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LostInParadise's avatar

Is there an English equivalent for the German jawohl?

Asked by LostInParadise (28823points) May 20th, 2010

I do some online tutoring in math. We are told not to do homework for the students but to work with them, breaking the problem down and asking questions in a Socratic dialog. I therefore frequently find myself answering yes to the answers given to my questions.

The problem with yes in this context is that the word can come across as curt and cold. Words for yes in other languages tend to have the same problem. Si and da are not any better, though oui at least has a bit of a lilt. The German jawohl seems perfectly suited. It is yes with enthusiasm. If there were an English equivalent, I would definitely make use of it, though not exclusively, since that could get a bit tiresome.

To inject some more emphasis, I never just say yes. I will say things like Yes!, Yes, good!, Yes, very good!, Excellent!, That’s it! or sometimes Yup!, depending on the situation. I am not completely comfortable with any of these, because they seem a bit forced. Any suggestions for variations? Could we use a new word?

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22 Answers

dpworkin's avatar


janbb's avatar

High five!
Right on!
Keep it up!
Now you’ve got it!

bhec10's avatar

Yes, Sir!

Ltryptophan's avatar

Right-o, precisely, exactly, certainly

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Dy-noh-MITE! (Don’t say this within five miles of an airport, city center, police station or school. Better not say it at all, now that I think of it.)

I never said nuthin’.

MissA's avatar

ExACTly. WONderful. Sometimes a nod and a great smile says it all…in any language.

LuckyGuy's avatar

You betcha!

gemiwing's avatar

There ya go.
Well done!

anartist's avatar

Jawohl — Yes, indeed!

The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain
By George, you’ve got it!

bob_'s avatar

“Dude. Word.”

Jack79's avatar

I think the closest translation would be ”certainly

Depending on context you could also say:

(for) sure
That’s Good
(Yes,) of course
That’s great!

…the list can go on

janbb's avatar

Bien sur?

Jeruba's avatar

Damn right.

Dr_Dredd's avatar


mattbrowne's avatar

A very emphatic “Yes, sir.” It does not really mean sure or damn right or absolutely or anything else suggested above, despite what some dictionaries say. At least not in the year 2010 or the year 1990. The word has almost disappeared and dictionaries do not really reflect that change. The only exception is the German army. Perhaps the police. Use by non-native speakers in Germany might actually be considered somewhat offensive to some, because it suggests that Nazism is still a widespread phenomenon in Germany today. Nazis used jawohl all the time. Neo-nazis still do.

My advice: rather avoid the word ‘jawohl’ except perhaps when people trade jokes.

janbb's avatar

It sure makes me think of the Nazis.

LostInParadise's avatar

Sorry to hear about the Nazi connection.

mattbrowne's avatar

Most people in the US and UK are not aware of this, I know. I think ‘jawohl’ become somewhat politically incorrect in the early 70ies as a result of the student movement.

basheersubei's avatar

@mattbrowne Thanks for the heads-up! I certainly wasn’t aware of it. Avoiding ‘jawohl’ sounds like a good idea…

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