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non-native speaker here and I have problems with the following sentence.

'My friend asks if it would not be better for you to come here.'

Does the sentence mean

a) 'My friend thinks it would be better if you come here.'

OR

b) 'My friend thinks it would be better if you not come here (and stay there).'

And is the usage of "not" in the sentence correct or does it make it ambiguous?

I have an argument with my girlfriend (also not a native speaker) about this, so please help me solve it. :-)

Further info for the German-speaking crowd here: I am trying to translate the expression 'wäre es nicht besser wenn ...'.

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    Wow, you've just blown my mind. I think I just realized "...would it not" and "would it" seem to have the same exact meaning in most constructions I can think up. "Wouldn't you like to stay for the night?"/"Would you like to stay for the night?" I can't tell what the "not" is doing there!
    – Uticensis
    Mar 16 '11 at 9:31
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    Whatever your girlfriend thinks is correct. Mar 17 '11 at 15:46
  • "would not be better" sounds more polite.
    – John Z. Li
    Dec 18 '19 at 6:53
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This happens to be an idiom which exists almost identically in German and English, and it works just the same way. You can rearrange your friend's statement to match the German style to make it obvious:

"My friend asks if it would not be better for you to come here."  
"My friend asks: would it not be better if you came here?"
                 Would it not [be] better if
                 wäre  es nicht    besser wenn

If someone says "Would it not be better if you came here?" or "Wouldn't it be better if you came here?" they are saying that they think it would be better, and they are asking you if you disagree. The 'not' is a bit confusing, because it doesn't invert the meaning. If someone says "Would it be better if you came here?" that means the same thing, but is a more neutral/open question.

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Well, "would it not be better if", is used in the context of comparing with something implicitly. The other something generally is the opposite of what is proposed explicitly.

So, it means that your friend thinks it would be better if you go to his place, rather(implicit) he coming over to your place.

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