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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    negative questions

    I have a question how you can answer a negative question that is only asking for confirmation:

    Is the meaning in the answers (B1-B3) always the same ("Correct, they are not the same person.")?
    A: My friend James is not your friend James then?
    B: Yeah they are not the same person.
    B2: No they are not the same person.
    B3: That is correct. They are not the same person.

  2. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: negative questions

    Quote Originally Posted by rickdi View Post
    I have a question. How you can answer a negative question that is only asking for confirmation?

    Is the meaning in the answers (B1-B3) always the same ("Correct, they are not the same person.")?

    A: My friend James is not your friend James, then?
    B: Yeah, they are not the same person.
    B2: No, they are not the same person.
    B3: That is correct. They are not the same person.
    Yes, they all mean the same thing.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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    #3

    Re: negative questions

    So you can agree with a negative answer with "no" and "yeah" and it has the same meaning?
    Last edited by rickdi; 22-May-2016 at 19:11.

  4. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: negative questions

    In your example, yes. Not always.

    The correct logical answer is B2, "No," but conversationally, it wouldn't be unusual for someone to say "Yeah."
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  5. Newbie
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    #5

    Re: negative questions

    Thank you! So in fact "Yeah, they are not the same person." has the same meaning as "No, they are not the same person." and is just more everyday-language?

  6. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: negative questions

    They're both everyday American speech.

    "Yeah," "yup," and "yep" are common slang in the US.

    "No" is not slang. In the US, "Nope," "nah," and "naw" are.

    Most Americans would say "they're not" rather than "they are not."
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  7. Newbie
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    #7

    Re: negative questions

    Thank you. :) But when do you say "Yeah, they are not the same person." and when do you say "No, they are not the same person."?

  8. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: negative questions

    Again, both of them are informal and common and mean the same thing.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  9. Newbie
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    #9

    Re: negative questions

    OK, thank you. :)
    What would be the the formal answer if "No, they are not the same person." is also informal?

  10. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: negative questions

    Quote Originally Posted by rickdi View Post
    OK, thank you. :)
    What would be the the formal answer if "No, they are not the same person." is also informal?
    The same thing. To make it less formal, say "they're."
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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