Two ways to say yes (or more?)

What's the difference between hai and ee? :)

August 30, 2017


はい hai: yes (polite)

ええ ee: yes (polite, colloquial)

うん un: yeah (not polite, colloquial)

そう sou: yes, like that


August 30, 2017

And sometimes, remember that Hai doesn't necessarily mean 'Yes'. Sometimes, it means 'I heard what you said, and I may not agree but want to at least acknowledge that I heard what you said.'

August 30, 2017

Same applies to ええ  or うん. It's a foible of Japanese pragmatics that when someone is explaining something taking a paragraph or more, you are supposed to encourage the speaker by saying some form of "yes" every 1-2 sentences or so.

This said, in most situations, periodic grunts usually suffice to keep a conversation moving along smoothly (especially if you are a foreigner).

August 31, 2017
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