4

If one says

You don't know that, do you?

I can answer

Yes, I do. = Yes, I know.

No, I don't. = No, I don't know.

But what if that one says

You don't know that, right?

What should I answer?

Right, I don't know.

Yes, you're right.

Yes, I don't know like you said.

No, I don't know.

2

The word "right" can be appended to a statement to turn it into a question. For example, "You are going" is a declarative statement. But, "You are going, right?" is a question. This is somewhat informal. It indicates that the person asking expects a certain answer. If he had no idea whether you were going or not, he would ask, "Are you going?" Asking, "You are going, right?" indicates that he expects a "yes" answer.

What makes the example question in your post difficult is not that it ends with "right", but that it is phrased as a negative.

Suppose the question was phrased without "right". Like your first example. "You don't know that, do you?" If you say "Yes", does that mean "yes, you are correct, I don't know", or does it mean, "yes, I do know"? Such negative questions are a classic problem in English.

Suppose someone used "right" to a positively-worded question. "You are going, right?" The presence of "right" doesn't change your answer. You would still say "yes" if you are going and "no" if you are not.

3

When using

...right?

at the end of a question, the asker is looking for confirmation.

You don't know that, right?
No, I didn't know that.

You know how to do that, right?
Yes, I know how to do that.

You want vanilla, right?
Yes, vanilla is fine, but I'd prefer Rocky Road.

For clarity and to avoid misunderstanding it is usually good practice to repeat the main parts of the question in your answer.

In your example

Right, I don't know.

An AmE answer might be

You are right, I didn't know that.

In BrE, this use of right at the beginning of a sentence can mean OK (AmE)

We'll have to use brute force to get it done.
Right, if that's what we have to do, then there's no choice.

  • You didn't know that, right? It's odd how you can answer that with a "no," no matter the situation. Answer 1: No, I didn't know that. Answer 2: No, I did know that. – J.R. Mar 18 '16 at 19:33
0

This kind of confirmation question is different from a yes/no question and does not require a yes/no answer. Answering just yes or no would be incorrect. Other answers may be more suitable.

You don't know that, right?

To confirm:

  • I don't. (or: "no, I don't" - "no" used as confirmation!)
  • right.

To deny:

  • I know that. (Neutral)
  • I do know that. (Stronger denial; emphasis on "do" is required in speech, and common in writing)
  • wrong. (This is an aggressive answer, but it can be usful in debates)

All the above are short answers. You can expand each one in several ways as suggested by other answers.

There is a similar situation in negative questions: a simple yes/no answer is ambiguous and should not be used. See this question for a longer discussion.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.