How to say yes in Japanese – Saying Yes in Japanese

Posted by on April 18, 2019 – Japanese Study

“Yes” and “No” can be the first few words you learn when learning Japanese.

If you are a beginner in learning Japanese, you must have already learned that “はい” (hai) refers to “yes” and “いいえ”(iie) refers to “no“.

Like any other language – “yes” and “no” can be said in many ways in Japanese.

In this Blog, we will learn some of the most common Japanese expressions for saying yes in Japanese.

 

1.はい

Hai

 

はい is interchangeable with the English word “yes”.  It shows a positive agreement to the question asked.

For example:

佐藤さんは先生ですか。

Satou san wa sensei desuka

Is Mr. Sato a teacher?

 

はい, 佐藤さんは先生です。

Hai, Satou san wa sensei desu

Yes. Mr. Satou is a teacher

 

2.ええ

Ee

 

ええ is a relatively less formal way of expressing agreement compared to “はい”.  It can be used to show agreement.  It is also used for giving a short response to the speaker to make a conversation smooth.

For example,

いい財布ですね

ii saifu desune

Such a nice wallet

 

ええ, 兄が買ってくれたのです

Ee, ani ga kattekuretanodesu

yes, my brother bought for me.

 

3.うん

Un

 

うん is a casual expression, it is the most casual way of saying yes. It is mostly used when talking to close friends or someone younger than you.

This expression can only be used when talking to someone you are close to. Use はい when talking to strangers or someone who outranks you.

For example:

もうお昼食べた?

Mou ohiru tabeta?

have you had lunch already?

 

うん, 食べたよ

Un, Tabetayo.

yeah, I have.

 

4.そうですね

Soudesune

 

そうですね is often used when you agree with a statement. Its literal meaning is “so it is, isn’t it?” or “that’s how it is, I think”.

For example,

昨日は寒かったですね

Kinou wa samukatta desune

Yesterday was really cold, wasn’t it?

 

そうですね

Soudesune

yes, it was really cold.

 

そうですねsometime can also be used when you are thinking about the answer to the person whom you are talking to. In this case, it has no literal meaning but buys you time to think about what you are going to say next.

For example,

新しい元号についてどうおもいますか?

Atarashii gengou ni tsuite douomoimasuka

How do you think of the new era name?

 

そうですね, とてもいいと思います

Totemo ii to omoimasu

I think it is great.

 

These are some of the most common ways of saying yes in Japanese, do use them in suitable situations.  If you are interested in learning Japanese, here are some Japanese Courses for beginners offered by Coto Japanese Academy. You can also read other interesting articles written by us.