I was writing a text in English to an Italian girl friend of mine whose English is very good. In the text, I asked:

Will you be coming to the staff party on Thursday?

and she replied

Yes, I'll be

I couldn't shrug and ignore it, I had to say something, so I texted back

You should've written: I'll be there :)

But she explained

Given that your question was: "Will you be coming...?" I thought that answering "I'll be" would be correct.

What do I tell her?!?

If the original question had been "Are you coming on Thursday?" or "Can you come on Thursday?" the answers:

(Yes,) I am
Yes, I can

would have been OK.

  • What's the grammatical explanation, or rule, that says I'll be (or I will be) is wrong when a question begins with the auxiliary will?
  • Oops. Now that I've written it out, I can see why her short answer is wrong. Hey folks please don't downvote, your answers will still be useful.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 20, 2016 at 9:38
  • 10
    Next time she might say, No, I won't.
    – TimR
    Dec 20, 2016 at 11:37
  • 4
    There's nothing wrong with "Yes, I will be". (I agree that "*I'll be" is incorrect though.)
    – psmears
    Dec 20, 2016 at 16:02
  • 1
    I would just say "I will". The point is "I'll be" turns the emphasis to the word "be" when what is really emphasized is the will part of it that's the heart of the confirmation. Dec 20, 2016 at 17:47
  • 1
    "I'll be" is an idiom in English, a form of "I'll be (gobsmacked / damned / hedgehogged)!" (as CandiedOrange obliquely points out). Interestingly, "I will be" is usually not that idiom, except sometimes if said with punctuation: "I. Will. Be." Otherwise, it's a "straight" answer, and would have been apropos had your friend used it.
    – MMacD
    Dec 30, 2016 at 20:01

1 Answer 1


Heh, I think you answered your own question in your own question. It's wrong precisely because it's a response with an auxiliary verb, and therefore, we do not repeat the other verb in the short response. In other words, she should have said, "Yes, I will."

See Yes/No Questions, Auxiliary Verbs

And to predict your next question, no, she cannot say, "Yes, I'll."

But for this one, I'm not sure why other than to tell you, it's just wrong and sounds wrong.

  • 3
    This might help explain why you can't use "I'll" at the end of the sentence: ell.stackexchange.com/a/2775 . In general, we only use contractions with "not" at the end of a sentence, for example "No, I don't".
    – ColleenV
    Dec 20, 2016 at 12:54
  • 2
    @ColleenV: The “end of the sentence” aspect is a bit misleading. The issue — as the answer you link points out — is that typically one can’t contract the main verb of a sentence. So I will go can be contracted to I’ll go, but in Yes I will. on its own, or in I will, if I’m not too busy, you can’t contract it to I’ll. Contractions with not are the exception to this: you can say No, I won’t.
    – PLL
    Dec 20, 2016 at 15:41
  • 2
    You may want to cover “Yes, I will be”, as that is also correct (while “Yes, I'll be” doesn't seem right). Dec 20, 2016 at 17:27
  • 1
    This article linked in this answer explains it somewhat. Has to do with strong/weak forms of verbs and when those are used/required. Though it's more targeted to cases like "Yes, I'll", I think the same rule applies to OP's case Dec 20, 2016 at 18:11
  • 2
    @SnoringFrog I gave a comment on the underlying reason why this strong/weak/clitic distinction exists from a stress-based point of view in this ELU answer. Dec 23, 2016 at 0:45

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