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This question has been irking me for a while and I cannot seem to find any answer. Take something simple such as:

Question:"Did you not enjoy eating at the restaurant?"

Response: "No."

Does this mean:

"No, I did enjoy eating at the restaurant."

or

"No, I did not enjoy eating at the restaurant."

I've heard both used in the above context and I honestly could see how both could be used as a response depending on the previous context and other variables like the speaker's tone.

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2 Answers 2

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With a question like that where a simple "yes" or "no" would be ambiguous, the person answering would most likely attach a tag to it:

  • "No, I didn't." (No, I didn't enjoy it.)
  • "Yes, I did." (Yes, I did enjoy it.)

Some languages have different words for "yes" and "no" depending on whether the question asked is positive ("Did you...?") or negative (Didn't you...?"), but English is not one of them, so there are times when a "yes" or "no" by itself doesn't make the answer clear.

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Did you enjoy eating at the restaurant? No. (No I did not)

Didn't you enjoy eating at the restaurant? No. (No I did not)

Did you not enjoy eating at the restaurant? No. (No I did not)

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