Someone does not directly answer a question (and might not technically respond at all) — but still makes him/herself crystal clear. The person who asked the question may then reply "I'll take that as a [yes/no]."
- Non-Answer: when someone directly responds with something so vague it's not an answer at all.
- Mathematician's Answer: when the response is direct and absolutely correct, but is utterly useless anyways.
Anime and Manga
- In Morita-san Wa Mukuchi, the title character, Mayu Morita, never talks, so she's often subjected to this.
Whatcha want? Taiyaki?
(Mayu doesn't respond
Cake? Candy? (Mayu frowns) Miki:
Ice cream? (Mayu's face lights up) Miki:
Chihiro! Mayu said she wants ice cream! Mayu (thinking): How did she know I wanted ice cream?
- In Harry Potter and the Whispering Man Snape took Harry to Hogwarts a week before fourth year started. When Harry showed signs of nausea, the following exchange took place:
Snape: "Is this the first time you have apparated, Potter?"
Harry: "The first time I've what?"
Snape: "I'll take that as a yes."
- In Recovery a suicidally depressed Harry asked Snape "Why?" Snape replied "Why am I here? Or were you asking why I care?" Harry blushed in response to the latter question and Snape said "I'll take it as a yes."
- In Break My Fall, When Red asks Vio (over the phone) if his parents are divorced Vio's response is to hang up on him.
Red knows Vio well enough to know that "no" means "yes". So this must be a yes, whether Vio would like to admit it or not.
- From Pirates of the Caribbean: When Davey Jones asks Norrington "Do you fear death?" Norrington runs Davey Jones through before expiring.
Davy Jones: I'll take that as a "no."
- From Ocean's 11:
Danny: Ten oughta do it, don't you think?
Rusty: [Stares in silence, not looking at Danny]
Danny: You think we need one more?
Danny: You think we need one more.
Danny: All right, we'll get one more.
- In Exterminatus Now, Lothar is fighting some dragons. The others ask Lothar if he'll be okay. They take a dragon's head bouncing off a wall as a "yes".
- In this Black Eye Comics episode, someone flirtatiously asks if the cashier is going to pay for her sandwich. His only "answer" is to give her an irritated look, and she unhappily digs through her purse for money.
- In The Codeless Code, monks will frequently answer a yes or no question with "Wu" or "Null." Either means "I won't answer because you're asking the wrong question."
- In cultures which have been influenced by Confucian ideas, this is the usual way to make a point. Actually spelling out one’s conclusion would seem to be rude or crass, as explaining a joke can seem in American culture. Here is an example:
«Mencius said to King Hsüan of Ch‘i, “Suppose a subject of Your Majesty’s, having entrusted his wife and children to the care of a friend, were to go on a trip to Ch‘u, only to find, upon his return, that his friend had allowed his wife and children to suffer cold and hunger, then what should he do about it?”
“Break with his friend.”
“If the Marshal of the Guards was unable to keep his guards in order, then what should be done about it?”
“Remove him from office.”
“If the whole realm, within the four borders was ill-governed, then what should be done about it?”
The King turned to his attendants and changed the subject.»
– Mencius, IA 6
, tr. D.C. Lau (Harmondsworth, Middlesex; Penguin, 1970) pp. 66-7.