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A: Are you a politician?

B: No, I'm not a politician.

When we report the B's reply as: B replied negatively that he was not a politician., is the sentence ambiguous - whether B denied the fact that he was not a politician or he denied that he was a politician?

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  • A: Are you late? B: No, I'm not (late). B responds negatively to the question. The speaker's response is negative. – Mari-Lou A Mar 4 '20 at 7:04
  • In the question, B did not "reply negatively", but "in the negative" – he denied that he was a politician. If B had replied "negatively" he might have said, perhaps, "I am not interested in such questions." There are two meanings of negative – antonyms of affirmative and positive. – Weather Vane Mar 4 '20 at 10:22
  • @WeatherVane The Cambridge Dictionary gives "negatively" the meaning in a way that expresses "no", and also cites the example: When he applied for a loan, the bank replied negatively. – mahmud k pukayoor Mar 4 '20 at 10:26
  • Saying they replied "in a way that expresses no" is not synonymous with "the bank said no." – Weather Vane Mar 4 '20 at 10:34

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