In most cases, we use oui (yes) and non (no) in French the same way as in English.
However, if someone asks you a negative question or makes a negative statement and you want to disagree with it (i.e. answer in the positive) then use si instead of oui.
Here are some examples:
Est-ce que tu parles français? Oui, je parle français.Do you speak French? Yes, I speak French.
Tu ne t'amuses pas? - Si, je m'amuse.Aren't you having a good time? - Yes, I am.
Il n'est pas gentil. - Si, il est gentil.He's not nice. - Yes, he is.
Bref, ce n'est pas important... - Si, c'est important !Anyway, it's not important... - Yes, it is!
Tu n'as pas une clope? - Si.Don't you have a smoke? - Yes I do.
- Use Oui to answer "yes" to positive questions/statements
- Use Si to answer "yes" to negative questions/statements
Note that non is always the same whether you are agreeing or disagreeing:
Est-ce que tu parles français? Non, je ne parle pas français.Do you speak French? No, I don't speak French.
Tu ne parles pas français? - Non, je ne parle pas français.Don't you speak French? - No, I don't speak French.
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