Given a yes-no question such as:

Did you call him?

Is it idiomatic to simply answer:

Yes. / No.

As opposed to:

Yes, I did. / No, I didn't.

or just:

I did. / I didn't.

I've noticed that in some languages simply answering yes or no seems to be the common unmarked way of answering (e.g. Spanish), but not in others (e.g. Portuguese).

  • 2
    It depends entirely on the situation and the person answering.
    – Hot Licks
    Jan 11, 2016 at 3:50

2 Answers 2


Yes. just on its own can sound very abrupt. I would not use it like that with a superior or client. To answer with one word and not continue the conversation is awkward. It's not really the yes on its own, but rather the silence afterwards. Yes, blah blah details blah would be more normal.

To a client or superior, I would say Yes, I did. if I had no more detail to give.

To a peer, or in an informal context, I would say yup or ja, both accepted variations on yes for my area.


All three variations are natural and grammatical. By itself, though, "yes" can seem too brusque to a listener or reader.

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