Да нет

Novato veterano

Member
English American
I have asked several people in what context does a person respond Да Нет instead of either Да or Нет and I still don't understand when it is used. Would someone please explain this usage and include some examples. Спасибо огромное!
 
  • Wladimir_Msc

    Member
    Russian - Moscow
    In phrase "да нет" Да is not a particle and doesn't specify the meaning. "Да" can be conjunction here like But, and or then. Я схватил это, да (=но) не так просто было это удержать. Or "Да" can be like an intensive pronoun and doesn't make sense either: Да не может быть! Да ну нет же? — You don't say so! Is that so?
     

    Vadim K

    Senior Member
    Russian - Russia
    I have asked several people in what context does a person respond Да Нет instead of either Да or Нет and I still don't understand when it is used. Would someone please explain this usage and include some examples. Спасибо огромное!
    If somebody tells you something wrong and you are pretty sure that it is wrong you can answer "Да нет" or "Да нет же" and tell another statement after those words. Of course, you also can tell "Нет", not "Да нет", but "Да нет" sounds more Russian in this context. The main difference between "Нет" и "Да нет" here is that when you use "Да нет" you want not only to express your opinion but you also want to convince that your statement is really true.

    For example,

    1.
    A. The wether is fine.
    B (You). "Нет, the wether is not fine.

    Here you express the different opinion ant it will not matter for you if A agrees with you or not.

    2.
    A. The wether is fine.
    B (You). "Да нет (же)", the wether is not fine.

    Here you express the different opinion ant you desire that A will agree with you.

    Hope it helps.
     

    Kirill V.

    Senior Member
    Russian
    The trick here is that да has two quite different meanings.

    1. Да = Yes

    2. Да is a conjunction (= but, and). It is a quite different да. When you see да + нет / не, in such cases да is always a conjunction, and it never means "yes" in such situations.

    - Ты уже собрался? = Have you got ready?
    - Да нет еще. = But no, not yet.


    Мы хотели уехать поездом в 9-30, да не успели. = We wanted to take the 9-30 train, but we were late.
     

    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    Apart from underlining contrast similar to the German doch, it can also surprisingly serve to soften the negation, in which case it's closer to the English well:
    -Тебе жарко?
    -Да нет, не очень.
     

    Descendant

    Member
    Russian
    In general "Да нет" = simply "Нет"
    It may mean some hesitation, doubt or, on the contrary, confindence, depending on the intonation.
    "Будешь обедать? — Да нет, не хочу." (will you be eating? — no, I don't want)
    If "да нет" is pronounced here with a rising intonation, it means that the person refused the proposal after he had hesitated a little. And if it is falling intonation, it implies that the person is fed and do not want to eat any more.
     
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    qu'est-ce que c'est

    Member
    Russian - Russia
    I'm afraid your example can't be translated as "I don't care". Instead, the translation is "not really".
    Also I did not say that the translation of the phrase was “I don't care”. I only communicated the most habitual meaning of this substitution. At least, this meaning is most habitual for my senses: whenever I think of this expression, I recall this meaning. The simple meaning of "no" is not lost either, this is very evident from the above messages, so I did not even mention it. Sorry for any confusion if I caused any. Now, of course you can translate such combinations of meanings in many ways, depending on your task at hand...
    Cheers.
     

    qu'est-ce que c'est

    Member
    Russian - Russia
    Instead, the translation is "not really".
    An afterthought: in the same situation, with my bad English, I would say probably "I don't think so"; now, I don't know whether that sounds all right for the English speakers. But "not really" seems to me off the mark. It means that I need to convince the man I am talking to that in reality I did not do it, which is weird and not fitting the original sense at all: it sounds as if either that guy or I might seek to put my remark to the test, to compare it with the actual reality, while the original message is instead "I don't care, I do not really want to discuss that" (because I am in doubt, because the matter is hardly important, and so on). But of course, only natives would be fine to propose translations of such difficulty.
     

    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    An afterthought: in the same situation, with my bad English, I would say probably "I don't think so"; now, I don't know whether that sounds all right for the English speakers. But "not really" seems to me off the mark. It means that I need to convince the man I am talking to that in reality I did not do it, which is weird and not fitting the original sense at all: it sounds as if either that guy or I might seek to put my remark to the test, to compare it with the actual reality, while the original message is instead "I don't care, I do not really want to discuss that" (because I am in doubt, because the matter is hardly important, and so on). But of course, only natives would be fine to propose translations of such difficulty.
    Your understanding of the expression "not really" is really far off. It has little to do with the notion of reality, instead, it has exactly the same meaning as the Russian "да нет" – that is, of mild negation. Here's another, hopefully more illustrative example:
    -Do you like rap music? -Тебе нравится реп?
    -No, not really. -Да нет, не очень.

    If you wanted to contrast something the other person said to what actually happened, you would use "actually":
    -But you said you liked rap music? -Ты же сказал, что тебе нравится реп.
    -Actually, I didn't. -Вообще-то, я такого не говорил.

    This would be a strong negation instead.

