by adding "it is" and stressing the last word. Using the earlier example: Snow isn't black, is it? No (it isn't). -> No can be sufficient here, which it wouldn't be if the questioner asked "Snow is black, isn't it?" Then you would have to make it very clear that the answer is no. Hope this helps. J. Arthur
September 27, 2019
To me, the right answer to these is the one that allows effective communication. If I were to parse the logic of your sentence strictly then the correct answer to your first question would be "Yes, I am not" or "No, I am". The short answer yes would logically mean that your statement is correct and I am not ready to do this. But that's nonsense. No one but a logician would really care. The short answers to these don't make sense because of the way you have phrased them with double negatives. The short answers would be unclear. The long answer to your first question, "No, I am not" makes my meaning clear even though the no is not correctly logically matched with the I am not part.
September 27, 2019
J. Arthur gave an excellent answer.
September 27, 2019
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