Friday, September 21, 2007

"No" is the new "yes"

I've recently noticed a pernicious linguistic trend of saying "no" when you really mean "yes." A common usage: "No, I agree with you," in order to say, "Yes, I agree with you."

I've caught myself doing this from time to time. And it's definitely not something isolated to Connecticut residents.

How the heck did this trend get started?

3 comments:

A. Tsai said...

eh? is this your first post that does not have its genesis in a web clipping?

James Choi said...

This too is a pernicious trend I'm trying to put an end to.

Sophist said...

I do it too - I think the "no" comes from an assumption that the other person expects me to disagree. So the "No" is short for, "In fact I do not disagree with you, as you appear to have expected." Followed by an "I agree."

Maybe it comes from conversing too much with contrary, combative people that always expect to be arguing a point!