Nodding vs Shaking one's head yes.

Posted by Marian on January 11, 2002

In Reply to: Nodding vs Shaking one's head yes. posted by ESC on January 10, 2002

: : Since I'm on a roll, let me ask one more question that's irking me. Is the verb "to nod" hardly ever used in the USA? I am always hearing the alternate expression "to shake one's head yes" being employed instead. In the UK, the expression "to shake one's head" *always* means to shake it from side to side, thus expressing dissent, whereas to nod (the "one's head" part being optional) *always* means to move one's head up and down in agreement. The same is apparently absolutely not true in the USA... or is it?

: Here's my vote regarding the U.S. -- shake your head (side-to-side) "no" and nod your head (up-and-down) "yes."

I hear 'nodded' used in spoken English far less frequently than I hear 'shook,' although their usage seems more evenly split in newspapers and magazines. I've felt for some time that the American spoken vocabulary is shrinking (in terms of the number of words that we know and use correctly and regularly). I fear this is but one more example of that phenomenon.