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I've just started learning Mandarin and I was curious as to when it is appropriate to answer a yes/no question negatively with 沒有. Obviously, if the question involves 有 then it makes sense. However, I understand that

你在做飯嗎?

could also be answered that way as well.

I also understand that questions about being, such as

你是老師嗎?

should be answered instead with 不是。

Is this a general rule? That is, unless the question is about being or state, is it safe to assume that I can respond with 沒有?

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The answer to 你在做飯嗎?is still 是 or 不是 . To answer 有 or 沒有, the question should be 你有做飯嗎?

Example:

  • You see your friend washing vegetable, and ask 你在做飯嗎? (are you cooking dinner?) and his answer could be 是 (yes) or 不是 (no)

  • A wife came home and saw her husband eating pizza, so she asked 你有做飯嗎?(have you cooked dinner?) the answer could be 有 (I have) or 沒有 (I have not)

If the question is 你做飯嗎? (are you cooking (now)?/do you cook (regularly)? ) then you can answer according to the context.

If you mean 'I am not cooking now' then you would say '不是' (no)

If you mean 'I don't cook = 'I haven't been cooking regularly' then you can answer '沒有' (I have not)

  • So, in order to answer with 有 or 沒有, the question should involve 有? – Daniel Walker Jun 16 '20 at 2:32
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    yes, stated clearly or implied clearly – Tang Ho Jun 16 '20 at 2:32
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    For example, you see your co-worker eating store bought sandwich for lunch everyday, and ask '你做飯嗎?' (do you cook?) He can answer '我不做飯' (I don't cook) or 我沒有做飯 (I did not cook/ I have not been cooking) – Tang Ho Jun 16 '20 at 2:40

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