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  1. #1
    Sauerkraut is offline Newbie
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    Is repeating a part of a question a confirmation?

    Dear UsingEnglish members,
    I'm a German engineer, and I'm dealing with the English language for more than 20 years now. Unfortunately I'm not a native speaker. Of course, we do have the subject at school, but the biggest progress was to study in the UK.
    I do have a question about applying the English language and maybe about cultural differences.
    I have a friend from the UK who is living near, I sent him a picture of an outdoor activity. The answer was:

    Friend: That looks so much fun!
    Me: So much fun that you will join?
    Friend: So much fun :D

    But the fried did not come. Later I asked what had happened, and he said that wasn't a confirmation.
    In German, it is a confirmation to repeat the main part of a question. That's why started to think if it is maybe different in the English language culture. Can you please enlighten me?
    Kind regards

  2. #2
    probus's Avatar
    probus is offline Moderator
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    Re: Is repeating a part of a question a confirmation?

    At least in some cases it is the same in English, Sauerkraut. For example, I ask my friend "Is there any doubt?"and he replies "Is there any doubt!" It's an emphatic way of agreeing that there is no doubt. But it doesn't work in all cases. If I ask my friend "When will you come?" and he says "When will I come" I'd be at a loss. My best guess would be that he was mocking the question but I'd not be sure.
    Last edited by probus; 29-Dec-2020 at 20:42. Reason: Fix typo

  3. #3
    Tarheel's Avatar
    Tarheel is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Is repeating a part of a question a confirmation?

    A positive response would have been a simple Yes. Possibly:

    Bob: That looks like a lot of fun.
    Fred: Would you like to come and join us?
    Bob: I sure would!

    Your offer was made rather indirectly, and no, the response wasn't an acceptance


    Repeating all or part of a question indicates the person heard the question. Don't expect it to mean any more.
    Last edited by Tarheel; 29-Dec-2020 at 20:29.
    Not a professional teacher

  4. #4
    Sauerkraut is offline Newbie
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    Re: Is repeating a part of a question a confirmation?

    Good evening,
    Thank you for your quick response and your opinion on this.
    Yes my offer was indirect, but does it make any sense to reply like that when you don't want to accept the offer? Otherwise I would imagine it like that:

    Friend: That looks so much fun!
    Me: So much fun that you will join?
    Friend: I wish you a lot of fun :D

    That would be a clear cancellation to me. But maybe I think too technically.

  5. #5
    GoesStation is online now Moderator
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    Re: Is repeating a part of a question a confirmation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sauerkraut View Post
    Yes my offer was indirect, but does it make any sense to reply like that when you don't want to accept the offer? Otherwise I would imagine it like that this:

    Friend: That looks so much fun!
    Me: So much fun that you will join?
    Friend: I wish you a lot of fun :D

    That would be a clear cancellation to me. But maybe I think too technically.
    That version doesn't work. The original reply meant "No, I'm not saying that I'm coming. It just sounds like a lot of fun."
    I am not a teacher.

  6. #6
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Is repeating a part of a question a confirmation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sauerkraut View Post
    Good evening,
    Thank you for your quick response and your opinion on this.
    Yes my offer was indirect, but does it make any sense to reply like that when you don't want to accept the offer? Otherwise I would imagine it like that:

    Friend: That looks so much fun!
    Me: So much fun that you will join?
    Friend: I wish you a lot of fun :D

    That would be a clear cancellation to me. But maybe I think too technically.
    Not really a cancellation, but it is turning down the offer.

  7. #7
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    emsr2d2 is online now Moderator
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    Re: Is repeating a part of a question a confirmation?

    No one has cancelled anything because there was never an arrangement made. I wonder if your colleague didn't understand what you meant by "So much fun you'll join?" so just decided to repeat that it looked like a lot of fun. Whatever the reason, at no point did he say he was going to come. By the same token, he didn't specifically say he wasn't going to come. To be certain, you should have sent him another question: "Do you want to come with us on Saturday to do that activity?" Be clear with your questions and you're more likely to get clear answers.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  8. #8
    jutfrank's Avatar
    jutfrank is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Is repeating a part of a question a confirmation?

    My interpretation is that your friend's response was intended to be a humorous way of clearly rejecting your offer for him to join the activity. The deliberate omission of a direct answer to your question was meant to be an answer in itself.

    I really don't think there's anything particularly relevant to German- or English-speaking culture going on here. It's just a misunderstanding, resulting from the specifics of the context. I don't think you would have misunderstood if the exchange had been verbal and face-to-face.

  9. #9
    Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
    Charlie Bernstein is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Is repeating a part of a question a confirmation?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sauerkraut View Post
    Dear UsingEnglish members,
    I'm a German engineer, and I've been dealing with the English language for more than twenty years now. Unfortunately I'm not a native speaker. Of course, we do have the subject at school, but the biggest progress was to study in the UK.
    I do have a question about applying the English language and maybe about cultural differences.
    I have a friend from the UK who is living nearby. I sent him a picture of an outdoor activity. The answer was:

    Friend: That looks so much fun!
    Me: So much fun that you will join?
    Friend: So much fun :D

    But the fried did not come. Later I asked what had happened, and he said that wasn't a confirmation.
    In German, it is a confirmation to repeat the main part of a question. That's why started to think if it is maybe different in the English language culture. Can you please enlighten me?
    Kind regards.
    Interesting question!

    To me, an American, it's not a firm yes. I would have followed up for confirmation. Saying something sounds like fun is not a promise to do it.

    And I wonder how addicted your friend is to social media. I've found over the past ten years that people who spend a lot of time on cell phones are somewhat mercurial about social commitments and resist nailing things down in their schedules. (You can't nail down mercury.)
    Last edited by GoesStation; 01-Jan-2021 at 02:16. Reason: Fix a typo.
    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.

  10. #10
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Is repeating a part of a question a confirmation?

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    My interpretation is that your friend's response was intended to be a humorous way of clearly rejecting your offer for him to join the activity. The deliberate omission of a direct answer to your question was meant to be an answer in itself.

    I really don't think there's anything particularly relevant to German- or English-speaking culture going on here. It's just a misunderstanding, resulting from the specifics of the context. I don't think you would have misunderstood if the exchange had been verbal and face-to-face.
    I agree. It's a polite refusal. He repeats everything except that he will join.

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