yes and no

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yes and no

Post by Quoc » Sun Jul 01, 2007 1:09 pm

Hi,


A: Don't you have the ticket?
B: Yes

A: Don't you have the ticket?
B: No

Does Yes here mean I don't have the ticket or I have the ticket ? (yes = I don't have the ticket or yes = I have the ticket ?)

Does No here mean I don't have the ticket or I have the ticket ? (no = I don't have the ticket or no = I have the ticket ?)

Thanks
Quoc
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Post by dalehileman » Sun Jul 01, 2007 3:00 pm

I have the ticket and I don't, respectively. In Japan, however, they're more literal

In a Japanese electronics shop when I asked the clerk, "Do you have transformers?" he replied, "No." When I responded in surprise, "You don't have transformers?" his answer was "Yess."
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Post by russcable » Sun Jul 01, 2007 3:44 pm

Generally, one would just say "Do you have it?", but "Don't _you_ have it?" is often said with an emphasis on the word "you" to imply that "You were supposed to have it", that is, either I know you definately had it at one point and I can't believe you have lost it, or you were assigned to bring it, don't tell me you forgot it, or I didn't bring one because I was sure you had one and I'm surprised that you don't have one.
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Post by gdwdwrkr » Sun Jul 01, 2007 4:37 pm

The understandings of the meanings of the questions and answers depend on the vocal inflections and the grammatical sophistication of the conversants.
Good job russ, in explaining one possible meaning!
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Post by LoisMartin » Sun Jul 01, 2007 4:41 pm

I hate this construction. Technically, the first answer means, "I do not have the ticket." But because of the possibility of the question being misunderstood or the inflection changing it's meaning, you're always safest to give a complete answer instead of a simply "yes" or "no." If you say "Yes, I do not have the ticket," or "Yes, I do have the ticket," then the person you're talking to won't have any excuse for misunderstanding your answer.
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Post by dalehileman » Sun Jul 01, 2007 6:47 pm

Quoc: English is complicated, no? But stick with it
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Post by Phil White » Sun Jul 01, 2007 7:10 pm

As Dale says, in the vast majority of cases, a "yes" in response to this construction will mean "yes, I do have the ticket" and a "no" will mean the "no I don't have the ticket". Reversing the meanings is usually ironic.
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Post by Meirav Micklem » Sun Jul 01, 2007 11:38 pm

I can't imagine anyone (other than a very annoying smart-alec or someone severely autistic) replying just "yes" to such a question. If you don't have the ticket you would say, "No, I don't have it" or you'd say, "That's right", or something like that; and if you do have the ticket you'd say, "Yes, I do" or "Of course I do" or something like that. Most people would give more than a "yes" or a "no" as an answer, because, as has been pointed out, a "yes" or a "no" would seem ambiguous.
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Post by gdwdwrkr » Mon Jul 02, 2007 12:06 am

See "Yes, We Have No Bananas".
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Post by Spear » Mon Jul 02, 2007 2:37 pm

I agree the above can be confusing, however, the perplexity intensifies exponentially when the double negative is used, as is in my native tongue.

From Wikipedia: “The double negative construction has been fully grammaticalized in standard Afrikaans…”
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Post by Edwin Ashworth » Mon Jul 16, 2007 10:51 pm

You can't have your baanaanaas and eat them.
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Post by gdwdwrkr » Tue Jul 17, 2007 1:12 am

Yes, you can't.
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Post by daverba » Sun Jul 22, 2007 8:08 pm

Quoc,

Please forgive our rhetorical speech patterns. English can be very irregular. I look at this thought and speech pattern like this:

"Do you have the keys?" = "I do not know who has the keys; (therefore, my question is) do you have them?"

Some answers:
"Yes" = I have them.
"No" = I do not have them.
also
"Bob has them" = Bob has them.
"Ask Bob" = Maybe Bob has them, or maybe Bob knows who has them (because, by me directing you to Bob, I obviously do not have them).

"Don't you have the keys?" = "I think you have the keys; (therefore, my [rhetorical] question is) do you not have them?"

Some answers:
"Yes" = You are correct, I have them (in agreement with your thoughts).
"No" = You are mistaken, I do not have them (in disagreement with your thoughts).
also
"Bob has them" = Bob has them.
"Ask Bob" = Maybe Bob has them, or maybe Bob knows who has them (because, by me directing you to Bob, I obviously do not have them).

Thus, with questions in the negative like this, you are really answering the unspoken statement that is the basis of the rhetorical question.
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