    Furthermore, you're misleading the learners when you say that the message of "да нет" is "I don't care, I do not really want to discuss that" – it certainly isn't. What it is is a mild negation, as I already stated:
    -Ты выходил вчера из дому? -Did you go out yesterday?
    -Да нет, а что? -Not really, why?

    In the above example, "да нет" is absolutely and in no way an attempt to avoid discussion and show lack of interest. It's a negative answer to the question at hand with an undertone of "why are you asking?" In fact, it's here that some juxtaposition between the question and the actual reality can be seen and is likely the source of the English word's usage that was confusing to you:
    Actually, I didn't > Really, I didn't > I didn't, really > Not really

    This is similar to how "да нет" can be turned into a strong, underlining negation by the addition of the intensifying particle "же":
    -Да нет же, я такого не говорил!
    -But I repeat: I never said such a thing!

    The fact that it's a mild negation leads to association with not caring, but not caring is a secondary and context-dependent connotation and is in no way the expression's denotative meaning. Confusing denotative meaning with connotations and personal associations is doing a great disservice to the language learners whom this forum is aimed at.

    p.s.: as for "I don't think so" ("навряд ли"), it expresses doubt, and is only suitable if you really aren't sure whether you went out of your house yesterday, which is a dubious scenario.
     
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    Enquiring Mind

    Senior Member
    English - the Queen's
    Sobakus is admirably dogged in defending his comments, and I think he's right about "not really". The original poster, of course, didn't give a context, and we are in the realm of emotional language, which is heavily dependent on context.
     

    qu'est-ce que c'est

    Member
    Russian - Russia
    Your understanding of the expression "not really" is really far off. It has little to do with the notion of reality, instead, it has exactly the same meaning as the Russian "да нет" – that is, of mild negation.
    Negation cannot, for my rendering, be mild, one either negates or not. "Attenuation" of a negation may be, as a maximum, an imprecise metaphor for other happenings. You see it some other way, apparently, but this topic must be too vast for discussing here, so the best way of dealing with the matter is to see the ideas in their sum, and not in a confrontation.
    Here's another, hopefully more illustrative example:
    -Do you like rap music? -Тебе нравится реп?
    -No, not really. -Да нет, не очень.
    No stands for да нет, not really stands for не очень, exactly as I described: in the Russian phrase, the talker is basing his remark on the perceived believing of that guy who he is talking to and seeks to dissolve it by saying "не очень", i.e. "it's not what you think".

    If you wanted to contrast something the other person said to what actually happened, you would use "actually":
    -But you said you liked rap music? -Ты же сказал, что тебе нравится реп.
    -Actually, I didn't. -Вообще-то, я такого не говорил.
    I see that my description was apt for misinterpretation. No, I did not mean this, I meant what I said just above.
    Furthermore, you're misleading the learners when you say that the message of "да нет" is "I don't care, I do not really want to discuss that" – it certainly isn't.
    I mislead nobody, for I state exactly what I feel. That feeling, in combination with the feelings of other people, gives material for curious people's thought, the topic starter included; deep analysis is not required here, I hope, so trying to beat it out of each other helps no cause. Could you please tone down? Thank you.
    -Ты выходил вчера из дому? -Did you go out yesterday?
    -Да нет, а что? -Not really, why?
    Not really is germane here because of "а что", because, as you say, "а что" adds an overtone to the expression's meaning. The meaning of this overtone is exactly "it's not what you think", i.e. "why do you think that? you should not".
    In the above example, "да нет" is absolutely and in no way an attempt to avoid discussion and show lack of interest.
    This is not an attempt to avoid the discussion indeed, but I also gather that that guy indeed does not want the discussion.
    ... and is in no way the expression's denotative meaning.
    I do not understand such words as "denotative meaning". When I have a certain idea that is to be relied on by my and other people's processes of planning how life should be done, I want to say a word; when I think of a word, I interpret certain ideas in this word that can be relied on. Such ideas as "I do not want to engage in that" or "it's not what you think" certainly have a local influence on the course of one's life.
    Cheers.
     

    qu'est-ce que c'est

    Member
    Russian - Russia
    An update.
    Confusing denotative meaning with connotations and personal associations is doing a great disservice to the language learners whom this forum is aimed at.
    I disagree, whatever you mean by all of those. For the reasons outlined above.
    When one can't know, the only remaining option is to observe...

    By the way, when I signed up to this forum, I read in the agreement that was shown to me that this forum is not aimed at language learners (curious people, in my saying), but at those people who are having well-defined practical troubles. So, strictly speaking, this thread is an exception to the forum's agenda. Of course, this is not my business, just a remark in a reply for your remark.
    p.s.: as for "I don't think so [...], it expresses doubt, and is only suitable if you really aren't sure whether you went out of your house yesterday, which is a dubious scenario.
    Thanks, but I'd prefer such comments from natives. To be sure, I of course don't mean "да нет" said by a human reading out a book, but one said in an alive situation, in which the state of the mind is quite different than when we exchange comments here. In such states of the mind, humans sometimes even say absurd phrases with a purpose.
     
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