Speaking Right

Short Answers for Good Scores - 1

Mar 15 2022

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Sometimes, it is better to give a short answer. This is especially the case since repeating a part of the question in your answer might make it sound repetitive. This might also give the examiner a feeling that you are not entirely comfortable with the language.

Short Answers for Good Scores - 1 - First Academy

Should we always give long answers?

The general tendency is to try and give long answer to present as much of our language proficiency as possible. However, giving long answers might not always be a good idea.

So, when is better to give a short answer?

If the question commences with one of the traditional question words - WHO, WHERE, WHEN, WHY, WHAT, WHICH or HOW - it requires a long answer.

Here are some examples:

What did you do yesterday?
I cleaned my room.

Why did you call me?
I needed to borrow your scooter.

If that is a long answer, what is a short answer?

For a direct question starting with a verb (like did) you can choose to give a short answer.

Here are some examples:

Was the cab waiting for you when you went down yesterday?
Yes, it was.
Yes, it was waiting for me.

Did you watch the movie?
No, I didn't
No, I didn't watch the movie.

Were they able to help you find your baggage?
Yes, they were.
Yes, they were able to help me (find my baggage).

If you have noticed, long answers sound repetitive. And, repetition is best avoided.

Questions Starting with did

If a question starts with did, you can give a short answer. It is not necessary to repeat the main verb in the answer.

Examples

Did you sleep well last night? Yes, I did / No, I didn't.
Here sleep is the main verb. It need not be repeated in the response.

Did the bus arrive on time? Yes, it did / No, it didn't.

Did they help you unpack? Yes, they did / No, they did not.

Did your parents like your boyfriend? Yes, they did / No, they didn't.

Did you lose weight? Yes, I did / No, I did not.


In questions that use did it is possible to give short answers.

Did I pass the test?    Yes, you did.    No, you didn't.
Did you need help?    Yes, I did.    No, I didn't.
Did you both go to the trek?    Yes, we did.    No, we didn't.
Did they keep their promise?    Yes, they did.    No, they didn't.
Did he have get his car?    Yes, he did.    No, he didn't.
Did she want money?    Yes, she did.    No, she didn't.
Did the car give your trouble?    Yes, it did.    No, it didn't.

Short Answers with Was / Were

In questions that use Was or Were it is possible short answers are usually this way:

Was I correct?    Yes, you were.    No, you weren't.
Were you busy yesterday?    Yes, I was.    No, I wasn't.
Were you both prepared?    Yes, we were.    No, we weren't.
Were they hungry?    Yes, they were.    No, they weren't.
Was he late again?    Yes, he was.    No, he wasn't.
Was she a good student?    Yes, she was.    No, she wasn't.
Was it ready?    Yes, it was.    No, it wasn't.


In casual conversations (including in some parts of tests), it is more common to give short answers. When you combine these with expressions, these answers can greatly help you increase your score. How we can do that is what we will be seeing in the follow-up post!


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