Amy Nanni, CDFA (SDA NY) dropped me a line about a future Word Nerd post saying, “I have seen many well-educated people write yea when they mean yeah or yay. Though not commonly used in office communications, they are commonly used in conversation and misused in email.” When I told her that’s an awesome suggestion, her response was, “Yay!”
Did she use yay correctly? Yes, she did (she knows better).
When Amy dropped me that line about those three words, I could have responded with something like, “Yeah, well; I don’t know if I have the time to submit another Word Nerd.” But I didn’t. But if I did, what I would have been saying and meant was, “Yes, well; I don’t know if I have the time to submit another Word Nerd.”
For you well-educated people – here’s the skinny on those three words, along with some examples of them in use.
· Yeah is a very casual way of saying Yes.
o If someone asked, “Did you mean to do that?” And the other replied, “Yeah, I meant to do that.”
o If someone said, “You told me you’d have that deliverable ready to send to the client by 3:00 PM on Tuesday.” And the other replied, “Yeah, I did tell you that, but I have a perfectly good excuse for not meeting your deadline. The Graphics Department took a really long lunch and didn’t send me the tables and figures until after 3:00 PM!”
o You pronounce yeah with a short A sound, the same sound as in the word “at.”
· Yea is pretty much used during voting; it’s a yes vote.
o “All those in favor say Yea. All those opposed say Nay.”
o You pronounce yea with a long A sound (rhymes with nay).
o It’s common among texters to text back “Yea” when they mean Yes. (You might even get back “Ya” – yikes!)
· Yay is used when you’re excited or happy about something.
o When Judy told Amy she liked the suggestion, Amy showed her joy by jumping up and down while screaming “Yay!”
o You pronounce yay with a long A sound.
So, yeah [yes], if you want to appear well-educated (Amy would like that), be sure you know when to use yay (are you excited or happy about something?) or yea (are you voting yes on something?).
Amy knows how to use them correctly. Here’s what she said after she reviewed the draft of this Word Nerd: “So yeah, I vote yea and celebrate with a ‘Yay!’”
Judy Beebe, FSDA is a member of the SDA National Membership
Committee and serves as the 2020 Seattle Chapter President.