Trapped with this language. Answering with 'yes' OR 'no' is not working!

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This is a trap. How is it possible that putting 'yes' or 'no' does not change the meaning of the sentence?

_________, I don't have brain (yes/no)
__________, I'm not a man (yes/no)

Is it grammatically wrong? If not, why the meanings remain the same by putting two extremely opposite options.

Maulik V

Posted 2015-05-21T11:35:41.973

Reputation: 66 188

1Good one Sir, as always! – Rucheer M – 2015-05-21T11:39:13.333

I'm a man, *ain't I'? Or "aren't I"? Also, can you write this as an answer (with some more information). It is nice @FumbleFingers – Maulik V – 2015-05-21T12:01:03.123

done – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica – 2015-05-21T12:18:30.607

This could be interesting: http://theweek.com/articles/451975/problem-positive-answers-negative-questions.

– Damkerng T. – 2015-05-21T12:33:56.767

Related: “No, I didn't see him” vs “Yes, I didn't see him”.

– Damkerng T. – 2015-06-20T19:49:18.627

Answers

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Because the explicit assertions in the examples are both effectively denials (expressed in negated form), standard usage would precede the assertion with No.

This principle applies even if you're actually agreeing with someone - as in, for example,...

"You're such a coward! You're not a man at all, are you?"
"You're quite right. No, I'm not a man. I'm just a mouse"

...where it would be unusual/confusing to use Yes in the highlighted position.

It's the opposite of how "question tags" work (if the assertion is positive, the tag is negative, and vice-versa). Thus I don't have a brain, do I? and I'm not a man, am I?, as opposed to I have a brain, don't I? and I'm a man, aren't I?

FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica

Posted 2015-05-21T11:35:41.973

Reputation: 52 587

I'll wait for more to come. This i the answer anyway. Will tick this later. Thanks and +1 – Maulik V – 2015-05-21T15:41:56.327

@Damkerng's comment link is interesting from a historical perspective. Plus it may be useful to NNS of languages like French, where *Oui* and *Si* still reflect some elements of *Yes* and *Yea* in archaic English, To some extent, I think *Okay* can effectively carry the "positive, confirmatory" implication I agree even when preceding a negated assertion as in mine and OP's examples.

– FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica – 2015-05-21T16:07:29.907