You’re about to learn 33 different ways to say “yes” in English. Also check out How to Answer “How Are You?” + 9 Interesting Ways to Ask It.
“Yes” is a lovely word, but there are so many different ways to say “yes.”
So why limit yourself?
Why say “yes” all the time when you can say something like “gladly,” “for sure” or even “be my guest”?
We’re going to look at six situations where you might need to say “yes”:
- Say “yes” to a request
- Agree with an opinion
- Say “yes” to an offer
- Confirm a fact
- Give permission
- Say “yes” to a suggestion
Ways to Say Yes in English #1
Say “Yes” to a Request
One of the most common situations where we use the word “yes” is when someone wants us to do something for them.
Maybe it’s at work:
Or at home:
Or it might be a request from a friend:
Whatever it is, there are loads of different ways you can say “yes” to requests.
This is the classic!
This is a very common way of saying “yes” to a request. It does a good job of making everything feel under control.
This one is pretty informal.
This is like “sure,” but a little less formal. It also feels a bit more enthusiastic and gives off a “can-do” positive energy. As a result, it’s pretty popular with Americans.
This is actually an Australian English expression.
We all know that Australians are well known for having a rather relaxed attitude towards life.
And this expression totally captures that unstressed, chilled-out feeling.
Consider it done
This expression says, “I’m a reliable person! You can count on me!”
When you say this, you come across as an efficient person with your life under control.
I’m on it
This one is quite similar to “consider it done.”
When you use it, you’re saying, “I’m totally capable of this. You don’t need to worry.”
I’d be delighted
OK. This one is quite strong in terms of emotional expression.
It should be a response to a big request — usually one with emotional connections.
So it could work if someone asks you to be the godmother for their child, for example.
But it would sound a bit weird if you’re being asked to take out the rubbish.
I’d love to
This is just like “I’d be delighted.”
So remember to use it for situations that are likely to delight you, like looking after your bosses seaside mansion for a week.
Not cleaning his car.
Unless you like cleaning cars, I guess.
“All right” is a nice, neutral expression.
But be careful because it can sound a bit too uninterested.
So if someone’s asking you to do something big, like look after their pet python for two months while they go on a scuba diving holiday in southern Uruguay, then it might seem like you don’t really care too much.
But it’s fine if they’re asking you to open the window for them.
Again, this one is very neutral, but it can show a lack of enthusiasm in some situations.
So, like with “all right,” only use it for boring, everyday tasks, otherwise you might seem insincere.
This is a little old fashioned and light-hearted.
It’s got a nice, calm and positive feeling to it, though.
By all means
When you use this expression, you’re saying, “I’m really happy to help you, and I’m glad that you asked. I like helping you.”
Another classic way of saying “yes.”
But you know this one already, right?
Certainly / Definitely
“Certainly” and “definitely” both mean more or less the same thing.
And when you’re using these in answer to a request, they have a similar meaning to “sure” or “sure thing.”
Just a little less informal.
Very similar to “certainly” or “definitely,” but this one is a little more enthusiastic. It shows that you really want to help.
Informal, familiar and casual.
It can be a nice one to use when you’re with friends and family. It shows familiarity and that you’re comfortable with the other people.
In less casual situations, I’d recommend avoiding it. Just in case.
This is basically the same as “yep.”
Interestingly no one really knows where this word came from, though some theories are quite popular.
One theory is that it came from the USA in the 1830s, when it was fashionable to make jokey, misspelt phrases.
One of these was “Orl Korrect” (meaning “all correct”).
For some reason, people thought this sort of thing was hilarious.
Either way, if the theory is true, this phrase is still with us with “OK.”
Ways to Say Yes in English #2
Agree with an Opinion
Sometimes we don’t say “yes” in order to give information to someone.
Sometimes we just want to say, “I agree with you — let’s share this moment.”
It’s less an exchange of information and more of a bonding experience — a process that brings people closer together.
Maybe you want to talk about a person:
Or maybe you want to complain about how terrible the world is:
It means what it says!
When you really, really agree with what someone says (or you want to pretend that you do), then use this!
This one also shows strong agreement with someone.
It is — It really is / He does — He really does
This one completely depends on what you’re agreeing on.
So if someone says something like, “He goes a bit weird after too much coffee,” then you can agree with, “He does … he really does!”
Why? Because “He goes …” is in the present simple, so you need to use the correct auxiliary verb in your answer (“does”).
What’s an auxiliary verb?Click for details.
You might also know these as “helping verbs.”
In any sentence with a verb in it, the auxiliary is between the subject and the verb.
Usually, you can see it:
He’s eating giraffe soup again.
I can see him!
Sometimes you can’t see it, but it’s there:
I live here. – I (do) live here.
She met him at an elephant factory. – She (did) meet him at an elephant factory.
The easy way to find the auxiliary? Just use the question form – it’ll be the first word of the question:
Is he eating giraffe soup again?
Can you see him?
Do you live here?
Have they even looked at the report?
Did she meet him at an elephant factory?
If someone says something like, “We’ll never get there on time!” you can agree with “We won’t! We really won’t!”
See how it works?
This is a good little phrase that you can use to show agreement without interrupting the other person.
Technically speaking, these little phrases are called “back channels,” and we use them all the time. Other examples of back channels are “mmm” and “mm-hmm” and “ahhh.”
Next time you’re listening to people speaking English, try listening to the sorts of back channels they use — it’s fun. Everyone uses slightly different ones.
This one is strong, but when the person you’re agreeing with says something that you really, really agree with, then it’s time to bring out the big guns and use this one.
“Absolutely” is more or less the same as “totally.”
This one is particularly informal and not very strong.
