1. dylan22
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    dylan22 Member

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    Help of a native speaker

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by dylan22, Jan 25, 2016.

    I am an English learner and have a question to the following American-English conversation, so can a native American-English Speaker please help me?

    Bryan: But they are not the same then.
    Cathy: No they aren´t.

    The "no" confuses me. So I ask myself what Cathy want's to say with her answer:
    a) That's wrong. In my opinion they are the same.
    b) I agree, They are not the same.
     
  2. Anaïs Rose
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    Anaïs Rose Member

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    the answer is B :)
     
  3. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    You're missing a comma. When you split them into clauses it makes sense, though it's repetative.
    "No [they are not the same], they are not."
     
  4. dylan22
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    dylan22 Member

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    So you also think she could have said b) I agree, they are not the same.

    Right?

    And thank you very much for your help. :)
     
  5. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    The interpretation is correct, but the semantics are a little different than what you're saying.
     
  6. dylan22
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    dylan22 Member

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    So in fact with "No they aren't" she agrees with Bryan and means:
    "No [they are not the same], they are not [the same]."

    Right? Then thanks again in advance. :)
     
  7. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    You are correct. English, "Yes, they are not the same" would be incorrect.
     
  8. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't know about an American-English speaker, but it's one of those things that people commonly say and which means the opposite of what they intend. So, if Cathy is me:

    Bryan: But they are not the same then.
    Cathy: (Agreeing with him) Yes. They are not the same (Confirming that she is agreeing with him by repeating what he said).
    Bryan (in confusion, because he, in common with most of the English-speaking world, doesn't understand how saying "No" indicates that you disagree with what's been said) : You what?
     
  9. dylan22
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    dylan22 Member

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    But all in all when Bryan says "But they are not the same then" and Cathy answers "No, they arent" it is only possible she agrees with him that they are not the same, right?
     
  10. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I think it would be clearer if she said "No, they're not." (the same) She's agreeing with his statement. In other words, she's echoing his words, which were: (No) they are not the same.

    "No, they aren't" is technically correct, but it's not really how most people would indicate agreement in a casual conversation.

    If she was disagreeing with him, on the other hand, she'd say "Yes, they are!" (the same)

    o_O

    English can be confusing, for sure. I love the kind of negative/positive statements you sometimes get. Do you not wish to see me again? ERm...I'll have to think about it....
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2016
  11. kateamedeo
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    kateamedeo Active Member

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    The thing with 'no' here is the negative question. 'not the same', that's why we use a 'no' in the answer. Try to change the question and make it a positive question, try to answer it with a no. This may make it a bit clearer. (notice, if the conversation would go: 'They're the same then?' 'Yes, they are.'/'No, they aren't.' -> no negation, using a 'yes' or a 'no'; another example of a negative question: 'You don't want to go there, right?' 'No, I don't.')

    Even if Bryan were confused, he would not ask 'You what', more likely he would ask 'They're what?' or simply 'What?'. And to be honest, I think he would get what she said as she repeated 'They are not the same.' :)
     
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  12. dylan22
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    dylan22 Member

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    OK thank you very much, I think I got I now. :) @kateamedeo Thank you too, but just to be 100% safe I have understood your conclusion and explanation: You think like everyone else too that exanple b) from my opening post is correct and Cathy is agreeing with Bryans statement "they are not the same"?
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2016
  13. kateamedeo
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    kateamedeo Active Member

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    Yup :)
     
  14. dylan22
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    dylan22 Member

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    Thank you, but you saw my edit? You were so greatful quick I don't know to what you agree now. :/
    My last version was:
    OK thank you very much, I think I got I now. :) @kateamedeo Thank you too, but just to be 100% safe I have understood your conclusion and explanation: You think like everyone else too that exanple b) from my opening post is correct and Cathy is agreeing with Bryans statement "they are not the same"?

    Do you agree to this? :)
     
  15. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Just as an aside, why in particular did the response need to come from a speaker of AmE?
     
  16. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Well I imagine trying to get an answer for Chinese English would have just been more confusing.
     
  17. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Ha ha! Actually Bryan might very well say 'You what." That's a general statement of incredulity or disbelief. It's slang, actually. Not to be taken literally. :eek:
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2016
  18. kateamedeo
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    kateamedeo Active Member

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    Yes, there is the 'You what?' in the slang. It would fit if the speaker would have spoken about herself. In this case, though, she says 'they', so it does not make sense here.
     
  19. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I feel that this is an example of idiomatic English. "No, they aren't." is, IMO, internally illogical, and nothing about English grammar fixes that. I say this in part because the answer would be the same even if the question were reversed:

    But are they the same, then?
    No, they aren't.


    All of these sound plausible:

    But they're not the same, then.
    No, they aren't.

    But they're not the same, then.
    No, they're not.

    Are they the same, then?
    No, they're not.
     
  20. dylan22
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    dylan22 Member

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    Cause it's from an English-American Writer and I just want to go sure. :)

    @kateamedeo
    Did you read my last edit? It was just a few seconds before your answer, so I am not sure to which version your answer belonged to.
    My last version was:
    You think like everyone else too that exanple b) from my opening post is correct and Cathy is agreeing with Bryans statement "they are not the same"?

    Do you agree? :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2016
  21. dylan22
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    dylan22 Member

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    Just to make sure I understand the opening statement of Bryan correct cause Im a bit confused now:
    The words "but" and "then" in his sentence "but they are not the same then" don't change the meaning so:
    "but they are not the same then." = "they are not the same.", correct?
     
  22. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    It depends on prior context. The "but" certainly gives the impression that there is a portion of conversation before this that we are not privy to. It is what one expects to hear when either a contradictory or unexpected answer is given. The "then" on the end of the sentence is decorative in this case, since it really doesn't denote any period of time, which is the usual purpose of then. It can be there or not and the meaning is unchanged. It's like when some Germans end a question with oder. It doesn't really need to be there and not all people use it. It just depends on the person.
     
  23. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Also, I am moving this thread to Word Mechanics where it belongs.
     
  24. dylan22
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    dylan22 Member

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    Thank you, I begin to understand this topic that me headache for days. Nice community. :) So all in all we can say that both (Bryan and Cathy) think they are not the same, correct? :)
     
  25. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, whatever it is that Bryan and Cathy are talking about, they are in agreement that they are not the same. ;)
     

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