OK, pet peeve time. Brace yourselves.

I constantly see people writing the following on blogs, tweets, notes, or statuses: yeah, yea and yay. I’m offering this simple blog post as my contribution to a world gone mad in the affirmative exclamation arena in an attempt not to be negative but to set the record straight.

Here are the proper pronunciations and definitions of yeah, yea and yay:

  • Yeah (yay-uh, but said quickly): This is when you’re in agreement with someone.
    “Are you really going to do that?”
  • Yea (yay): Should rarely be used. It is for voting or Robert’s Rules of Orders.
    “All in favor, indicate with yea. All opposed, indicate with nay.”
    Or it can also be used in formal English to introduce a thought.
    “Yea, I forsee that I will journey to America and forsooth, I shall sail.”
    It is not, I repeat, not, to be used as a simple affirmative. That is the place for yeah as mentioned above.
  • Yay: Though it sounds like you’re voting, the intensity of this exclamation marks it as one that is used for joy and enthusiam.
    “Yay! The Arkansas Razorbacks are strong contenders to win the SEC in football this year!”
So… for all you positive thinkers but terrible spellers out there, can we vote on these officially? “Yay! I’m glad to vote yea, and yeah, I’m glad that’s settled.”


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