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It's said that the adverbs of frequency should be placed before Be verb or helping verb when occurring in the short-form answer. However, these negative answers don't seem right to me. Therefore, I would like to know whether or not the following short-form answers are grammatically correct. If not, please show me the right answer. Thank you in advance.

Q1. Do you always go to school by bus?
=> No, I always don't.

Q2. Do you usually go to school early?
=> No, I usually don't.

Q3. Is your sister often late for school?
=> No, she often isn't.

Q4. Do you sometimes go to a movie on weekends?
=> No, I sometimes don't.
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AnonymousIt's said that the adverbs of frequency should be placed before Be verb or helping verb when occurring in the short-form answer. However, these negative answers don't seem right to me. Therefore, I would like to know whether or not the following short-form answers are grammatically correct. If not, please show me the right answer. Thank you in advance.

Q1. Do you always go to school by bus?
=> No, I always don't. No, I never do. No, I usually don't. No, I seldom do. No, I often don't.

Q2. Do you usually go to school early?
=> No, I usually don't. Okay. (same set as above)

Q3. Is your sister often late for school?
=> No, she often isn't. No. She's usually not. She usually isn't. No, not usually. No, not often.

Q4. Do you sometimes go to a movie on weekends?
=> No, I sometimes don't. This is not exactly wrong, but would be rare. (This would be an acceptable answer for "Do you always go to a movie on weekends? / Use the same set as in numbers one and two.)

Edit. #1 is grammatically correct, but not idiomatic. (Well, it could be a smart alec answer.)

#3 is grammatically correct, but logically incorrect. (The answer could also be, "Yes, she often isn't. - True, but perhaps absurd.)

Hi, Avangi,

Thank you very much for your help.
But I still have some questions.
Can "No, she seldom is" be used for #3?
If yes, why is "No, she often isn't" logically incorrect?
Isn't "seldom" equal to "not often" and "not usually"?

Besides, according to your answers, can I use "No, Subject usually Vn't" for most of the negative short-form answers like these?

Thank you in advance.

Ihsuan
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<< Can "No, she seldom is" be used for #3? >>
Technically, it can; but it's not idiomatic. To use it in this way would be rude, implying that the questioner has asked the wrong question.
If this exchange occurred between good friends, it would be an attempt at humor, or a case of the respondent being a "smart ass," or "smart alec."

<< If yes, why is "No, she often isn't" logically incorrect? >>
It's logically correct in the sense of "mathmatically correct."
If she's "often late," technically, she could also be "always late." They're not mutually exclusive in the technical sense. But they would be in terms of idiomatic usage.
In terms of common usage, if she's often late, then it follows that she's often on time. The normal answer could be, "Yes. But she often isn't."
The illogical thing is saying, "No. But she often isn't."

<< Isn't "seldom" equal to "not often" and "not usually"? >>

They are equal in implication, but when you substitute a negative term for a positive term, you impose certain syntactical limitations.

<< Besides, according to your answers, can I use "No, Subject usually Vn't" for most of the negative short-form answers like these? >>

In most cases, you may.

Best regards, - A.
Hi Avangi,

Thank you again for your help. I think I understand what you've explained except the following:

In terms of common usage, if she's often late, then it follows that she's often on time.

The normal answer could be, "Yes. But she often isn't."

The illogical thing is saying, "No. But she often isn't."

The above sentences don't make sense to me. Do they have something to do with partial negation? If yes, maybe it's the reason why I can't figure them out. Or, it's because of the idiomatic expression...XXD

Again, thank you for your answer. It helps a lot.

Ihsuan
Hi, Ihsuan,
Thanks for registering, and welcome to EF! [<:o)]

I can imagine what "partial negation" is, but you're probably getting it out of an ESL manual, and I don't want to assume anything. But I'm sure the answer to your question is "yes."

When you say, "Your sister is often late for school," I suppose that would be "partial affirmation."

If we may switch to an image which everyone knows and loves, "The glass is half full." Let's call this "partial affirmation."
On the other hand, "The glass is half empty." Let's call this "partial negation."

Should we say that "full" is a positive word and "empty" is a negative word? I'm not sure, but I don't think so.

If we say "The glass is partially full," is this "partial negation" or "partial affirmation"?

How about "Somewhat full"?

You can drive yourself nutz with these questions.

If Jack believes the glass is half full, and Jill believes it's half empty, what is the correct reply to the question?

Jack: "Is the glass half full?"
Jill: "No. It's half empty." OR "Yes. It's half empty."

It's your choice of "yes" and "no" which I'm objecting to in the example you're asking about.

Both statements are true, but only one is idiomatic.

Perhaps I'm wrong to say that the second choice is illogical. Math logic and language logic are sometimes out of tune with each other.

"Is your sister often late for school?"

"No. She's sometimes on time."

This is not idiomatic, because being sometimes on time in no way contradicts being often late.
"No" is only appropriate when you disagree with the statement.

