+0
Can't I begin a sentence with a contraction and have it not seen as entrapping?

i.e. - Don't you want the television off?

My thinking is that if they DO want it off, then the answer would be yes; if they want it left on, the answer should be no. My spouse thinks the opposite.

My husband and I are having a debate about the phrasing of such questions and exactly how to answer them, who is correct?
+0
An interesting oddity!

If I was asked "Don't you love me?" I would probably say "yes", but if asked "Do you not love me?" I would say "no"!
+0
Anonymousi.e. - Don't you want the television off?

My thinking is that if they DO want it off, then the answer would be yes; if they want it left on, the answer should be no. My spouse thinks the opposite.
Hi,
Don't you want the TV off? - I take this to mean "You want the TV off, don't you?", so the answers I give to negative questions are the same I would give to positive ones:
Yes! = I don't want the TV off.
No! = I want it on.
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Comments  
AnonymousCan't I begin a sentence with a contraction and have it not seen as entrapping?

i.e. - Don't you want the television off?

My thinking is that if they DO want it off, then the answer would be yes; if they want it left on, the answer should be no. My spouse thinks the opposite.

My husband and I are having a debate about the phrasing of such questions and exactly how to answer them, who is correct?

Hi,

My thinking is, we can start a sentence with contraction but yours was entrapping in nature. When we say “don’t you want or like …?” we are assuming or imposing on your subject. Example: you have made spaghetti for your friend who you have invited, but he barely touched the food. Out of curiosity, you asked “ Don’t you like my spaghetti ?” With this question, you are entrapping him to give an answer you want to hear.

But if I were a demanding guest, I can say “don’t make spaghetti because I am allergic to tomato”.
Hi,

Can't I begin a sentence with a contraction and have it not seen as entrapping? I'm not sure I'd use the word 'entrapping'. I'd save that for times when you ask your husband, 'Don't you love me?' But anyway, I understand what you mean.

i.e. - Don't you want the television off?

My thinking is that if they DO want it off, then the answer would be yes; if they want it left on, the answer should be no. My spouse thinks the opposite.

My husband and I are having a debate about the phrasing of such questions and exactly how to answer them, who is correct?

Let's consider a positive form first, and then a negative form.

Do you want the TV off? Answer - Yes, I hate TV.

Don't you want the TV off? Logic indicates the negative should be added to both the question and the answer, so the answer should be No, I hate TV.

However, logic isn't everything. I think that in practice native speakers have trouble figuring out the right answer, so we avoid asking questions in that form. If we do get asked such a question, we usually answer in a longer form than just 'yes/no', and ensure that our meaning is clear.

eg Mary: Don't you love me? Tom: Darling, I love you with all my heart, yes, yes, yes!

Best wishes, Clive
 A Cornish Pasty's reply was promoted to an answer.
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
 Kooyeen's reply was promoted to an answer.
Negative questions expect positive answers -- hence, the vague connection with 'entrapment', so you can answer "Yes" or "OK" or "Sure" without explanation. "No" on its own sounds a bit bare -- unexpected -- and even ambiguous. It requires more explanation. "No, because ..."
CJ