[Ads-l] "Yeah, no" as a positive = 'surprisingly, yes'

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed May 12 02:40:52 UTC 2021

From NBC tearjerker “This Is Us”, tonight’s episode.  Kevin has just run into his ex-girlfriend Zoë (remotely—he’s walking past a big screen on which she appears—don’t ask), and she evinces surprise at the fact that he’s about to marry another ex-girlfriend. (Relevant backstory: Zoë and Kevin had split up because she didn’t want children and he maybe did,)  

Zoë:    “Madison, huh? So, how did it happen, you knock her up?”
Kevin: “Um, yeah.  Actually I did. We, um, we had twins and now we’re getting married.”
Zoë:    “Oh, wow.  Oh, you seem really happy!”
Kevin: “Thank you. Yeah, no, I am. I’m thrilled.” 

The “no” seems to be indicating “contrary to what you might think”.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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