No, I got it two months ago.

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A : You do not have a driver's license.

B : No, I got it two months ago.

 

I think "No" should be "Yes" here.  What do you experts think? Thank you so much as always and have a good day.

edited Feb 16 '13 at 11:22 Hans Contributor

2 answers


3

Hmm, I have to part ways, at least partially, with Patty on this one.

 

In sharp contrast to Asian languages, if the question is posed in negative form (Don't you have a driver's license?), in the form of a negative statement (perhaps with rising intonation to indicate a pseudo-question, You don't have a driver's license, or You don't have a driver's license?), or in the form of either a positive or negative tag question (You have a driver's license, don't you?, or You don't have a driver's license, do you?:

 

to disagree with negative statement/question (to indicate that it is not true), you must always answer Yes.

 

A: You're not Korean?

B: Yes, I am.

 

A: You're not Korean.

B: Yes, I am.

 

A: Aren't you Korean?

B: Yes, I am.

 

A: You're Korean, aren't you?

B: Yes, I am.

 

A: You're not Korean, are you?

B: Yes, I am.

 

to agree with a negative statement/question (to indicate that it is true), you must always answer no

 

A: You're not Korean?

B: No, I'm not. I'm Chinese.

 

A: You're not Korean.

B: No, I'm not.  I'm Vietnamese.

 

A: Aren't you Korean?

B: No, I'm not.  I'm Japanese.

 

A: You're Korean, aren't you?

B: No, I'm not.  I'm Chinese.

 

A: You're not Korean, are you?

B: No, I'm not.  I'm Taiwanese.

 

Patty has indicated that, if you are supplying additional information in the response, the yes/no choice should be reversed.  I disagree.  Instead, the correct word to add to the response would be an adverb such as actually or in fact.  Let's look at your original example: 

 

A : You do not have a driver's license.

B : Yes, actually I got it two months ago.

 

There may well be a difference betweeen American English, on the one hand, and Canadian and British English on the other, and if so, I would like to learn more about that.  But because the difference between Asian languages and English is so pronounced, I have always taught these rules in the way outlined above. 

 

It is especially confusing in English when EFL students whose first language is Asian answer a negative question/statement with a simple yes or no because oftentimes they mean the opposite of what yes and no means in standard English.  For example: 

 

A: Don't you love me?

B:  No.  (the speaker means "No, that is not true [the standard response in Asian languages to disagree], I do love you" but the meaning is the reverse in standard English).

 

So, I have to insist that, if you want to be absolutely clear (and I look forward to hearing from Patty again, or others, as to whether there are any differences between American and British/Canadian English in this regard), you must revise your dialogue as follows: 

 

A : You do not have a driver's license.

B : Yes, in fact/actually I got it two months ago.

 

I hope this helps.  Please consider my response alongside Patty's and any subsequent response, and also compare it to your own confusion about how to differentiate between the way English speakers answer negative questions/statements as compared to Korean speakers. 

link edited Feb 16 '13 at 15:18 Shawn Mooney Expert

Excellent! Thank you, sir.

sanjayFeb 16 '13 at 15:49

Thank you so much and I am crying for happiness:-)

HansFeb 17 '13 at 01:08

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2

Sanjay has changed the statement into a yes or no question, so it follows that it is easier to know whether to say yes or no.  But you are asking how to use yes or no when a statement is made.  

 

In your example, HsKyH7, no means “you are wrong.”  You can’t replace that with a simple yes because that would mean you agree with person A.  You could, however answer with, “Yes I do. I got it two months ago.”  Now, “Yes I do” is giving an argument that also says “you are wrong.”  It’s the classic argument between young siblings:
No you don’t!
Yes I do!

 

Now we are back to phrases like those in your other question on the topic.  Should no be followed by the negative and yes be followed by the positive? I think I might be able to explain the difference here.

 

With “no I don’t,” the entire phrase is answering the implied question of “do you have a driver’s license?”  The question is about ownership. The answer can be a simple no as well. 

 

Person B here is adding more information than what was asked or about what was stated.  The additional information might me negative, positive, or indifferent.  The yes or no is agreeing of disagreeing with the statement. It could easily be followed by a period instead of a comma. 

 

A: You do not have a driver’s license.
B: No, I got it two months ago.
B: No.  I don’t have a car, though.
B: No I don’t.  I prefer taking the bus.

 

The second response here may look a bit confusing in written form. When talking to someone in person, non-verbal communication would make this response much more clear.  The written word needs more clarity than spoken word because the non-verbal signs are missing.  

link answered Feb 16 '13 at 12:45 Patty T Grammarly Fellow

Thank you and the response, "B: No, I got it two months ago." would be okay but confusing, right?

HansFeb 16 '13 at 13:22

I do not find that one to be confusing at all.

Patty TFeb 16 '13 at 14:20

Then, "B: No, I got it two months ago." is a possible answer to you, right? Thank you so much.

HansFeb 16 '13 at 15:09

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