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    #1

    What's the nuanced difference between A and B?

    What's the nuanced difference between A and B?

    A. Do you have two sisters?



    B. You have two sisters, don't you?

    Last edited by Freeguy; 08-Apr-2014 at 20:55.

  1. Ali Hsn's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: What's the nuanced difference between A and B?

    Hello!

    *I AM NOT A NATIVE OR TEACHER.*

    "A" is a real question. Theoretically, the one who asks such a question wants to know the answer.

    "B", is not necessarily a real question. The statement has a tag question at the end, i.e. "don't you?" Tag questions, in most cases, are not real questions but they are used to indicate emphasis, politeness, a request for comment, etc.
    So, when John asks Philip: "You have two sisters, don't you?", it is very probable that John knows the number of Philip's sisters and doesn't expect the answer.

    The following link about this topic could be useful: http://www.englishgrammarsecrets.com...stags/menu.php
    Last edited by Ali Hsn; 08-Apr-2014 at 21:23. Reason: A page address added.

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: What's the nuanced difference between A and B?

    It is hard to think of many contexts when "Do you have two sisters?" will come up as a natural question. Maybe if you were playing some sort of guessing game about family members, or something like that.
    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.

  3. Ali Hsn's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: What's the nuanced difference between A and B?

    Yes, different contexts may result in different meanings but in terms of "the nuanced difference between A and B", the only key point I found was the tag question in "B" and the different meaning it may have compared to "A".

  4. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: What's the nuanced difference between A and B?

    I agree completely that the tag question version suggests the speaker believes the person has two sisters.

    If you don't already think this, it's very unlikely you'd guess that a question out of the blue.

    Person A: I wish I had a sister who helped me with my homework the way yours does.
    Person B: You have two sisters, don't you?
    Person A: Three actually... but none of them are any good at math!

    How can you imagine "Do you have two sisters?" being used aside from "Hey, guess how many kids are in my family!"?
    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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    #6

    Re: What's the nuanced difference between A and B?

    It's possible, though not a very likely question:

    A: C has two sisters.
    B: (who thought C had one sister and one brother) Do you have two sisters?
    C: Yes, I do- why do you ask?

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    #7

    Re: What's the nuanced difference between A and B?

    Please note that a better title would have been Two sisters.


    'Thread titles should include all or part of the word/phrase being discussed.'

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