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Thread: Yes/No Answer

  1. #1
    khanhhung2512 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Yes/No Answer

    When a lady asks a man: "Does it mean you weren't planning to assassinate the king?"
    Should the man answer: "Yes (I was planning). Yes. I was," or "No (it doesn't mean). No. I was,"?
    Thanks very much.
    PS: Please inform me of any mistakes I've made.
    Please let me know about any errors in my posts. Thanks so much!

  2. #2
    Grumpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Yes/No Answer

    As you have surmised, this is one of many situations where a simple "Yes" or "No" is not sufficient. You would have to say something like "Of course I haven't been planning to assassinate the king", or (alternatively - and much more interestingly) "Ha! Zounds! My evil plot to assassinate the king remains undiscovered!"
    A classic example of this sort of thing (often quoted before the advent of political correctness) used to be the question "Have you stopped beating your wife?". Answering just "No" indicated that you were still beating your wife; answering "Yes" could mean that you used to beat your wife, but had now stopped. Neither single-word answer could convey the fact that you were appalled at the very idea of wife-beating!
    I'm not a teacher of English, but I have spoken it for (almost) all of my life....

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    Default Re: Yes/No Answer

    Quote Originally Posted by khanhhung2512 View Post
    When a lady asks a man: "Does it mean you weren't planning to assassinate the king?"
    Should the man answer: "Yes (I was planning). Yes. I was," or "No (it doesn't mean). No. I was,"?
    Thanks very much.
    PS: Please inform me of any mistakes I've made.
    "Yes, I was" or "No, I wasn't".

  4. #4
    khanhhung2512 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Yes/No Answer

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    "Yes, I was" or "No, I wasn't".
    These are the lines I heard in an animation:
    Girl: This means you weren't really planning to assassinate his majesty after all, right?
    Boy: No. No. I was.

    The whole dialogue is quite hilarious. But does it mean the boy is grammatically incorrect?
    Please let me know about any errors in my posts. Thanks so much!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Yes/No Answer

    It's not a matter of grammatical correctness, but of context. Both, "Yes, Yes, I was (planning to assassinate his majesty)', and " No, No (You're wrong). I was (planning to assassinate his majesty)', are possible.

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    khanhhung2512 is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Yes/No Answer

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    It's not a matter of grammatical correctness, but of context. Both, "Yes, Yes, I was (planning to assassinate his majesty)', and " No, No (You're wrong). I was (planning to assassinate his majesty)', are possible.
    Thanks. But between "Yes, yes, I was," and "No, no, I was," which is more appropriate in this context?
    Please let me know about any errors in my posts. Thanks so much!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Yes/No Answer

    We don't know exactly what was going through the speaker's mind.

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    Default Re: Yes/No Answer

    For the question, "Have you stopped beating your wife?" I understand how both yes and no could put the one who replies in trouble but for the question "Does it mean you weren't planning to assassinate the king?", what is wrong in saying yes? Wouldn't here a yes only mean- "Yes.It means that."?
    Last edited by beesting; 14-Dec-2013 at 18:02.

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    Default Re: Yes/No Answer

    Yes

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    Default Re: Yes/No Answer

    It does not matter if the question was phrased in the positive or negative, really.

    Yes, I am planning to. Yes, I was planning to. Yes, I do that. Yes, I did that. Yes, I will do that.
    No, I am not planning to. No, I was not planning to. No, I don't do that. No, I never did that. No, I won'd to that.

    If you want CLARITY in your communication, use a full sentence.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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