Do all Your Visitors Speak English as a First Language?

1 comment
Thread Title:
Negative Constructions and Understanding
Thread Description:

I wasn't aware that wmw member buckworks was a copywriting expert on the quite, but this post really got me thinking a little on how we somtimes forget that not everyone speaks English as a first language regardless of what countries your sites target:

We English speakers often use the word "not" or its contractions in ways which
don't actually intend negation. We often stick it into a sentence for emphasis
or rhythm, rather than because we actually mean "NOT". And people respond to
us as if they didn?t hear the ?not?.

# "Why don't we order pizza?"
# "Weren't you at the mall last night?"
# ?Won?t you be my Valentine??

Think hard about this: answering "yes" to the question "Weren't you at the
mall last night?" is affirming a negative (and "no" would be denying it) even
though that's not what the person intended. Most native English speakers don't
hear it that way unless they stop to think about it, though. They'll perceive
what the person meant despite their actual words.

Great stuff...


Don't you just hate it when someone points out your weaknesses?

And I'm not sure whether I should answer yes or no to my own question now!

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.