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Monica: Is he not cute enough for you?

Rachel: No!

Monica: Does he not make enough money?

Rachel: No, I'm just....

The conversation is taken from Season 1 Episode 24 of the sitcom Friends.

Rachel is worried that she and Monica's brother Ross might not work out. Then Monica is asking why.

Both of Rachel's responses are No's. Judging from the context, it is obvious that Rachel thinks Ross is cute enough and does make enough money.

But, why does she answer with two No's instead of two Yes'es?

To me, No means no, he is not cute enough in the first answer and no, he does not make enough money in the second answer, which is absolutely NOT the intended interpretation.

No is more likely to mean "No, that's not my concern".

Am I correct? Anybody is equally confused as me?

marked as duplicate by anongoodnurse, Drew, tchrist, ScotM, Kristina Lopez Apr 20 '15 at 18:02

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • Yes, a duplicate. (Yes, we have no bananas today.) – Drew Apr 16 '15 at 16:25
  • I don't think it's an exact duplicate. – sumelic Apr 16 '15 at 16:27

Responses to negated questions like this are difficult for English speakers because we only have the two words "yes" and "no".

Thinking about this, if I extended Rachel's responses into longer sentences, I would make them something like "No, it's not that" = "No, that's not the problem." This is responding to the sense of the questions Monica is asking, which could be expressed as: "Is the problem that he's not cute enough for you?"

It is a complicated issue, because in response to a very similar-looking question with a different set of implied presumptions, "Doesn't he make enough money?", the response "No" might be used to mean "No, he doesn't make enough money".

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