I'd say (=rather Yes than No?)

meijin

Senior Member
Japanese
Hi, please see the following example conversation (in a face-to-face survey) I made up.

Interviewer: Do you like the McDonald's logo?
Respondent: Well... I'd say I like it.

Interviewer: Are you interested in Japan?
Respondent: Well... I'd say I am.

Is "I'd say" appropriate in the examples? If so, does it mean the same as
"rather Yes than No"?
If not, is there a more idiomatic expression than
"I like it rather than dislike it." or "I'm interested rather than uninterested."?
 
  • PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    "I'd say" usually means "I consider [that]"

    "Well... I'd say I <verb> it." has three forms depending on where the emphasis lies:

    1. "Well... I'd say I <verb> it." -> with the implication that others might disagree but the speaker is agreeing (possibly strongly) This often (but not always) tends to mean that the speaker has given the matter some thought in the past.

    2. "Well... I'd say I <verb> it." is a cautious reply and usually precedes a caveat, or at least a further comment, of some sort. It is usually used to mean that the speaker does <verb> it, but thinks that the question cannot be answered by a simple "yes/no" answer.

    3. "Well... I'd say I <verb> it." this is similar to 2. but the speaker wants to speak further to nuance "<verb>

    All versions can be preceded by an extended pronunciation of "Well" -> the longer to pronunciation, the more doubt, uncertainty, caution, etc. is expressed.



     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    So "I'd say" doesn't convey the meaning or nuance I explained above. Then what idiomatic expression would you use to tell the interviewer that your answer is rather Yes than No?

    Interviewer: Do you like the McDonald's logo?
    Respondent: Well... if it's a choice between like and dislike, I like it. / Well... if I had to say either way, I like it.

    Interviewer: Are you interested in Japan?
    Respondent: Well... if it's a choice between interested and uninterested, I'm interested. / Well... if I had to say either way, I'm interested.

    These versions sound rather awkward to me....
     

    Chasint

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Sometimes speakers use space-filling gambits. They take a deep breath, say 'Hmm...' or "We-e-e-ell"

    In your specific context I see you use an ellipsis to indicate a pause. One possibility is that the speaker hasn't fully decided on the answer and is using a delaying phrase to avoid silence while they think.

    On the other hand it can indicate doubt or that the person is making clear that s/he is expressing a personal opinion.

    E.g

    Doubt
    "Do you like this?"
    "I'm not sure. I'd probably say it's a little too sweet.

    Personal opinion
    "Do you like this?"
    "I'd say it's a little too sweet. (Implication: but that's just my opinion - others might like it that way.)
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    In AE, I'd say (which is a contraction of I would say) means My opinion is. Nothing less, nothing more.

    The actual Yes/No opinion is in the words that follow.

    Note that Americans do not always include the word "Yes" or "No" in a reply. Especially when the reply is agreeing with (or disagreeing with) the question.

    Interviewer: Do you like the McDonald's logo?
    Respondent: Well... I'd say I like it.
    My opinion is: I like it. (I like the McDonald's logo)

    Interviewer: Are you interested in Japan?
    Respondent: Well... I'd say I am.
    My opinion is: I am. (I am interested in Japan)
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I'm sure that's true of all Englishes including AmE. 'I'd say' is in the conditional form, and the omitted condition is 'if I was asked to choose'. The main thing is that this construction introduces some level of distancing. What that distancing actually means can be different according to the situation. Is it reluctance? Is it uncertainty? Is it a weakening of the opinion? Is it to make it sound less definite and less threatening to other people? (All of those have been suggested above.)
     

    You little ripper!

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    I knew the short version of "I'd say I like it." and "I'd say I am." would "I'd say so.", but am I right in understanding that in AuE "I'd" in that example does have the "if I had to say either way" nuance like in BE (but not in AmE)?
    Sorry, meijin, I should have been in bed when I posted that. I actually think it works better after a statement, not a question. :oops:
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Sorry, meijin, I should have been in bed when I posted that. I actually think it works better after a statement, not a question. :oops:
    No problem. :)

    I'm sure that's true of all Englishes including AmE. 'I'd say' is in the conditional form, and the omitted condition is 'if I was asked to choose'. The main thing is that this construction introduces some level of distancing. What that distancing actually means can be different according to the situation. Is it reluctance? Is it uncertainty? Is it a weakening of the opinion? Is it to make it sound less definite and less threatening to other people? (All of those have been suggested above.)
    Thanks for the explanations, natkretep. So, if the speaker wants to clearly convey that meaning, they should use phrases like "If I had to say either way", "If I was asked to choose", instead of "I'd say". Good to know.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I think what I'm trying to say is that I'd say is part of a conditional sequence.

    A sentence like 'I'd like more coffee' makes sense with some implied conditional clause (eg 'If there was more coffee available, I'd like some'). 'I'd like more coffee' (in contrast 'I want more coffee') introduces some distancing. Here, the distancing usually signals pessimism or uncertainty about the availability of coffee - but this is a politeness device.

    'I'd say yes' always signals an implied conditional clause in the same way. The meaning is clear even without explicitly including the conditional clause. What is unclear is the import of the distancing of 'I'd say yes' (in contrast to 'Yes').
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Thanks natkretep. The second paragraph made a lot of sense (and I agree), but the last paragraph was a little too difficult for me to understand.

    Using one of the examples in the original post again, if it was a survey conducted on a social media app (on which the respondents type their answers) instead of a face-to-face interview and if the respondent replied without the "Well..." part, would the reply "I'd say yes" or "I'd say I like it" mean
    "I'm not sure, but if I was asked to choose, I like it" because if he was sure he liked it he would simply reply "Yes." or "I like it." (without "I'd say")?

    Interviewer: Do you like the McDonald's logo?
    Respondent: I'd say yes. / I'd say I like it.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I would understand it as a weaker 'yes'. The issue won't be politeness, and I'd assume the issue is the degree of certainly.
     
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