[General] when to say yes or no

FelicityKim

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Hello. The thing that troubled me the most when learning English was differentiating when to respond with a "yes" or a "no".

I think it's because of the interference of my first language, Korean.

For example, when somebody asks you, "Do you dislike the cake?", then would it be correct to say "No, I don't like the cake." or "Yes, I like the cake." in English?

Because in Korean, if you don't like the cake, you say "Yes, I don't like the cake." and "No, I like the cake.". So it's opposite from English.

P.S. Please correct me if I have any punctuation or grammar mistakes.
 

bhaisahab

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If you like the cake: 'Do you dislike the cake?' 'No. I like it.'
If you don't like the cake: 'Do you dislike the cake?' 'Yes.'
 
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FelicityKim

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Oh so it wasn't the opposite! Thank you!
 

FelicityKim

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Then would the respond be the same if the question were "Don't you like the cake?" or "Do you not like the cake?"
 

andrewg927

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Then would the respond be the same if the question were "Don't you like the cake?"or "Do you not like the cake?"

"Yeah I do" or "No, I don't".
 

Lynxear

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Then would the respond response be the same if the question were "Don't you like the cake?"or "Do you not like the cake?


I would answer "Yes, I like the cake." to the first question and "No, this cake does not taste good to me"

There are many ways to respond to these questions. It all depends on how strong your opinion is.

This is a hard question for many foreigners to answer. I usually told my students to first answer the question "yes" or "no" depending on your opinion on the cake and then explain your reason in a positive of negative way depending on whether you said yes or no.

 

FelicityKim

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I would answer "Yes, I like the cake." to the first question and "No, this cake does not taste good to me"

There are many ways to respond to these questions. It all depends on how strong your opinion is.

This is a hard question for many foreigners to answer. I usually told my students to first answer the question "yes" or "no" depending on your opinion on the cake and then explain your reason in a positive or negative way depending on whether you said yes or no.


Thank you for the detailed reply. Then if the question were, "You didn't do it?" would the answer be "Yes I did it" / "No I didn't do it" ? Or is it the other way around?
 

FelicityKim

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I don't get why I am so confused about this. I have been speaking English for 17 years and I still can't pin this down.
So do you say yes or no according to your opinion in any situation, regardless of the question's connotation?
I hope that makes sense.
 

Lynxear

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Thank you for the detailed reply. Then if the question were, "You didn't do it?" would the answer be "Yes I did it" / "No I didn't do it" ? Or is it the other way around?

Don't worry. Even native English speakers can get confused answering such questions.

"You didn't do it?"

This would be question from someone who expected you to do whatever "it" was. Yes, your answers are the wrong way around

Again, follow my suggestion. Respond Yes or No and the explain yourself. Never just answer such questions just "Yes" or "No" as the questioner will be confused by that answer too.

Here are potential answers:

"You didn't do it?"

"Yes, I didn't do it. I thought there was no reason to do it now."
"Yes, I didn't do it. I thought you said not to. Has something changed?"

"No, I did it. I finished the work an hour ago."
"No, I did it. That was what you told me to do, wasn't it?."

See. Just answer the question and make sure you give some further information so there is no misunderstanding.
 

andrewg927

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Thank you for the detailed reply. Then if the question were, "You didn't do it?" would the answer be "Yes I did it" / "No I didn't do it" ? Or is it the other way around?

That question is a tricky one. There is no set rules on how to respond. I personally would say "No, I didn't do it" or "No, I did it". I know it doesn't make much sense but what follows yes or no is what really matters.
 

Lynxear

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I agree.

'Yes' does not sound natural to this speaker of BrE even with the following 'I didn't do it'. I might say 'That's right'.

That is OK too. As always there are many ways to say the same thing in English. Of course, slight differences occur between BE and AE but they are understandable to both styles nonetheless.
 
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FelicityKim

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Thank you very much, everybody! I have one more question: Do these sentences have the same meaning as each other?

1. Don't you like the cake?=Do you like the cake? (The first sentence emphasizes the second sentence. They both have a positive meaning.)

2. Do you not like the cake?= You don't like the cake? (These two sentences both have a negative meaning.)

Please correct me if I'm wrong!
 

FelicityKim

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That question is a tricky one. There is no set rules on how to respond. I personally would say "No, I didn't do it" or "No, I did it". I know it doesn't make much sense but what follows yes or no is what really matters.
Yes, I think that's what confused me the most.
 

andrewg927

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Except for "you don't like the cake" (which is technically a statement framed as a question) all the other ones in my opinion are pretty neutral, neither positive or negative.
 

Lynxear

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Thank you very much, everybody! I have one more question: Do these sentences have the same meaning as each other?

1. Don't you like the cake?=Do you like the cake? (The first sentence emphasizes the second sentence. They both have a positive meaning.)

2. Do you not like the cake?= You don't like the cake? (These two sentences both have a negative meaning.)

Please correct me if I'm wrong!

The sentences technically mean the same thing and at various times I would use either one. I think I would choose one or the other depending on the situation.

"Don't you like the cake?"

I would ask this question under two circumstances

1. I really liked the cake and I want to convey that to my partner. In that case I would probably replace "like" with "love".
2. I look over and I don't see any indication that you like the cake and I want to know why.

"Do you like the cake?"

I might not like the cake or am unsure about it, so I am asking your opinion about it.

"You don't like the cake?"

It is obvious that you don't like the cake. It is more of an observation than a question.

"Do you not like the cake?"

I would only say this if I was really excited about the cake. I would convey that excitement in the the tone of my voice. This is almost a rhetorical question.

All responses don't have to be of the "yes/no" type.

"I love this cake. It is so yummy." [I strongly agree]
"It's ok but I have eaten better." [I am less impressed ]
"Do you like this cake? I don't because of the powerful taste of spice in it." [I don't like it but you seem to]

As a final comment, word stress is also very important when answering any question. Consider this question with different word stress.

Do you like this cake? Answer: "Maybe others don't but it tastes fine to me."
Do you like this cake? Answer: "I don't just like this cake. I love it!"
Do you like this cake? Answer: "No, I really liked the other one better."
Do you like this cake? Answer: "Actually I liked the pie better."

Each question has a slightly different meaning and would generate different responses. I have only given a sample of possible responses here.

This is more of a listening/speaking issue.
 
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