# 的 at the end of short responses

I've always been curious about this: What is the grammatical reason for 的 at the end of these short responses?

Q: 這樣好嗎？ A: 好的。

Q: 你是美國人嗎？ A: 是的。

Q: 你會彈鋼琴嗎？ A: 會的。

Can someone shed some light on it for me?

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## 的: positive response? Not exactly!

The function of 的 is well stated in 漢典:

4 . 助词，用在句末， 表示肯定的语气 ，常与“是”相应：这句话是很对～。

At the end of a sentence, 的 is an auxiliary word, indicating a response with emphasized confidence. It is often used in the "是……的" structure.

I think it's not proper to literally translate 表示肯定的语气 into "indicating a positive response". That's because, although the example sentence

is a positive response, a negative response in the 是...的 structure perfectly make sense too!

The 是...的 structure has been well studied in this question. See golddc and 孤影萍踪's answer.

## 的 in a short answer

Come back to OP's question. Indeed, when 的 is used in a short answer, it's generally a positive answer.

Q: 你會彈鋼琴嗎？ A: 會的。

Q: Can you play piano? A: (Yes), I can.

But I would rather say, this effect is related to psychology. Most of the time, we tend to be confident to give a positive response; however on the contrary, a negative response is seldom stated with confidence.

Q: 你會彈鋼琴嗎？ A: 不會的。

The grammar is perfect in this sentence, but it would sound like:

Q: Can you play piano? A: Of course I can't.

You would feel such an answer sounds cynic.

For a neutral question (I mean, whether a "yes" or a "no" answer won't be specially expected), a negative response with confidence is commonly used too.

Q:他會來嗎？ A：不會的。

Q: Will he come? A: I'm sure he won't.

Q:你是黨員嗎？ A:不是的。

Q: Are you a party member? A: Of course not.

It is grammatically perfect and sounds right.

## Conclusion

In Chinese, 肯定的语气 is a little ambiguous. It can mean either "positive mood" or "confident mood". In this auxiliary word 的 case, 肯定的语气 is better to be considered as the confident mood.

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I like this answer better. I don't feel like "这句话是很对的" is an example of my question, which is why I was confused by that definition. However, this explanation is more thorough. –  AMorrise Jul 1 '13 at 3:03

I think there is the grammatical and dictionary version of the explanation, but also you can look at it from the way people talk in everyday life. In my experience, omitting 的 at the end of a response seems to cut the response short, as if someone is either given a short response, like 會 (yep) versus 會的 (I can/I know); 是 (yes) versus 是的 (that's correct). The other way to look at it is to express a more affirmative mood as described above by Stan.

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That makes sense to me. I know that Chinese speakers really like two-syllable pairs (e.g. 很好 instead of just 好), so I suppose adding 的 goes along with that. –  AMorrise Jul 12 '13 at 17:51