I always use "ok" when I talk to my coworkers and want them to know that I listen and understand what they say. I found that it's redundant and repetitive and want to know alternative words that mean the same thing.

  • I just say "yes".
    – Ramya S
    Oct 14, 2015 at 11:04
  • 2
    Since you are just listening and understanding whatever is being said and not necessarily agreeing it, I think the best thing works is 'hhmm' without nodding and 'okay'!
    – Maulik V
    Oct 14, 2015 at 12:23
  • 2
    This kind of feedback is known as backchannels. I found a good page about it: cs.utep.edu/nigel/bc. On the page, it lists a few common backchannels in American English: yeah, uh-huh, hm, right, okay. More interesting part is the pitch contours of some backchannel examples. Also, be careful, as noted on the page: "Obviously one can backchannel when the other person has the floor, but backchanneling just anytime can be rude." Oct 14, 2015 at 12:23
  • @MaulikV As someone who nods a lot, I'd say that nodding doesn't always mean "agree". Even saying "okay" in this manner (as a backchannel) doesn't always mean "You're correct". Actually, I think it doesn't mean that, most of the time. Oct 14, 2015 at 12:28
  • 1
    Too much "backchanneling" can be taken as a sign of impatience, so here in our lab we train the droids to just nod now and then and to use eye contact.
    – TimR
    Oct 14, 2015 at 13:08

5 Answers 5


-Aha (with lips either open or shut!)

-I see





-Oh really?

-Got it

-Okey Dokey


Downvotes have made me think over this question and I found that you want words that show that I am listening and understanding (and NOT agreeing) what you're saying.

There are many ways. A few of them are here-

I see
got it
hmm etc.

  • 1
    My version is even shorter! "Hmmm" ;)
    – Maulik V
    Oct 14, 2015 at 10:49

If you're speaking face-to-face, a simple attentive look towards the speaker is sufficient-- you don't have to stare, either. Overdoing it with "okays" and "yeahs" is pretty annoying, in my opinion. When I listen to someone speak, I don't say anything unless they're saying something I actually want to agree with or re-affirm. At that point, I usually say one of the following:

[That's] correct.

The other case I would speak is when I have something to correct them on, or disagree with. I am of the view that your actual response to their statements provides better evidence that you are paying close attention than robotically saying "hmm" or "yes" after every other sentence. Hearing other people do that annoys me because I can no longer tell if they are actually listening or just pretending to listen.


There are many ways in responding to the speaker's message, verbally and non-verbally. You could say other words such as "yes", "all right", and "sure" being some of them. Nodding is the commonly used response and one way of responding to someone talk.


Same issue as with Ruchir M's answer - your question was about something else. Due to this, I've updated my answer:

carry on
until now all fine
oki doki


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