"Please, yes" v. "Yes, please"

Discussion in 'English Only' started by pyan, Jan 30, 2007.

  1. pyan

    pyan Senior Member

    Vendée, France
    English, UK, London
    Hello, I have a very simple question

    A mature adult Beginners' English group meets every week. Yesterday we learned about offering, accepting and refusing food and drink. There seemed to be a wider range of "natural" answers to shortened forms of questions. "More wine?" answered with "yes, please" sounded a bit better than "please, yes" but the latter did not jar.

    For questions like “Would you like some more wine?” it was different. "Yes, please," or "thank you" said with a nod sounded fine. "Please, yes" did not sound right. (To me, then...)

    My question
    Is there something wrong with “please, yes” in this context? If so, what is it?

    I said I would try to find out about this for next week. Thanks for any light shed.
    After 24 hours the two remaining brein cells are still arguing. There is no logical difference says one, Don't be stupid says the other, your reaction was based on something
  2. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    I think "yes, please" sounds the most natural. "Please, yes" sounds like a non-native speaker to me, but it's perfectly understandable.

    I suppose if there's a pause between the two, it could sound like two separate but related thoughts. "Please! Yes."

    Hmmm... it still doesn't sound quite right to me that way around. A simple "Please!" sounds fine to my ear, though, and very natural.

    I would say, "Please!" or "Yes, please!" but not "Please, yes."
  3. pyan

    pyan Senior Member

    Vendée, France
    English, UK, London
    Thank you for reassuring me. I think it must be usage, not logic. I'll trust my first reaction again, for a few more weeks anyway.
  4. qbnaenmiami Senior Member

    Miami, Florida
    U.S. Spanish and English
    I may be wrong but I think yes, please is a shortened version of yes, if you please. much like in French where it would be oui, s'il vous plaiz.
  5. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    If someone offered me some wine and I answered ...
    ... yes please, it would be a simple acknowledgement that I would like some wine, a standard courtesy response.

    ... please, yes, it would suggest that I was really desparate for a glass of wine.

    This is a personal view.
  6. pyan

    pyan Senior Member

    Vendée, France
    English, UK, London
    Thank you, James M, qbnaenmiami and panjandrum. The replies helped.
  7. overdue Member

    Californian English
    I like "please, yes." There's something....old fashioned about it. I could see it in a '70s British gangster movie, when a bad guy is trying to be polite.
    He stumbles for polite words first, saying "please," then just to confirm an affirmative answer to the question, adds "yes."
  8. LV4-26

    LV4-26 Senior Member

    I share your personal view.
    Of course, a flat, neutral intonation is unthinkable there.
    I can imagine myself saying "Please, yes!" only with an enthusiastic intonation.
    Do you want more cake?
    (= it is absolutely delicious!).
  9. Matching Mole

    Matching Mole Senior Member

    England, English
    To me, however you punctuate it, "Please, yes" sounds like two separate utterances (a number of the above posts demonstrate this too), whereas "Yes, please" is a single utterance (the comma doesn't represent a break or pause, it seems only to be grammatical) where "Yes" is the response and please makes it polite. It is more natural and common to say simply "Please" in response to an offer: "yes" is redundant.
  10. Talia1987 Senior Member

    No, I totally understand why you might say "Please, yes" in this context.
    If someone asks if you want something, it can be acceptable to answer simply with "please". In this case, the speaker answers with "please", and then adds "yes" on the end, for emphasis perhaps.
    Also agree with panjandrum.
    It´s a very fine nuance of the language, "Yes, please" would of course be equally fine.
  11. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    I agree. I would write it as "Please! Yes!" not "Please, yes!" "Yes, please!" can be spoken very quickly. "Please! Yes!" is really two responses, in my opinion, and has to be separated. If someone said "Please, yes!" as quickly as he said "Yes, please!" I would find it very odd, as I said before, but I would understand it.
  12. nelliot53

    nelliot53 Senior Member

    Puerto Rico
    Spanish-[PR]; English-[US]
    I would say that when you just say "Please" you are answering in the affirmative, so the "yes" would seem unnecessary.
  13. Please, yes, without any further explanation, sounds non-native to me.

    You might be able to justify it through intonation, pauses or other means, but it'd still be a streeetch, as far as I'm concerned.
  14. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    English (England)
    "Please, yes!" sounds like an imprecation to me. "Will Paul McCartney ever stop singing one day?" "Please, yes!"

    "Yes, please!" would be impossible in this situation.
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2010

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