When choosing a synonym for yes, yeah is probably the first word that comes to mind. However, some people may confuse yea with yeah and use the spellings interchangeably when in fact they are two separate words. Discover when and how to use yea and yeah.
The Difference Between Yea and Yeah
While yea and yeah look similar and have the same meaning, they do not sound alike and are typically used in different contexts. Yea (pronounced yay) comes from the Old English gēa. On the other hand, yeah (pronounced yah) is by far the more common variation and is an informal version of yes.
yea - an old-fashioned way of saying yes used primarily in voting
yeah - informal version of yes
How and When to Use Yea
Yea is a formal, old-fashioned version of yes and is typically only used in voting or if you are writing a period piece. For example:
All in favor, say yea.
I vote yea on the proposal.
The author used yea instead of yes because her book was set in the Middle Ages.
Using Yeah in a Sentence
While yea is formal and rarely used, yeah is standard in everyday conversation and writing.
I asked if he was ready and he said, “Yeah.”
Yeah, I agree.
Oh yeah, I remember that!
What about Yay?
Yea and yay sound alike, making them homophones, but they have different and unrelated meanings. Yay is an exclamation of excitement, triumph or approval. It is also sometimes used to describe a particular or undefined length or degree of something.
Yay! I caught a fish!
The audience cheered “yay” when the team scored a goal.
The plank of wood is about yay long.
How to Remember the Difference
Yea sounds like nay and has the opposite meaning. Nay is a formal, old-fashioned way of saying “no,” and yea is a formal, old-fashioned way of saying “yes.” To remember yeah, recall that it is spelled with an "h."
Explore Words With Two Correct Spellings
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