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Short answers and Short Forms

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Answering a question with ‘yes’ or ‘no’ may sometimes be considered impolite; It might give the impression that the person answering is not really interested in replying.
Here are some examples of short answers. We usually repeat the words that come first in the verb phrase.

Lesson by Tristan, teacher at EC Malta. Learn English in Malta

Can you give me an answer by tomorrow? "Yes, I can./No, I can’t."
Do you like skiing? "Yes, I do./No, I don’t."
Have you started Tango lessons yet? "Yes, I have./No, I haven’t"
However:
Have you started Tango lessons yet? "No, not yet. (is also possible)"

Modal Verbs

With modal verbs we change the modal verb depending on the situation and meaning:
Will you come to the party?  "Yes, we might. (we’re not sure.) / Yes, we are. (coming to the party)"

With 'Think'

Do you think they’ll like the show?  "Yes, I think they will. / They might not."

With verbs like; think, suppose, expect, hope, imagine, expect we use ‘so’ or ‘not’ in the answer.

Can you give me an answer by tomorrow? "I hope so. I think so. I expect so."
Does he like skiing? "I imagine so."
Do you think it’ll rain tomorrow? "I hope not."
Do you think he was upset?  "I don’t think so."

Short Answers

Short answers can have adverbials like probably, maybe, possibly.
Do you think he was upset? "Yes, probably. Probably not."

Short answers when agreeing or disagreeing.
We can use short answers when we agree or disagree. Again we usually use the first part of the verb phrase.
It’s a great story. "Yes it is."
They might have got stuck in traffic. "Yes, they might."
They will be arriving in the morning. "No, they won’t. They’ll get here in the afternoon."

Auxiliary Verb 'Do'

We use the auxiliary ‘do’ to agree or disagree.
He plays the violin so well.  "Yes, he does."
Marc lives in Paris. "No, he doesn’t. He lives in Rome."
They all enjoyed the party. "Yes, they did."

Choose the correct form for the following:

  • 1) Do you like travelling?




  • 2) Have you spoken to Paul about the problem?




  • 3) Do you think they will arrive in time?




  • 4) Do you think the trip will be long?




  • 5) Did it rain when you were in London?




  • 6) Do you think it will be bad weather tomorrow?




  • 7) The French all speak English.