Is there any way you can use the words 'Yes' and 'No' without it being in the context of answering a question?

Both words can be used to answer yes/no questions like 'is X true' or 'are you X'.

Is there any case where you could simply respond with either single word without it being a question?

If you say 'I am X' for example, and someone says 'Yes', that doesn't actually make sense, does it? You'd have to say 'That's true' instead, right?


Sorry, should have been more specific: I mean just 'Yes' or 'No' as a single word sentence. Can you say just 'Yes' or 'No' in response to a non-question and have it make sense?

  • 4
    You know you're expected to include your research, yes?
    – Tushar Raj
    Commented Jun 6, 2015 at 18:26
  • I don't really know what you mean Commented Jun 6, 2015 at 18:27
  • 2
    @TusharRaj was demonstrating that Yes can follow a statement as a tag question all of its own, when it doesn't actually answer a question at all.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Jun 6, 2015 at 18:29
  • @Ambi: Before posting here, you should try to find out the answer using common references. If they fail you, post the links here, tell us why you still need help and we'll be happy to help you.
    – Tushar Raj
    Commented Jun 6, 2015 at 18:29
  • 1
    I sense an disagreement you're having with someone over how to say something (or an imagined controversy). Can you be explicit about what utterances you and you (possibly imagined) adversary are discussing? Give the utterance(s) in question.
    – Mitch
    Commented Jun 6, 2015 at 18:29

3 Answers 3


"Yes" can be used as a confirmatory response; and "No" can indicate disagreement.

You are Lobby Lud and I claim my five pounds.
Yes. Here it is.

I'm going out and won't be back till midnight.
Eleven o'clock?
Ten-thirty, then.

  • 2
    No can also be used as an exclaimation, of course, an imperative prohibition ("No!" to a dog or young child, for example) or of disappointed realisation ("Nooooooooooooooo!" as a Hollywood villain meets their doom).
    – Dan
    Commented Aug 14, 2015 at 16:59

Just FTR it's completely commonplace to use "Yes" or "No" as an exclamation.

So, not in response to any other words, and indeed even if there is nobody else there, you may say "Yes!" when you (say) come across something good. You may say "No!" if you, perhaps, accidentally break something.

  • I think FTR (for the record) should be spelled out. Not everyone is familiar with these abbreviations the first time round (FTR). Ha!
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jun 7, 2015 at 5:13
  • every living human, err on the internet, knows that FTR stands for for the record!
    – Fattie
    Commented Jun 7, 2015 at 5:14

Yes. Both are used to 'echo' the sentiments of the previous speaker. "It's a lovely day today!" "Yes".
"He shouldn't be kicking that animal." "No." "This tastes like xxxxxx". "Yeah".

It's a way to keep the conversation kicking along and show sympathy, support or agreement. I suppose there is an implied reflexive question in the first utterances ("isn't it?", and "should he?" and "doesn't it") but this doesn't have to be implied in the tone. If the second person doesn't respond with the appropriate yes or no, they might be seen as sullen, dull, unco-operative or even disagreeing with the statement, or perhaps just shy. The relationship between the speakers would also influence whether the implied question is voiced. Assertive speakers do not solicit agreement, but they expect it anyway.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.