What's the answer to the question "Shall I...?"?

JuneKid

Member
Chinese
I came across two questions concerning the usage of shall and I was quite confused by the answers.

#1 Shall I buy a cup of tea for you?
There were 4 choices below A. No, you won’t. B. No, you aren’t. C. No, please don’t. D. No, please.
The answer is supposed to be C.
I know A and B are definitely wrong, but what's wrong with D? Does there have to be a "do" in the answer?

#2 Shall I come again tomorrow afternoon? The 4 choices are
A. Yes, please B. Yes, you will C. No, please. D. No, you won’t.
The answer is supposed to be A. (The answer is supposed to be positive or affirmative, so C and D are ruled out)

One thing confuses me is the "do" after the answer "Yes" or "No". I mean, while "Yes, please" works, why can't we just say "No, please." but instead have to use "No, please don't"?
And is "Yes, please do" workable?

BTW, actually when I first saw the questions, I thought all of the answers above were quite weird, then I tried to remember the fixed form or way of answering a "Shall I/we..." question but I failed... Like people say "Yes, I do/ No, I don't" to a "Do you...?" question, so I wonder if there is actually a fixed form of answering like that?
What are some better answers to the two questions above? Because I just think the original answers sound quite weird. :S I myself would perhaps come up with answers like "No, thanks" instead of "No, please don't." >.<

Anyway, would anyone help me with that? Thank you!

 
  • natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    This construction is used for making offers to people. Don't think of them as questions, and I suspect the problem will be reduced. The appropriate response is to accept or refuse the offer. In English, if you just say please on its own, it is understood to be positive. So this sequence is acceptable.

    A: Shall I switch on this light?
    B: Please.

    If you want to reject the offer, you need to say Please don't. Notice that they work without the use of yes or no, but as in your examples, they can certainly be inserted.

    'Yes, please do' is theoretically possible, but it sounds rather greedy, because the do makes it more emphatic. A more polite option would be just to say 'Thank you'.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I came across two questions concerning the usage of shall and I was quite confused by the answers.

    #1 Shall I buy a cup of tea for you?
    There were 4 choices below A. No, you won’t. B. No, you aren’t. C. No, please don’t. D. No, please.
    The answer is supposed to be C.
    I know A and B are definitely wrong, but what's wrong with D? Does there have to be a "do" in the answer?

    #2 Shall I come again tomorrow afternoon? The 4 choices are
    A. Yes, please B. Yes, you will C. No, please. D. No, you won’t.
    The answer is supposed to be A. (The answer is supposed to be positive or affirmative, so C and D are ruled out)

    One thing confuses me is the "do" after the answer "Yes" or "No". I mean, while "Yes, please" works, why can't we just say "No, please." but instead have to use "No, please don't"?
    And is "Yes, please do" workable?
    Welcome to the forum, June! Your questions are logical and understandable. Unfortunately, English is often not logical; often, you're dealing with idiom rather than logic, and it's just a matter of remembering. It gets easier as you become used to the expressions.

    In #1: When we respond to an offer, as when someone is offering a cup of tea, we normally pair "yes" with "please" and "no" with "thank you". These are really short versions of "yes, I would like that, please do" and "no, I don't want any, but thank you for asking". So to a native English speaker, "no, please" sounds a bit strange. Adding the "don't", as in answer (C), makes the intention clear. The more common reply would be "no, thank you"—but among the choices given to you, (C) has to be the only right one.

    As to #2: You seem to realize that (B) and (D) aren't answers to the question but flat statements, predictions of what will happen. That leaves (A) and (C). You say you'd been told that an affirmative answer was wanted, eliminating (C). But even if you had not been thus instructed, the choice between (A) and (C), for a native speaker, would be (A) because it's the idiomatic reply. You also ask if "Yes, please do" would also work. Yes, it would.
     

    JuneKid

    Member
    Chinese
    Welcome to the forum, June! Your questions are logical and understandable. Unfortunately, English is often not logical; often, you're dealing with idiom rather than logic, and it's just a matter of remembering. It gets easier as you become used to the expressions.

    In #1: When we respond to an offer, as when someone is offering a cup of tea, we normally pair "yes" with "please" and "no" with "thank you". These are really short versions of "yes, I would like that, please do" and "no, I don't want any, but thank you for asking". So to a native English speaker, "no, please" sounds a bit strange. Adding the "don't", as in answer (C), makes the intention clear. The more common reply would be "no, thank you"—but among the choices given to you, (C) has to be the only right one.

    As to #2: You seem to realize that (B) and (D) aren't answers to the question but flat statements, predictions of what will happen. That leaves (A) and (C). You say you'd been told that an affirmative answer was wanted, eliminating (C). But even if you had not been thus instructed, the choice between (A) and (C), for a native speaker, would be (A) because it's the idiomatic reply. You also ask if "Yes, please do" would also work. Yes, it would.

    Thank you, Parla! Your answers are helpful! :) (Just after I posted my questions, I realized that "No, please" as a pair is already odd.)

    So the "Yes, please." and "No, thank you." are the common responses to an offer, which means they only apply to "shall" question when it's used to indicate an offer, right? But then, here's another question. :p What about questions like "Shall we go to the mall now?" How should I answer that "shall"? Could it be "Yes, we shall" "No, we shall not"? And can I just replace the "shall" with "should" in a question?

    Thanks again!
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    What about questions like "Shall we go to the mall now?" How should I answer that "shall"? Could it be "Yes, we shall" "No, we shall not"? And can I just replace the "shall" with "should" in a question?

    Thanks again!

    This is an invitation for the group of you to go shopping. You can use your suggestions, but it would be more common to say, 'Yes, let's go', or 'No, let's not go.'
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    So the "Yes, please." and "No, thank you." are the common responses to an offer, which means they only apply to "shall" question when it's used to indicate an offer, right?
    Natkretep has answered your "shall we go to the mall" question. I wanted to add that "yes, please" and "no, thank you" also apply to offerings that are not "shall" questions. Offerings can be phrased in various ways; for example: "Would you like a beer?" "How about another piece of cake?" "Do you need help with that task?"
     

    mikichan

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Hi. Could you tell me how it would sound to a native speaker if I said "Yes, you shall." when someone says "Shall I call a taxi?" Just simply wrong, or arrogant, or puzzling?

    Thank you.
     

    Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    Said by someone who was obviously not a native speaker, it would sound like a mistake. Spoken by a native speaker, it could be arrogant, but it might also just be taken as a joke.
     
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