1

Examples

Do you not think?

Do you think?

Is this not delicious?

Is it delicious?

In every case, the questions are synonymous.

  • There is also "This is delicious, isn't it?" and "That's a beautiful painting, don't you think?" – John Feltz Nov 29 '16 at 0:21
  • I don't know if there's much value in asking "why is English like this?" questions. It kind of is what it is. – Andrew Nov 29 '16 at 0:37
3

They're synonymous in that they're both asking what the listener thinks but the tone or expectation is not the same. The negative has the added connotation that the speaker shares the affirmative feeling and they are asking if the listener agrees with them.

So, if I ask:

Is this delicious?

I'm not saying anything about how I feel the food quality is, I'm only asking your opinion on the matter.

If I ask:

Is this not delicious?

I'm saying that I think the food is good and I'm asking if you agree with my assertion.

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