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if someone asks me "Hasn't it been decided yet?" and if it hasn't been decided should I answer with:

Yes (it hasn't been decided yet.)

or

No (it hasn't been decided yet.)

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  • Negative interrogatives are used to express expectations that something should probably already have been done.
    – Lambie
    Dec 12, 2017 at 23:25
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    My advice? Take out the parentheses and say the whole thing. (Either answer would be acceptable with the parenthetical statement included.)
    – J.R.
    Dec 13, 2017 at 0:51

2 Answers 2

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If someone asks "Hasn't it been decided yet?", then "yes" means "yes, it has been decided", and "no" means "no, it hasn't been decided yet".

That said, some people prefer to give a multiple-word answer to make it clear (e.g. "it has" or "it hasn't"). Sometimes if you give a single-word answer, people will ask for clarification where the context is unclear.

People sometimes get confused about how a "yes" or "no" will be interpreted.

Even native speakers sometimes get "yes" and "no" mixed up when questions are worded in a certain way, so context, tone of voice and manner play a role in interpretation. If you ask someone "Do you mind if I sit here?", then logically a "yes" is an objection to your sitting there, but in practice it often means "yes, you can sit there".

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When someone asks, "Hasn't it been decided yet?", in many interactions what they really mean is, "Has it been decided yet?", and they will interpret a Yes or No response in that context.

This is one of those confusing English questions employing a negation. If the question is framed in the positive, "Has it been decided yet?", then Yes and No answers are quite clear responses, but when the negation is used it can easily lead to confusion. In this case it is usually better to offer a longer answer.

The logical response to, "Hasn't it been decided yet?", would be, "Yes, it has not been decided.", or, "No, it has been decided."

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  • "Yes" and "not" shouldn't be in the same sentence. If the answer is "no", it should include "not". We should answer a negative question in English just like answering its positive version. So regardless of the presence of "not" in the question, we should always answer "Yes, I am / I do" or "No, I am not / I do not" (for example).
    – blackr1234
    Oct 25, 2022 at 9:30

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