A negative question is worded in a way that requires a “no” response for an affirmative answer whereas a “yes” response would give a negative answer. In short, negative questions switch the “yes/no” response order of regular, or positive, questions. Here is an example of a negative question:
Would you mind driving me to my class at The English Island tomorrow?
In this case, a “no” answer would indicate that the person being asked the question would be willing to drive the person asking the question. A “yes” answer would mean that the askee cannot or would mind driving the asker.
To add to the confusion, native English speakers frequently answer negative questions with positive answers. In general, you should always follow your answer to a negative question with an explanation:
No, I don’t mind driving you.
Yes, I do mind. I have an appointment at that time.
You can also omit the “no/yes” entirely and simply give the explanation, especially since a statement like “Yes, I do mind” may be considered rude:
I don’t mind driving you.
Sorry, I have an appointment at that same time.
You can also answer the question as though it were a positive question, so long as you give a clarification:
Sure! I’d be glad to drive you.
Sorry, I can’t drive you. I have an appointment.
To avoid misunderstandings, consider using positive questions instead that express the same though. Here are some examples of how to change a question from negative to positive:
Negative: Aren’t you going to the Atlanta Braves game tomorrow?
Positive: Are you going to the Atlanta Braves game tomorrow?
Negative: Didn’t you get a good grade in that class?
Positive: Did you get a good grade in that class?
Negative: Do you mind if I drink the last Coke?
Positive: May I drink the last Coke?