My new job requires me to deal with regulatory document and checklists containing "Is there no ......?" questions with Yes/No answer sections, and I wonder how to read what the Yes/No really mean without further explanation. Is there any general rule?
Below is a sample sentence I made up myself to explain my question.
Is there no food I can eat to prevent cancer?
If someone's answer to this question is simply by either "Yes" or "No" alone, what do you think they would mean? General understanding, I believe, is that they are referring to the direct answer to the question itself, which would most probably be interpreted as 1) or 2) below.
- Yes, there is. There's food you can eat to prevent cancer.
- No, there isn't. There's no such food you can eat to prevent cancer.
I have a second thought, however, that they could be just a short answer referring to the correctness of the question or statement made, and if this is the case, the following interpretation could also be possible.
- Yes, you're (or that's) right. There's no food you can eat to prevent cancer.
- No, you're (or that's) wrong. There's food you can eat to prevent cancer.
If my understanding would be correct, then I thought answering by just yes or no alone could lead to misunderstanding. Could you give me any advice on this?