Yea, Yay, and Yeah

Have you ever noticed people saying “yea” when they mean “yeah”? Me, neither. When people speak, they generally use the correct words to express themselves. When people write, however, something breaks down in the brains of some people.

I swear that happens.

I know this, because I’ve even seen close relatives of mine, who I know are well educated, write “yea” (pronounced yay) when they mean “yeah” (pronounced ya-uh). It’s really irritating.

While “yea” and “yeah” are both forms of saying “yes,” the former is used almost always in relation to voting. “Yea” for yes; “nay” for no. It’s kind of formal, when you think about it, especially when you consider this is also another way to say “indeed.”

“Yeah” is decidedly not formal. It’s an informal way of saying “yes,” and if you’re American, you tend to almost always say “yeah,” even in formal occasions. Also irritating.

“Yay,” on the other hand, doesn’t mean “yes” in any way, shape, or form, unless you’re in the habit of exclaiming “Yes!” when something great happens. “Yay” actually exclaims excitement, happiness, or joy. Think of it as a shortened form of “hooray,” and you’ll always get this one correct.

So, how would these look?

Yea, though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. (I couldn’t resist. Sorry.)

Ten yeasthree nays. The yeas have it. The motion is passed.

Yay! The Spartans take the Wolverines in football. (Yes, I am a Spartan.)

Yeah, I sure would like another Diet Vanilla Coke. Thanks.


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