Short Answers

Affirmative short answers to questions are made with ‘Yes + pronoun + auxiliary verb’ / ‘Of course + pronoun + auxiliary’ / ‘Yes, of course’ / ‘Of course’.

  • ‘Could you help me?’ ‘Yes, of course.’
  • ‘Will you wait for me?’ ‘Of course.’
  • ‘Can you speak English?’ ‘Of course, I can.’
  • ‘Do you speak English?’ ‘Yes, I do.’

‘Of course’ is not a polite reply to a statement of fact. It is only used after questions.


‘Could you help me?’ ‘Of course.’
‘It is raining.’ ‘Yes, it is.’ (NOT ‘Of course it is.’)

‘Of course it is’ would be quite rude because it would suggest that the first speaker had said something too obvious.

Negative short answers to affirmative questions are made with ‘No + pronoun + auxiliary + n’t/not’.

Study the following sentences.

  • ‘Can you speak English?’ ‘No, I can’t.’
  • ‘Did she come?’ ‘No, she didn’t.’
  • ‘Will you wait for me?’ ‘No, I won’t.’

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