My book club is reading The Firm these days, and near the end of chapter 15 there is the saying "Wouldn't you say so?'

"You've got problems, don't you, pal?"

"Wouldn't you say so?" Mitch answered.

"I wouldn't work there if I were you. I mean, I don't know all that you do, and I suspect you know a lot you''re not telling..."

From the context, It would seem a little awkward if it has its literal, usual meaning of asking for agreement. Someone said it means "Why do you say so?" Does it really? I'll appreciate your professional advice.

1 Answer 1


Let's say a woman comes in the back door dripping with sweat after doing some not very strenuous work in the garden. Her husband is sitting in the kitchen sipping a beer. The kitchen is cool. The A/C is on high.

Husband: Hot out there?

Wife: You think so?

Answering a question with a question in that manner can be a form of sarcasm. It's rather like saying "Brilliant deduction, Sherlock" or "How can you tell?" when it's obvious to anyone that it must be hot outside for her to come back in after some light gardening looking as though she had run a marathon.

It's possible that there is some form of mild sarcasm at play in the passage from your book, but without more context, it's hard to say, since another possible meaning is that Mitch is simply concurring.


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