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I have a one
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2013/01/28
4:31am
Raffee
Iran
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Till yesterday when I came to doubt it, if anyone would ask something like ‘Does anyone of you have a pair of these type of shoes?”, and I did, I would answer, “Yes, I have a one“. I think I also have encountered it in others’ speech, in a way that ensured me it was right, but yesterday I thought to myself maybe it was an Interlanguage production. Why not just say, “Yes, I have one”. So, what do you say about it?

2013/01/28
7:38am
Dick
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I believe that to answer, “Yes, I have one” would be correct but it may lead to confusion. Saying,”yes” tells the questioner that you have what they need but when you say,”one” they would start to wonder if you have one pair or one shoe. Of course if you only have one shoe, you wouldn’t have said, “yes” to begin with so you must mean one pair. Logic would lead to understanding but I think most people would go through this mental gymnastic process before they understood.

My dad would give an answer like this to intentionally confuse and make people think about what they just said. For example if he just got a new shirt and someone asked him, “Didn’t you get a new shirt?” he would say, “No, I did.”  If he really wanted to confuse, he would just say, “No.”  So you can see, speaking technically correctly  does not always get the true meaning across. I will also say that to give an answer like this requires a very quick mind and to understand it requires an even quicker mind.

2013/01/28
7:57am
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I would probably just say, “Yes, I have a pair.” There is no confusion with that one.

Emmett

2013/01/28
9:16am
Glenn
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I agree with both Dick and Emmett. I would probably use either what Emmett said or what Dick said. In spite of the potential confusion, I agree with Dick that the normal reading would be that the “one” refers to one pair of shoes, rather than to one shoe.

You almost never hear the phrase “a one.” One context is talking about the digit or number, such as on a scoreboard. “In golf, a one is better than a three.” “A one is sometimes written as a simple vertical line, and sometimes with a horizontal line at the bottom.” Another context is when the preceding context requires an “a,” such as “I’ve never seen such a one as this!” A third context is where one is in an adjective phrase “This is a one-time deal.” “She is a one-year-old genius.”

Regarding Dick’s dad and his wit, the normal affirmative reply to a negative question anticipating a particular response is “yes” and not “no.” (“Didn’t you get a new shirt?” “You got a new shirt, didn’t you?” “You didn’t get a new shirt, did you?”) This is despite the fact that the verb is in the negative form, or there are two conflicting verbs. Some languages have a special word for the “yes” in this context, such as the French “si” in place of the typical “oui” for yes. So dad wasn’t really speaking technically correct, but he was being funny, playing with language, and taking full advantage to maximize the awkwardness of a situation.

2013/01/30
6:04am
Raffee
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FWIW, we have ‘cheraa’ in Persian, which is the equivalent of ‘si’ in French.

2013/01/31
8:41am
RobertB
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Glenn said … the normal affirmative reply to a negative question anticipating a particular response is “yes” and not “no.” 

Surprising to me. I have always used, and heard, ‘no’ as preceding or implying ‘do not’ or ‘be not’ whatever the form of the question. Always thought this a virtue of English speech- minimize misunderstanding.
 

 

2013/01/31
10:26am
Glenn
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I think we are saying the same thing, although I only addressed the affirmative. In English, despite the form of the question, if the reply verb would be positive, then we say “Yes.” Likewise, if the reply verb would be negated, then we say “No.”

Did you get a new shirt?
Yes (I got a new shirt).
No (I didn’t get a new shirt).

Didn’t you get a new shirt?
Yes (I got a new shirt).
No (I didn’t get a new shirt).

You got a new shirt, didn’t you?
Yes (I got a new shirt).
No (I didn’t get a new shirt).

You didn’t get a new shirt, did you?
Yes (I got a new shirt).
No (I didn’t get a new shirt).

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