Bloody Well Write

January 7, 2009

You betcha

Filed under: grammar,Jajo — bloodywellwrite @ 10:58 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

It’s been brought to my attention that there is some confusion around the office about when to use “yea” instead of “yeah” and vice versa. I threw “yay” into the mix, as well. Total anarchy almost ensued.

Here’s my take on the three Y’s.

Yea
Use this if you’re trying to sound like you’re in a courtroom (“Hear ye, hear ye. The yeas have it — free upper-back massages for everyone!”) or if you’re trying your hand at back-in-the-day readings (“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall wear supportive shoes”).

Yeah
This is the lazy — er, offhanded — way of saying “yes.” My mom gave me years of grief for saying “yeah” (“yeow” as she gawkily pronounced it for emphasis), to no avail. I still say it constantly. Doesn’t make it right. I get that. My bad. But unless you’re in the stuffiest of situations, such as suffering through a job interview (and it’s up to you to judge the stuffiness of the interviewer) or giving a political acceptance speech to your constituency (not à la “Is you is or is you ain’t my constituency?”), “yeah” is perfectly acceptable.

Yay
This is the exclamatory way to say, “Right on!” “That’s what I’m talkin’ ‘bout!” “Woohoo!” “Flippin’ genius!” or “Oh, snap!” You get the drift.

As an aside, it’s the nature of the English language to be completely difficult to comprehend. For every rule, there seems to be 18 different exceptions. So goes it for the 3 Y’s.

Think about the “yea” definition I provided. If it’s “The yeas have it,” why is the negative side of that chant “The nays have it”? Why not “The neas have it”? That’s bogus English for you. And I don’t have a reasonable explanation. Irks me to no end. If you happen to know the answer, send it my way.

That’s the end of today’s rant. Yay!

Happy trails!

SAK

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