Yesterday I asked my students a question in class. The first student to answer the question gave a wrong answer. When the second student repeated the same wrong answer, I said, "Sorry, you didn't listen to that student attentively. I have already negated this answer." But after class when I ponder over this collocation, I felt that I might have made a mistake---"negate" may not be used this way. Afterwards I looked it up in my dictionaries. One dictionary tells me that "negate" means "nullify" or "to state that something does not exist" and another dictionary says its synonym is "deny". It seems that I did make a mistake. I know when I am not sure of something, I should avoid using that construction in class. In this case I could instead say "Sorry, you didn't listen carefully. I have already said no to this answer." or something which I am sure grammatically correct. Although I have a teacher of English for some years, I admit I am still ignorant of many things about the English language. However, I always like and sometimes have to take risks when talking and writing in English. Afterwards I will consult others or my dictionaries about it. Sometimes I am proven wrong, but I never regret taking such risks. Back to "negate", I would like especially native speakers of English to tell me whether I can use "negate an answer" in this classroom situation or not.
If you wanted to make a joke of it, you could have said it 'went in one ear and out the other'.
'I can't understand the Senate vote in favour of the bailout. It negates everything Americans stand for.' That is, it doesn't just say the opposite, it does something (or, in this case, shows a willingness to do something).
Last edited by ohmyrichard; 19-Oct-2008 at 16:12.
It goes against the American spirit [pioneering, self-reliant]
or, more loosely,
It makes a mockery of everything that Americans hold dear
I don't think students often take notes about what you are saying unless it has to do with grammar or vocabulary. But if someone ever challenged you by reminding you that you said X or Y, you could always say something like, "Oh goodness! Did I really say that? I must have been out of my mind!"
By the way, would you please tell me about your understanding of the verb "negate" and give me some example sentences?
You could take a look here: http://www.answers.com/topic/negate
As you can see it, I haven't really learned this word(Another risk I wanted to take: Can I say instead: I haven't really aquired this word?).
Maybe you could say "I can't quite grasp this word."
I am just a student.
I used to take chances before, employing words that ''seemed'' to me to be appropriate just to experiment and wait for the listener reaction. Afterwards, when I found out that I said something very stupid I felt like a cocky guy trying to show that I know English more than I actually do.
I am not saying that it's anybody's case! Please don't take me wrong!
However, I definitely changed my way of thinking about that. Today I avoid saying something when I am not 100% sure about that. And, whenever it's possible, I take the opportunity to clarify my doubt with the person who I am talking to.
Just a student.
Last edited by jctgf; 18-Oct-2008 at 16:29.
I would like to invite you to make a comment on my new assertion.