So use to agree with those little, everyday observations like, “Oh! It’s raining!” or “Titanic was a bit rubbish, wasn’t it?”
“Yeah” is just like “yep,” but feels slightly more friendly.
It’s often said that vowels carry the emotion of a phrase or a sentence, while consonants carry the meaning.
So while “yep” has a short vowel sound and feels quite distant, “yeah” has a long vowel sound and can feel more friendly and human.
My thoughts exactly
It’s a nice phrase, isn’t it?
It basically means “I completely agree with you. You’re right! I think exactly the same way as you!”
Which is nice.
Ways to Say Yes in English #3
Say “Yes” to an Offer
We also sometimes want to say “yes” in order to accept an offer.
It might be someone offering you some lovely food:
It could be someone offering you something fun:
Or it could be something ridiculously generous:
It’s positive! It’s enthusiastic! It’s friendly!
What’s not to like?
This is also rather friendly and enthusiastic.
As we discussed earlier, “yep” is fine, but it can be a little distant and unfriendly. But if you’re comfortable with the person you’re talking to, then it’s OK.
As I mentioned earlier, “yeah” is similar to “yep,” but is more friendly.
And because of that long vowel sound, you can use it to express more emotions.
Simple and to the point.
I’d love to / I’d love some / I’d love one
This is very enthusiastic and shows that you really appreciate whatever it is that you’ve been offered.
But remember: there are different ways to use it.
If someone is offering something that you can do, like “Do you wanna come to mine next weekend? We can play giraffe tennis,” then you probably want to say, “I’d love to!”
But if they’re offering you something physical (usually something you can have), then you’d say “I’d love some!” (for uncountable things, like carrot cake) or “I’d love one!” (for countable things, like a cup of green tea).
If it’s something very specific, like the only sketch of a dog by Picasso in the world, then you’d need to say “I’d love it!”
I like the way this one feels.
It’s like you’re saying, “That’s a good idea! I hadn’t thought of it! Let’s do it!”
Ways to Say Yes in English #4
Confirm a Fact
We also need to say “yes” to let people know that they’ve got something right.
Maybe it’s an interesting fact about yourself:
Or they want to make sure they’ve done something properly:
Or they’re not entirely sure about when you’re planning that massive party on the beach:
Simple and to the point!
Simple, to the point and requires very little effort. It can sound a bit short in some situations.
We talked about this above. While it’s quite informal, this is not the friendliest phrase. But it’s efficient.
Again, this one is like “yep,” but because of the long vowel sound, you can inject more feeling into it.
Try it! There are probably several ways you can say “yeah,” and it could have a slightly different meaning each time depending on how you pronounce the vowel sound (longer, shorter, higher pitched, lower pitched, going up in pitch, going down in pitch, etc.).
Ways to Say Yes in English #5
And what about when someone asks you for something?
You need to say “yes” then (unless you don’t want to give them what they’re asking for).
A classic example is the seat-on-a-train situation:
Or they might want something you have:
Or it could be a “big ask”:
By all means
This one is particularly polite, but I guess in these situations, being polite is a good idea.
We use language to get past those awkward little situations that come from wanting something from someone else.
This one is quite casual — it’s the sort of phrase I’d use if someone wanted to take the seat next to me on the train.
It only works with requests like “Is it OK if I …” — when someone is asking permission to do something, not when they’re asking for something from you.
Be my guest
Nice, isn’t it?
When someone says this to me, I feel completely at ease.
Again — only use this when someone is asking if it’s OK for them to do something or to take something from you.
This word keeps coming up, doesn’t it?
Well, it’s obviously a very useful one.
As mentioned above, be careful with this one.
It could seem a little rude in the wrong situation.
Again, although this can be quite friendly, make sure you’re not in a situation where you need to be very, very polite.
Finally, this one is also a bit like “yep” and “yeah” — it’s rather informal and casual.
If you’re giving permission for something small, like opening the window, then it’s … well … it’s fine.
But if someone wants to take you out to the best restaurant in town, then you might want to sound a bit more enthusiastic.
Unless you really don’t like restaurants. In which case, you could always say “no” instead.
Ways to Say Yes in English #6
Say “Yes” to a Suggestion
Sometimes we want to say “yes” in order to accept a suggestion.
Maybe it’s about what we’re going to have for dinner
Or it could be about what to do:
It’s another simple and efficient word — not too formal, not too informal.
This one isn’t massively enthusiastic but has a nice, agreeable feeling to it.
This one means “That’s a good idea!”
It’s quite enthusiastic and shows that you’re quite strongly interested in the suggestion.
This is more or less the same as “definitely.”
This one is also similar to “absolutely.”
Feel the energy!
Once again — it’s like “totally,” “absolutely” and “definitely.”
Here we are again! With “yep” and “yeah.”
As always, “yep” is a little short … a little impolite. But efficient.
… and “yeah” is also quite informal but could be more friendly depending on how you say it.
This is like “all right” — it’s agreeable but not very enthusiastic.
This is similar to “OK.” Save it for the less exciting things in life.
I’d use it for small suggestions, like “Shall we leave in five minutes?” and not for big ones, like “Why don’t we invest the four thousand in the stock market?”
I’d love to
It’s friendly and shows genuine, positive enthusiasm.
So make sure you don’t use it for small things that don’t really make you feel enthusiastic, like “Let’s do the tax returns now, shall we?”
Unless you’re the sort of person with a sense of irony in their humour. In which case, this could be quite a funny phrase to use.
I like this one.
It kind of says, “Wow! I hadn’t thought of that, but now that you mention it, I think it’s a great idea!”
OK — now you have some new and interesting ways to say “yes” in English.
Can you think of any more?
Yes? Let me know in the comments.