There are other ways that we can make our answers shorter. In normal spoken English, we often use these short answers because it is easier than giving a complete sentence and it is more natural.

When you are learning a language it is better to practise with full sentences because you need to learn how to construct complete sentences. If you can construct complete sentences then you can use short answers too.

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Apart from repeating the auxiliary verb that has been used in the question, there are other ways in which we can form short answers. We use the words ‘so’, ‘neither’ and ‘nor’ when someone makes a statement and we want to say that the same situation is true for us or for somebody else.
For example, if somebody tells you that they would like to go to the park and you would also like to go to the park, then you can reply “so would I”. This is the same as saying “I would also like to go to the park”, but it is much shorter and it is a more natural answer.
If someone tells you that they couldn’t do their homework and you couldn’t do your homework either then you can reply “neither could I”. This is the same as saying “I couldn’t do my homework either”.

You can use the word ‘nor’ instead of ‘neither’ because they both mean the same thing. We use them when we want to say something negative. For example, if somebody says that they don’t speak Italian, you can reply “nor do I”.

Remember, if there is no auxiliary verb in the statement we are replying to, we use the auxiliary verb ‘do’.

We can also use the words ‘so’ and ‘not’ when replying to something someone has just asked us, to avoid repeating the whole sentence. For example, if someone asks you, “are they going to pass their exams?” You can reply “I think so”, “I hope so”, “I would say so” etc. If someone asks you, “is he coming to the meeting?”, you can reply “I hope not”, “I suppose not” etc.

If somebody says something that you already know about, you can reply by saying “so I have heard”, “so I believe”, “so I was told” etc. To form this short reply we use the word ´so´ followed by something that indicates you were already told about it. This avoids having to say something such as “yes, I have heard…”. For example, if someone tells you that the meeting has been postponed until later and you already know this, you can reply “so I have heard”.

These are the various ways which we can make short answers. You should practise them when speaking to people in general.

G. Harman

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