1. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    Using the word, "Yeah" in dialog?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by bluebell80, Jul 14, 2009.

    What are your feelings on using this common conversational word, "yeah" when writing or reading dialog?

    Does it come off as unnecessary and should be cut?

    Or does it add realism to the conversation?
     
  2. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Would your character say it?

    If so, then sure, use it. If not, then don't.

    In my eyes, it's as simple as that- "yeah" is no different in dialogue to any other word.
     
  3. Skwerly
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    Skwerly Member

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    I agree - if it is integral or even believable that your character would talk like that, go for it by all means! :)
     
  4. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    I use it in my dialogues all the time. I know I've read it used in books. I think as long as it fits with the conversation & the character, then it's appropriate--realistic, even.
     
  5. Anders Backlund
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    Anders Backlund Contributing Member

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    Yeah, why not? ;)
     
  6. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, but you don't want to overdo it with all of the yeah, yeahs. Yes? :p
     
  7. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    LOL... That's interesting. I find the word "yeah," almost distracting most times. Like it could be cut from the sentence to make the dialog more compelling rather than conversational. Sometimes it works, other times it just takes away from the pace of the dialog.
     
  8. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have a friend whose parents don't like her to use the word "yeah"--she has to say "yes" instead. She doesn't write stories, but if she did, she might see it as awkward or distracting to be reading that word in dialogue. Not sure if that's the case w/you.

    I love the word "yeah"--it's natural to the way I talk.
     
  9. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't see why you couldn't use any word in dialogue or even in narrative as long as it's believable.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    "Well, yeah, why the heck wouldn'tcha? Ain't it claasy enough?" she replied. She popped amother stick of gum in her mouth and began chewing it into submission.
     
  11. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    Marina, I do say "Yeah," frequently enough.

    And in Cog's example it works, though the sentence could be read without it and work still with the same effect.

    I'm just weird I guess. :)
     
  12. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Karen O begs to differ...:cool:


    (10 points to anyone who lol's without googling Karen O :p)
     
  13. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    But there were only 2 yeah's. [Yeah, I googled. Sue me. ;D]
     
  14. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    I don't see the issue. What would your character say? Write that.

    It's only profanity or extreme dialects that are 'controversial,' and my response to that is still the same, within reason. Stephen King's characters are the main attraction in his books - the stories, not so much. If he didn't write such excellent dialogue (read: realistic) his stories would be awfully dull. SK can make even a boring character interesting with nothing more than believability.
     
  15. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    I was reading this story on Webook that used "yeah" too often. As long as you don't do that, you're good to go.
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You don't want to overdo ANY verbal tic. But writers, especially newer writers, do it all the time. Most frequently, they overdo swearing.

    "But that's how the guy really talks! He's a firehose of F-bombs."

    That may be, but you will better convey it by understating it. The same goes with yeah, or um, or ah. People overuse them in speech, but the listener tends to filter a lot of them out after a few minutes. If you leave them all in when you write, it actually sounds LESS realistic.

    Writing isn't about mirroring reality in exhaustive detail so much as giving a strong impression of reality.
     
  17. seta
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    seta Contributing Member

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    I've cut out swearing almost altogether in my works. I noticed that many popular works never use swearing at all, so I figure that it's a good rule of thumb.

    "Shoot, it ain't no thing. Just gimme a holler if y'ever need a lift!" Rawley floored the accelerator on his heavy conveyance, spinning the six wheels and kicking up loose gravel.
     
  18. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    Oh, I agree, Cog. That's why I supplied the condition, within reason. That leaves it very subjective, I know, but that's how I think it should be. In the end, a writer must use his own discretion. It's the idea of avoiding a word (in dialogue) altogether, particularly a neutral one like 'yeah', on the grounds that a few people may not like it, that strikes me as more than a little absurd. The more I learn about writing, the more I come to see how every aspect of it is a balancing act.
     
  19. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    Make sure to include plenty of the following also:

    Yupper!
    Yessiree Bob!
    Yes indeedy doo!
    Indeed!
    Uh-huh!
    Sure!
    Affirmative!
    That's thumbs up on that, partner!
    Agreed!
    Uh, huh-huh-huh... uh... Yup!

    If you include enough variations, nobody will notice when your character says "Yeah."

    (Just kidding, of course, but I thought the infinite verbal variations on "Yes" might be funny to explore. Agreed on what the others have said.)
     
  20. Ragnar
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    Ragnar Contributing Member

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    Or just a youth or someone who wants to appear youthful answering a question with yeah.

    "You going to the ball game tomorrow?"
    "Yeah."

    Does it seem cheesy? Well yes but that's because of the question, yeah seems like a perfectly natural reply if you ask me. Some of the friends I know from the states have yet to tell me "yes"
     
  21. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    I say 'yeah' all the time, or 'yep'. . . saying 'yes' would sound stiff and formal where I live, and I already sound like a talking dictionary, according to some.
     
  22. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Exactly. I imagine that would be the same for most places, to be honest.
     

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