expect a negative answer

Discussion in 'English Only' started by VicNicSor, Sep 13, 2017.

  1. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Yet - English Grammar Today - Cambridge Dictionary

    Isn't it a typo?:eek: I mean, it should have been "positive answer", right?
  2. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    It's your text in parentheses that is positive but it should be negative!

    No, he hasn't arrived yet. (He was supposed to be here already but I think he hasn't arrived yet)

    The expectation is that he hasn't arrived and the yet makes that even stronger.
  3. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español
    What is meant is that when we emphasize "yet" it is because we're certain that the answer will be no. I don't know if I would make such a categorical statement.

    It's hard to know where the emphasis is on the printed page.
  4. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    "We expect a negative answer" means we expect to hear "No, Richard hasn't arrived yet."

    But then they say "(I strongly expect that he should have arrived.)"

    And this is a contradiction, it just dosn't make sense:(
  5. SevenDays Senior Member

    Actually, there's no contradiction. We have a strong expectation of something (that he should have arrived) but at the same time we have a strong expectation/fear that the opposite is in fact true (that he hasn't arrived), and it's such a strong fear that we frame the question in a negative way (Hasn't Richard arrived yet?), expecting a negative answer (No, he hasn't). We are human; we can hold two expectations in mind (I don't know if that makes us flawed or awesome). Of course, the answer can always be positive (Richard is here!), in which case we are relieved/surprised.
  6. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    So it's probably based on the fact that if we form the question into the negative form, we expect a "negative answer".

    Thank you everybody!
  7. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    I see a whole lot of things to disagree with on that webpage. :(

    As I see it, a question such as "Hasn't x happened yet?" would normally be asked if the speaker expected x to happen but is now confronted with evidence suggesting it still hasn't. I would not say the speaker expects any particular answer to the question.

    I also would not say the speaker necessarily has any opinion about whether whatever-it-is ought to have happened.

    I am afraid "strongly expect that x should have happened" does not make much sense to me. ("Expect" has to do with the future, but "should have" has to do with the past.)
  8. velisarius

    velisarius Senior Member

    British English (Sussex)
    I don't see any contradiction in what is stated on that Cambridge Dictionary page.

    Hasn't he arrived yet? may express surprise and/or annoyance. He ought to have arrived but it seems to me that he hasn't.

    We expect a negative answer because we have good reason to suspect that he hasn't yet arrived.
    (His car wasn't in the parking lot, he isn't sitting at his desk, etc.)
  9. Vronsky

    Vronsky Senior Member

    Russian - Russia
    These are two different expectations.
    1) expectation of an answer = negative
    2) expectation of an actual event = positive
  10. VicNicSor

    VicNicSor Senior Member

    Thank you everybody !

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