One hears people in the movies say "Affirmative" when they are speaking on a telephone or on a walkie-talkie. Does this word mean "yes"? Can it be used instead of "yes"?

  • 2
    It does mean 'yes', definitely - but for common usage, really only if you're an android on a starship. Otherwise, I'd leave it to the military;) Dec 14 '14 at 13:49
  • @Tetsujin "Affirmative." (Note my avatar. :-) Dec 14 '14 at 13:54
  • @DamkerngT. Confirmed, 'affirmative' is your go-to reply. Be careful not to ever use contractions, either, for the full 'Data'-style experience ;) Dec 14 '14 at 14:00
  • @tromano Affirmative :) Dec 14 '14 at 19:00
  • Supposed you have put forward a particular business proposal to someone and waiting for their reply then you could say that - 'Let your answer to our proposal be in the affirmative.' So it does mean 'yes'.
    – Leo
    Dec 15 '14 at 8:10

Yes is an affirmative response, and when used as exclamations or interjections they have the same meaning, as you can see in dictionaries.

Since you're asking about registers, it's worth noting that affirmative as a response is decidedly formal. However, yes is so common that it's really acceptable in all registers, and you will likely raise some eyebrows if you respond with affirmative. The only times when affirmative is called for are during military or radio communication. This is because it's more difficult to mishear affirmative, and if you're also relaying a message for someone, it's unlikely to be mistaken as part of the message's content, due to its relative rarity.

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