This is a trap. How is it possible that putting 'yes' or 'no' does not change the meaning of the sentence?

_________, I don't have brain (yes/no)
__________, I'm not a man (yes/no)

Is it grammatically wrong? If not, why the meanings remain the same by putting two extremely opposite options.


1 Answer 1


Because the explicit assertions in the examples are both effectively denials (expressed in negated form), standard usage would precede the assertion with No.

This principle applies even if you're actually agreeing with someone - as in, for example,...

"You're such a coward! You're not a man at all, are you?"
"You're quite right. No, I'm not a man. I'm just a mouse"

...where it would be unusual/confusing to use Yes in the highlighted position.

It's the opposite of how "question tags" work (if the assertion is positive, the tag is negative, and vice-versa). Thus I don't have a brain, do I? and I'm not a man, am I?, as opposed to I have a brain, don't I? and I'm a man, aren't I?

  • I'll wait for more to come. This i the answer anyway. Will tick this later. Thanks and +1
    – Maulik V
    May 21, 2015 at 15:41
  • @Damkerng's comment link is interesting from a historical perspective. Plus it may be useful to NNS of languages like French, where Oui and Si still reflect some elements of Yes and Yea in archaic English, To some extent, I think Okay can effectively carry the "positive, confirmatory" implication I agree even when preceding a negated assertion as in mine and OP's examples. May 21, 2015 at 16:07

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .