A grammar book which I read mentions this:

In a reply to a negative question, Yes suggests an affirmative verb, and No suggests a negative verb.

I think I can understand that, but then it has this example:

Don't you feel well? (= Am I right in thinking you don't feel well?)

I find the parenthesis confusing. If I don't feel well, then what should I say in this case?

  • Or just drop the "yes/no" which leaves "I feel OK" or "I don't feel well" which will be understood without problem. Also the rules (and meaning) of using yes or no responses can vary by language.
    – user3169
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 2:12

1 Answer 1


I advise non-native English speakers that I work with to avoid asking questions in the negative because they are confusing. When answering such a question, I advise them to avoid "Yes" or "No" and answer with a full statement: "I feel fine." or "I should go home and rest."

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