How can I "show" that my character is saying "yes" as a respond from a question? The only thing that comes to my mind is

Mike moves his head, confirming that he is okay.

I think this is not good since I'm telling and not showing.

I also would like to say that English is not my native language so if you find another problem please don't go hard on me.

  • 2
    Not an answer to your question, but you are mixing past and present tense in your sentence...
    – Theoriok
    Apr 28, 2020 at 8:53

2 Answers 2


The word you are looking for is "nod".

Mike nods his head, confirming that he was okay.

"Shakes" his head would be used for negation.

It's usually a good idea to include context that reinforces the message the character is sending ("confirming that he is okay" in this case), for readers who are unfamiliar with the gestures. I'm also not entirely sure how universal the gestures are - research should be done before including the gesture in your story.

  • 3
    I'm sure there's at least one culture in which nodding means "no" and shaking the head means "yes", but I can't remember which.
    – F1Krazy
    Apr 27, 2020 at 7:07
  • 1
    From Wikipedia: There are several exceptions, with some cultures swapping the meanings between nodding and head shaking: in Greece, Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria,[2] Albania, and Sicily a single nod of the head up (not down) indicates a "no". Apr 27, 2020 at 10:28
  • In India a gesture that could be referred to as a "shake" means yes. It's not a rotation about the axis of the neck though, but rather a pivot side to side.
    – Jim Cullen
    Apr 28, 2020 at 5:29
  • 1
    If I understand correctly, the 'indian head shake' is especially problematic to interpret, as it can be a sort of noncommital yes, essentially meaning "I dont want to offend you, but no". Its basically an acknowledgement and non-answer.
    – Maaark
    Apr 28, 2020 at 10:22

As noted in another answer, the word is nod. However, you can add additional aspects to show how that nod is modified.

Mike shrugs and, after a short delay, nods. A grudging acceptance.

Mike grins, giving a vigorous thumbs up, and nods. A strong affirmation.

There are dozens of ways to show the strength and contexts of nodding.

  • +1. If you aren't giving some kind of reaction, I wouldn't bother having the nod in the first place. Just say "He agreed." Even then, how did he agree?
    – codeMonkey
    Apr 27, 2020 at 17:34

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