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Continued from "Nothing is available, is anything?" Tag questions for negative sentences ---

John: Finally I got a reply from the e-gov sysadmin! They say the system is "experiencing a technical issue" now.

Paul: So there was nothing wrong with your submission...

John:

  1. Of course! How could it be wrong?
  2. Of course not! How could it be wrong?

Paul: (shrugs)

Which of them is correct?

How about "nowhere," "nobody," or "none of them" etc? Should I use "of course" or "of course not" to confirm the statement?

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Being totally grammatically correct, the second example is correct. This is because your first statement "of course not" is negative, so the tag question must be positive "how could it be wrong".

In English tag questions, we do not use a positive statement then another positive statement. We are "affirmative". See here for more info.

NB: To my (British) ear, both of them sound alright, and I would understand the meaning of both. It is more about context - how could it be wrong is the main content of what your are saying. I have heard both used in everyday contexts. But that is not technically correct.

  • While your description of tag questions is correct, the original content doesn't have what would be normally considered a tag question. – eques Nov 1 '16 at 17:08
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They are each correct. They confirm slightly different things, but have the same final meaning.

"Of course!" refers to the entire previous statement. It parses as:

"Of course ['So there was nothing wrong with your submission...' is correct]!"

"Of course not!" refers to part of the previous statement. It parses as:

"Of course [there was] not [anything wrong with my submission]!"

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