Monday, October 21, 2013

"Yeah-no"

Has anyone noticed this phrase that’s become popular? The phrase “Yeah, no” is interesting to me because it seems to have replaced “no” in a lot of sentences. Instead of, “No, I’m not going to be able to make it,” we say, “Yeah. No, I’m not going to be able to make it.” Or as I hear it “Yeah-no, I’m not going to be able to make it.”
Maybe it's a new way to soften a “no” answer, or maybe the "yeah" is a way to acknowledge that someone has spoken before one gives her/his true response, which is “no." Maybe it's a sign of increasing cultural wishy-washiness. I haven't figured it out, but to maintain the integrity of my statements I'm trying not to use it. "Yeah-no" just sounds confusing to me. (More on this topic here.)

2 comments:

Pusher of Pens said...

When I go for that word choice, it's because the response is definitely going to be 'No', and I am feeling a slight bit of disbelief that the other person would even bother to ask/comment. Although I have been known to use it to soften the blow of what may normally be a resounding, 'Are you fucking kidding me?' (especially when speaking to those that are not familiar with me), I tend to use it more often with a dry or mocking tone. Usually a friend and I are being facetious. Such as:

Friend: 'You know what would go great with those leggings? A plaid turtleneck and jean jacket.'

Me: 'Yeah...no. I prefer not to look like something that stepped out of an 80's B-movie.'

Regina Rodríguez-Martin said...

Thanks, Pusher of Pens. Another friend gave me a similar explanation, so maybe that's it.