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Hello,

If you could please advise. Thanks.

John: I will not back out.

A. Mary: Do you mean you will go ahead with your plan?
B. Mary: Did you mean you will go ahead with your plan?
C. Mary: Did you mean you would go ahead with your plan?

1. In the exchange above, what's the difference in meaning among Mary's replies?
2. When is one most appropriate than the others?
3. Which is most likely said by a native speaker in a casual conversation?

E. Did you mean it's not sure yet if it will happen?

F. Did you mean it's not sure yet if it would happen?

G. Did you mean it wasn't sure yet if it would happen?

4. Also, suppose the below are immediate responses in an exchange, which is most natural?

5. Is it correct to position 'yet' after 'sure' above?
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John: I won't back out. -- in conversation contractions are usually used (except when words are specially emphasised).

A. Mary: Do you mean you'll go ahead with your plan? -- this is natural. Again, note the contraction.

B. Mary: Did you mean you'll go ahead with your plan? -- "did you mean" would normally seem too far back in time to relate to something said seconds ago.

C. Mary: Did you mean you would go ahead with your plan? -- ditto, plus no obvious reason to use "would" in an immediate response of this nature.

E. Did you mean it's not sure yet if it will happen?

F. Did you mean it's not sure yet if it would happen?

G. Did you mean it wasn't sure yet if it would happen?

Same as before. If these are immediate responses then "did you mean" is not usual. There also seems no reason to use "would". You can say "Do you mean it's not sure yet if it will happen?". "it's not sure yet" is passable in conversation, but seems slightly iffy to me in more formal English. You could say "it's not certain yet". In other contexts, such as "I'm not sure yet", the words "not sure yet" are fine.
Thanks, Mr Wordy, for your response. That was really helpful. I see in an immediate response, 'do you mean' is more natural.

Suppose I change the word 'mean' to 'say' in the original examples, will the answers still be the same? If not, which is most natural? I usually hear 'did you say' from native speakers, although I'm not sure if it was an immediate response like seconds ago.

John: I will go ahead with my plan.

A. Mary: Do you say you'll go ahead with your plan?
B. Mary: Did you say you'll go ahead with your plan?
C. Mary: Did you say you would go ahead with your plan?

E. Did you say it's not sure yet if it will happen?

F. Did you say it's not sure yet if it would happen?

G. Did you say it wasn't sure yet if it would happen?

Also, suppose the response was minutes ago, would there be a difference in meaning between B and C (where other verbs regressed with 'did say'), and also between F and G?

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I forgot to mention in my previous reply that "did you mean" can also be used as a "softer" or more polite version of "do you mean", rather than as a purely time-related tense change. This doesn't affect the main point that "do you mean" is more usual in your scenario, however.
AnonymousJohn: I will go ahead with my plan.
A. Mary: Do you say you'll go ahead with your plan?
B. Mary: Did you say you'll go ahead with your plan?
C. Mary: Did you say you would go ahead with your plan?
John would normally say "I'll go ahead with my plan", unless the word "will" is being emphasised.

As an immediate response, B and C sound like Mary wasn't paying attention or did not hear well and is asking John to repeat what he said. A doesn't seem very likely.

If Mary is asking about about a statement that John made a while ago, or did not make in Mary's presence, then B and C are both OK, with little difference in meaning. A is also possible but is less usual and to me seems more casual.
AnonymousE. Did you say it's not sure yet if it will happen?
F. Did you say it's not sure yet if it would happen?
G. Did you say it wasn't sure yet if it would happen?
Again, if Mary is asking about about a statement that John made a while ago, or did not make in Mary's presence, then E and G are OK. F doesn't seem quite right to me.
Thanks so much, Mr Wordy, for your response. You've answered and explained well everything I wanted to know.

John: I'll go ahead with my plan.
B. Mary: Did you say you'll go ahead with your plan?
C. Mary: Did you say you would go ahead with your plan?


Just a couple of questions more, I understand 'would go' in C is the result of regression with the verb 'did say'. You mentioned there's a little difference in meaning between B and C.

1. As an immediate response, what's the little difference in meaning?
2. As a response asking about a statement made by John a while ago or not made in Mary's presence, what's the difference in meaning?

I'm sorry to go back to my earlier question about "do/did you mean". Since you mentioned about John's statement being made a while ago or not being made in Mary's presence, I was wondering what would be the correct response in this case for the following:

John: I won't back out.

A. Mary: Do you mean you'll go ahead with your plan?
B. Mary: Did you mean you'll go ahead with your plan?
C. Mary: Did you mean you would go ahead with your plan?

Assume Mary's response was not made immediately or Mary refers back to what John said earlier, which above would be a possible response?
Again, what would be the little difference between the possible responses?

Thank you in advance for your help and your patience.
AnonymousB. Mary: Did you say you'll go ahead with your plan?
C. Mary: Did you say you would go ahead with your plan?

Just a couple of questions more, I understand 'would go' in C is the result of regression with the verb 'did say'. You mentioned there's a little difference in meaning between B and C.
I didn't say "a little difference", I said "little difference", which means not a significant difference. I am assuming that the plan and its consequences are still in the future when Mary speaks.
AnonymousI'm sorry to go back to my earlier question about "do/did you mean". Since you mentioned about John's statement being made a while ago or not being made in Mary's presence, I was wondering what would be the correct response in this case for the following:

John: I won't back out.
A. Mary: Do you mean you'll go ahead with your plan?
B. Mary: Did you mean you'll go ahead with your plan?
C. Mary: Did you mean you would go ahead with your plan?
On the face of it, B and C seem most likely, again with little difference in meaning. However, it seems unlikely that Mary would open a new conversation with any of these questions. Some context-setting would normally have already taken place, and this may permit A to follow.
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Thanks, Mr Wordy, for that clarification. All is clear to me now. That was really helpful.
Mr WordyI didn't say "a little difference", I said "little difference", which means not a significant difference.
Incidentally, let me take this opportunity to ask for clarification about this, if I may.

There's little difference. (= not a significant difference)

There's a little difference. (Does this mean the difference is rather significant in contrast to the sentence above with no 'a'? If so, I think it contradicts the idea of being little which makes me confused.

In the first sentence, I think 'difference' is an uncountable noun.
In the second sentence, I think 'difference is a countable noun.
With the change in meaning, therefore, how a word was used whether countable or uncountable affects the meaning. Would you agree?
Yes, "little" by itself emphasises the smallness of the amount. In contrast, "a little" emphasises some (albeit not a large amount).
AnonymousIn the first sentence, I think 'difference' is an uncountable noun.
In the second sentence, I think 'difference is a countable noun.
To me, it seems like it's uncountable in both cases. There's no problem with using "a little" with an uncountable noun, as you can see, for example, in "a little information", where "information" can never be countable.
I didn't realise about the difference between 'a little' and 'little' until you explained it. Thank you so much for that clarification.

By the way, since there's little difference between B and C, which is commonly spoken by British native speakers? I'm actually new to the UK.

B. Mary: Did you mean you'll go ahead with your plan?
C. Mary: Did you mean you would go ahead with your plan?
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