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Conversational Language (#7), by Dennis Oliver

 

 Conversational Language (#7):
Informal Variations on "Yes"

 

Written language and conversational language are often
quite different. In fact, what's normal, common, and
acceptable in spoken language is often considered to be
unacceptable in written language. This is one of several
Hints on some of the differences.

 

Informal Variations on "Yes"

In conversational American English, several variations on
"Yes" are often heard:

Yeah.

The pronunciation for this very informal equivalent for
"Yes" is usually "yow": the vowel is the same as the vowel
in "how" and "cow." Some people also say "yeah" with
a slightly different pronunciation: "yaeh" or "yeh" (with
the vowel sounds of "hat" and "get").

Uh-huh.

This is a casual variation on "Yes." The vowel sound in
both syllables is like the vowel sound in "but" or "hug."

Note: The "h" at the beginning of the second syllable is
very important. Without it, people might understand "No"
instead of "Yes."

Um-hmm.

This is still another casual variation. When saying it, be
sure to pronounce the "h" in the second syllable. Without
the "h," people might understand "No" instead of "Yes."

Yep.

This variation is very casual. It has the same vowel sound
as "step."

 

_______________________________________________

 

Special Notes:

 

1.   The variations above are commonly heard
in casual, friendly conversation, but they
are not normally written (except in very
friendly letters or in comics).
     
2.   It's fine to use these variations on "yes" in
very relaxed conversations with friends, but
they should not be used when polite language
is appropriate. In such situations, any of these
variations might seem disrespectful.
     
3.  

All of these informal variations on "Yes"
are frequently used in one-word answers:

A: Are you tired?

B: Yeah. / Yep. / Uh-huh. / Um-hmm.

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