Short answers allow us to answer a question quickly and politely.
They are formed like this: Yes/No + Subject + Auxiliary Verb.
Use the auxiliary from the question in the answer.
For example: Do you like Italian food? Yes, I do!
Has Jamie got back to you about the pricing structure yet? No, he hasn’t.
Note: Whilst it is grammatically correct to use the auxiliary +not, for example, “No he has not”, it sounds much more natural to use the contracted form of the auxiliary verb in negative (didn’t, don’t, doesn’t, hasn’t etc.)
Let’s imagine a situation...
Your boss asks: “Did you send those files through to Robert?”
Which answer sounds better:
B) Yes, Sirree!
C) Yes, I sent those files through to Robert.
D) Yes, I did.
Which one did you pick?
Let’s go through the options…
A – A bit too casual.
B – Far too casual!
C – Grammatically correct, but repeating all the information from the question is unnecessary.
D – Great! To the point, polite, and a clear confirmation.
- Remember, you can always add more information afterwards if it’s necessary or relevant! For example: “Yes, I did. He confirmed that he had received it this morning and will get back to us later this week.”
Examples of Short Answers
Are you a good tennis player?
No, I’m not. I prefer badminton.
Have you ever been to Mexico?
Yes, I have. I went last year with my family. It’s a beautiful country!
Do you follow any sports?
Yes, I do. I’m a big football fan!
Do you know if Dawn is going to the after-work drinks tonight?
No, she isn’t. She’s going to see her parents this weekend so she can’t make it unfortunately.