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    #1

    Anser to (negative or/and positive?) question?

    Hello,
    this message is about the response to a question, which I am not sure if it is a negative, positive, and/or a tag question.

    Let's say I go see a silent show (a show without music) at a theatre.
    After I get out to the theatre, a friend asks me about the show saying, "There wasn't any music, right?"

    Would the correct answer to such question be: "No" or "Yes"?

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Anser to (negative or/and positive?) question?

    You'd say, "No, there wasn't". Neither 'Yes' nor 'No' by itself is sufficient to answer an unnatural question like that.

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    #3

    Re: Anser to (negative or/and positive?) question?

    Quote Originally Posted by italno View Post
    Let's say I go see a silent show (a show without music) at a theatre.
    After I get out to the theatre, a friend asks me about the show saying, "There wasn't any music, right?"

    Would the correct answer to such question be: "No" or "Yes"?
    When someone asks me a question phrased like that, I grab the tag they've left dangling for me and answer "right." That's for an affirmative response, of course. For a contradictory response, I say something like "Yes, there was."
    I am not a teacher.

  3. Piscean's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Anser to (negative or/and positive?) question?

    What is confusing to some learners is that in some cultures/languages the positive/negative polarity of the response matches the truth of the original assertion:
    :

    A: There wasn't any music, X? (X = a question tag meaning something like is that [not] true?)
    B: Yes. (= That is true.) / No. (= That is not true.)

    In English, however, the positive/negative polarity of the response normally matches that of the original assertion:
    A: There wasn't any music, Y? (Y = a question tag of the other polarity, e.g., was there?)
    B: No. (= There wasn't.) / Yes. (= There was.)

    However, we frequently add a short response which helps clarify the situation:
    A: There wasn't any music, Y? (Y = a question tag of the other polarity, e.g., was there?)
    B: No, there wasn't.) / Yes, there was.

    This is especially true if the response disagrees with the original assertion.
    .
    Last edited by Piscean; 25-Feb-2016 at 22:24. Reason: typo

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    #5

    Re: Anser to (negative or/and positive?) question?

    French has a very handy third response to a yes or no question like "It isn't raining, is it?". A single word, si, means "Yes, it is." If you answer oui,​ it means that you agree with the assertion.
    I am not a teacher.

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