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Can the adjective "absent" which has a negative meaning to it be used with the phrase "there is" or "there are" as, in their affirmative form, these are meant to assert the presence and not the absence of something or someone? Then is it correct for a teacher checking out the attendance of their pupils to ask their class: "Is any pupil/student absent/away today?". To which the class would answer either: "Yes miss, everyone's here today." or "No miss, everyone's not here today." Besides, is "Everyone's not here today." preferable to "No miss, not everyone is here today."?

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"Yes miss, everyone is here today." or "No miss, everyone is not here today."

Both sentences above are answers to the question

"Is everyone present today?" or "Is everyone here today?"

They are not proper answers to the question

"Is any student absent today?"

To which, the appropriate answer would be

"Yes miss, Carla is absent. She is sick."

Honestly, I have never heard anyone answer the question "Is anyone absent today?" with "Yes miss, everyone is here today." I believe that would be quite strange.

It is like asking "How is everyone doing today?" and having students reply "Yes miss, no one is ill today." I suppose it could be used sarcastically.

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  • Sorry, I can see now that I did not quite pay attention to what I was writing. Actually, I had the question: "Is everyone here today?" in mind. – zenith3 Oct 13 '19 at 8:09
  • @zenith3 No worries. I think JavaLatte addresses concerns that I did not cover in my answer. – AIQ Oct 13 '19 at 8:20
  • Now, could the teacher's question equally be: "Is there any pupil absent/away/missing today?" and the class's answer be: "Yes miss, there is one pupil absent/away/missing?" – zenith3 Oct 13 '19 at 8:22
  • @zenith3 Yes, that combination is congruous. "Is there anyone absent today?" -- "Yes miss, there is one student absent, it is Carla." I covered this in my answer. – AIQ Oct 13 '19 at 8:27
  • You mean then that it is more appropriate to say: "there is one student absent." rather than "there is one absent student."? – zenith3 Oct 13 '19 at 8:43
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The question is grammatically correct, but the teacher would be more likely to say

Is anybody absent/away today?

The yes/no part of your proposed answers is not correct, though. If nobody is absent, the students would answer "no" to the teacher's question:

No miss, everyone is here today

There are additional problems with your answers when one or more students are absent

Everyone's not here today

This is grammatically correct but logically incorrect- it would mean that nobody is here today.

Not everyone is here today

This is grammatically and logically correct, but not natural: a student would be more likely to say

Yes miss, X is absent today
Yes miss, some students are absent.

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  • Sorry, I can see now that I did not quite pay attention to what I was writing. Actually, I had the question: "Is everyone here today?" in mind. – zenith3 Oct 13 '19 at 8:19
  • Now, could the teacher's question equally be: "Is there any pupil absent/away/missing today?" and the class's answer be: "Yes miss, there is one pupil absent/away/missing?" – zenith3 Oct 13 '19 at 8:23
  • @JavaLatte Ahhh... "No miss, everyone is here today" is the other possible answer to the question. The other being my answer "Yes miss, Carla is absent. She is sick." I missed it. Thank you. – AIQ Oct 13 '19 at 8:31

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