Quick Guide to Understanding One-Worded Replies

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There are 89,372 conversations that take place in the office everyday from face to face interactions to online communications such as WhatsApp or the office communicator system. With the amount of conversations that take place online, it’s no wonder you get the occasional one-worded reply which may convey different meanings when spelt differently.

Here’s a quick guide to understanding one-worded replies in the digisphere so you know what it might really mean and when to use them.


K – Usually used when in a rush. A potential conversation ender. Quick short answer to a much-needed reply.

Ok – This is very similar to the ‘K’ but if it definitely sounds more polite than ‘K’.

Okay – Not used that often anymore. If used, it’s usually by a pleasant person more than ready to comply.

Okie – Probably the choice reply for the same meaning. This comes across as quick and ready to comply. User is usually in a nice mood and usually, conversation continues.


Huh? – In mild shock. User usually will prompt with a question of his/her own to clarify if the message was understood correctly. If user doesn’t clarify, one – user got busy suddenly. Two – user thinks you’ve got to be kidding.

Wat? – In shock. This is along the lines of “you can’t be serious”.

? – This has probably more more meaning than any word or sentence. User is almost certainly asking, “what are you talking about?” or saying, “I don’t get you.”


Yes – A formal way to agree. Often used when topic becomes serious or you’re not exactly that close.

Yup – A friendly way to agree. Mood is cordial and pleasant.

Yeap – Just a tad more ‘high’ than “yup”. It is almost similar but not quite the same. User is just a little more chirpy and is nearing the end of the topic on his/her end.

Yaaaaaaaaaa – Often used in a complaint or some gossip to emphasize agreement to a point.


No – The direct opposite of “yes”. There is no emotion involved. At this point, you probably feel you are about as distant as Tuas and Changi.

Nope – The pleasant way to say no.

Nah – Dismissing your earlier sentence. User portrays a tinge of tiredness at your inaccuracy.


Duh? – Are you stupid or what? Depending on the user and how well you know the user, replying “duh?” may vary from extreme rudeness (duh in the high pitch voice) to casual bantering among friends.

!!! – In total disbelief. Usually at something insanely unbelievable that happened. To a certain extent, it can be used to express exasperation.

….. – You don’t get it. You’re wasting my time. I’m speechless. Pick one of these three.

||| – Something from the old ages, this simply means whatever you just said was…lame. Cold.

Sigh – User needs a little TLC. ie tender loving care.

=) – User doesn’t know what else to say. End of conversation.

When I’m not at work, I’m into the arts, music and history. Football’s my other big love so if I’m not around museums and galleries, I’m probably on the field. If I still can’t be found, I’m having my me time.