If you wish to defend your sister, you could say, "Yes. But she's sometimes on time."
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Hi, Avangi,

Thank you for your explanation.
I guess I understand what you're trying to tell me.

As what you said, the term of "partial negation" is out of my grammar book. For example: All the movies are not worth seeing. It means only some of them are not worth seeing. But to a non-native speaker like me, without the term of partial negation, I will probably think "none of them is worth seeing. "

Q1: Is your sister often late for school?
=> Yes, she often is. (o)
=> No, she often isn't. (x)

Q2: Was your sister late for school yesterday?
=> Yes, she was. (o)
=> No, she wasn't. (o)

Why is the negative short-term answer unacceptable in #1?
Even if I know "often with not will make a partial negaion", I can't see anything wrong in its meaning. How to think like a native is my problem now. I guess I need to expose myself to English more often. :- )

By the way, today is an important holiday, Mid-Autumn Festival, in Taiwan. It's a time for members of family to get together, celebrate and enjoy the beautiful moon. (It's said that the moon is at its fullest and roundest in this day) I would like to wish you a Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!! Emotion: smile
Many thanks. I wish you the same.

<< As what you said, the term of "partial negation" is out of my grammar book. For example: All the movies are not worth seeing. It means only some of them are not worth seeing. But to a non-native speaker like me, without the term of partial negation, I will probably think "none of them is worth seeing. " >>
This is a hard one, but I must disagree with your book, and say that my interpretation of the example is the same as yours.
If a native speaker wishes to say that only some of the movies are worth seeing, he will say, "Not all the movies are worth seeing," OR "Only a few of the movies are worth seeing." There's absolutely no "mathmetical" difference between the two "not" sentences we're comparing here, but the meaning is quite different to a native speaker.
Of course, I can't say that no native speaker will ever say "All the movies are not worth seeing," and mean to say that some are worth seeing. We have many poorly educated native speakers in the US, and sometimes you find regional differences in interpretation.

<< Q1: Is your sister often late for school?
=> Yes, she often is. (o)
=> No, she often isn't. (x)


Why is the negative short-term answer unacceptable in #1? >>

As I've said, I object to the "No."
"No" is only used to disagree with, or contradict the prior proposal.
The statement "She often isn't" is perfectly compatible with the idea that she's often late for school.
Is she often late for school? Yes!
Is she often not late for school? Yes!

To a native speaker, there's a huge difference between:
a. She's not often late for school, AND
b. She's often not late for school.

Think:
a. It does not often happen that she's late for school.
b. It often happens that she's not late for school.

By changing the position of "not" in the sentence, you change what it modifies, or what it "negates."
"not often" negates "often"
"not late" negates "late."

Emotion: smile Do you really feel that these have the same meaning?
Hi, Avangi,

Many thanks for your further explanation. I guess I know how to express myself much better now.

Is she often late for school?

Yes, she is often late for school. (Long answer)

=> Yes, she is (often late for school.)

=> Yes, she often is. (Short answer)

My grammar book says “put the adverbs of frequency before be verb or helping verb when occurring in a short-form answer.” And I regard it as an emphasis to change the word order.” For example:

I sometimes go to a movie on weekends. => Sometimes I go to a movie on weekends.

I will come again next week. => Next week I will come again.

Likewise: Is she often late for school?

=> No, she is not often late for school. =>A

=> No, she is not (often late for school.)

=> No, she often isn’t. =>B

In fact, I was wondering why “No, not often” is acceptable, while “No, she often isn’t” is unacceptable. If “A” is incorrect, of course “B” will be incorrect. But according to your examples, “A” can’t be wrong because “not” negates “often”. But if only “B” is incorrect, then it is the word order that makes it incorrect. If so, it still makes me confused. How about “No, she usually isn’t”? Why is it acceptable?

Besides, when referring to the position of “not” and which part it modifies, at first sight, I can tell the differences between the following sentences. But after looking them a little bit harder, I think the whole meaning of both sentences is almost the same.

a. She's not often late for school.

=> “often” modifies “late”; “not” modifies “often late.”

b. She's often not late for school.

=> “not” modifies “late”; “often” modifies “not late.”

Maybe (b) implies more positive meaning, but I think the frequencies of both sentences should be almost the same.

The statement "She often isn't" is perfectly compatible with the idea that she's often late for school.

Is she often late for school? Yes!

Is she often not late for school? Yes!

I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I really can’t understand the above sentences at all. As you’ve said, “no” is used when disagreeing with a statement of an interrogative sentence; on the other hand, “yes” is used to agree with. Accordingly, “Yes, she often isn’t” is very strange to me.

As for the partial negation, it’s said that the following sentences have the same meaning.

= > All the movies are not worth seeing.

= > Not all the movies are worth seeing.

I surfed this website earlier. It seems some people agree with it, but some don’t. If you want to have a look on this subject, please refer to #261587, #48732.

Thank you very much for your reply. It must have taken you much time.

Best wishes, Emotion: smile

Ihsuan
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