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what does this English sentence exactly mean ?

 
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Last week, we planned a picnic with a few friends and families.  I offered a ride/carpool to a friend saying "We can drive and if you want to go with us, let me know."  Then I realized he was little hesitating, so I added "If you have other plan, feel free to go ahead with your plan..".  He said "You bet."  Can somebody tell me what does "you bet" mean here ?  Does it mean he did have other plans or what ?  You may ask why I didn't ask himself what it meant that time.  Be honest, I just didn't want to make myself look dumb by letting people feel I couldn't grasp English..
 
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Linwood Hayes wrote:Last week, we planned a picnic with a few friends and families.  I offered a ride/carpool to a friend saying "We can drive and if you want to go with us, let me know."  Then I realized he was little hesitating, so I added "If you have other plan, feel free to go ahead with your plan..".  He said "You bet."  Can somebody tell me what does "you bet" mean here ?  Does it mean he did have other plans or what ?  You may ask why I didn't ask himself what it meant that time.  Be honest, I just didn't want to make myself look dumb by letting people feel I couldn't grasp English..



In general, "You bet," means, "I will do exactly as you requested."

In this case, your friend is saying, "I will indeed feel free to go ahead with any plans that are already in place and not feel obligated to ride with you."
 
Ryan McGuire
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I don't know if it's better form to reply to my own post with additional information or to edit the previous post, so...

Ryan McGuire wrote:In general, "You bet," means, "I will do exactly as you requested."



More explicitly, "You bet," means, "I am so committed to doing exactly what you requested that you can make a bet with someone else that I will do it and you'll have a very good chance of winning the bet."

I don't feel that "You bet" makes a statement one way or the other about whether he had pre-existing plans.  However, if he did have plans, he will feel free to follow through with them as requested.
 
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I think there's a more general meaning of "you bet" that may have nothing to do with any commitment of the speaker: "Yes, absolutely."  It's just a strong "yes" agreeing to whatever was just asked (derived, as Ryan noted, from the idea that the other person can bet on it being true).  If that implies that the speaker is taking on some obligation to ensure that it's true, great.  But it can also apply to situations the speaker has nothing to do with:  "Can I use Java to write a program to generate a Fibonacci series".  "You bet."  
 
Linwood Hayes
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thanks.  so basically by replying "you bet", my friend didn't hint whether he already had some other plan, nor did he hint whether he preferred other plan or taking my ride..  Right ?
English is so interesting and subtle..
 
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I would have taken that as suggesting your friend already had another plan, but it is by no means definite. That is because, “You bet,” followed immediately on, “feel free...” I seem to be in agreement with RG.
 
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The response you bet is not related to having other plans.  It only means that he will let you know if he needs a ride.
 
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"You bet" is shorthand for "You can bet on it". Meaning that it's such a certainty that you could wager money on whether or not they'd show up and feel confident that you'd win the bet.

Pretty much all languages have such constructs, and often their original sources are so old that no one can figure out where they came from. After a while, even the words shift meaning or become obsolete except within those strange expressions.
 
Mike Simmons
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Tim Holloway wrote:"You bet" is shorthand for "You can bet on it". Meaning that it's such a certainty that you could wager money on whether or not they'd show up and feel confident that you'd win the bet.



Well, in this case the thing they're saying "you bet" after is "If you have other plan, feel free to go ahead with your plan..".  So there's not really any commitment there to do anything.  Maybe he meant to agree with the earlier plan (he'll be there, definitely) or maybe not.  The way it was phrased here, we just can't know.
 
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