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This question is based on the exercise in my English textbook:

Mark the letter A, B, C, or D on your answer sheet to indicate the most suitable response to complete each of the following exchanges.

John: "Wow, I’ve never seen such a nice cell phone, Mary"
Mary: " ___ "
A. Thank you. I’m glad you like it.
B. Oh, I don’t know.
C. I agree with you.
D. You’re welcome.

The answer key is option A (Thank you. I’m glad you like it). However, I think this response is suitable only if that cell phone belongs to Mary. If that cell phone doesn't belong to Mary, is it natural for her to say "I agree with you" (option C) when she has the same opinion as John?

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    Yes. You clearly understand much better than test-writers (who are not an imaginative crew) that Context is Critical! Commented Oct 14, 2017 at 17:21
  • E. I shoplifted it..
    – TimR
    Commented Oct 15, 2017 at 11:34

1 Answer 1

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A B or C could be reasonable responses, in context.

That said I would have chosen 'A', as the natural reading is that John is complementing Mary, and 'A' is a reasonable response.

A: {Mary shows John her new phone}
John "Wow, I’ve never seen such a nice cell phone, Mary"
Mary {grateful for the compliment} Thank-you, I’m glad you like it.

B: {Mary and John are in a phone shop. John points out the new galaxy}
John "Wow, I’ve never seen such a nice cell phone, Mary"
Mary: Oh, I don't know...
John: What do you mean?
Mary: I've heard that they can overheat.

C: {Mary and John are in a phone shop. John points out the new galaxy}
John "Wow, I’ve never seen such a nice cell phone, Mary"
Mary I agree with you.
John: But I thought you were an Apple fan!?
Mary: Yes, but the screen on this one is so much nicer.

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    Even D could be a reasonable response in context. Perhaps it is a gift from Mary to John and she's just about to hand it to him (or has already done so).
    – rjpond
    Commented Oct 14, 2017 at 19:33
  • maybe, but that's a bit of a stretch.
    – James K
    Commented Oct 14, 2017 at 21:13
  • I'm not sure what B (Oh, I don’t know) really means in this context. I guess its meaning may be "Oh, I don't know. I do not completely agree. For me, that cell phone is not really so nice". Is my understanding correct?
    – doquan0
    Commented Oct 14, 2017 at 23:52
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    Something like that. I've added examples that could fit the context for A, B and C. I still think D is "a bit of a stretch"
    – James K
    Commented Oct 15, 2017 at 12:01
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    It means it requires some extraordinary belief: D could be a correct response, but the context seems very unlikely, I don't believe such a context could ever arise naturally.
    – James K
    Commented Oct 15, 2017 at 16:42

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