English Language Blog

Yoda speak Posted by on Apr 10, 2014 in English Grammar

My last post was about aliens in general, and today I have a post about one alien in particular, Yoda, a short green pointy-eared alien who is from the ‘Star Wars’ movies.  Here is a picture of Yoda, with a quote of his, in case you don’t know who I am talking about.


Yoda has many of the characteristics aliens are often thought to have: green skin, a bald head, and he is short. Yoda also has a very interesting way of speaking English, which I want to introduce you to today.

Here is a video clip of Yoda in the ‘Star Wars’ movies. Listen and see if you can understand him.

Yoda speaks English, but he speaks it with a different grammar than proper English. He has his own grammar rules – like many ESL speakers do! Yoda’s grammar is pretty easy to learn though.

Here are Yoda’s grammar rules, see if you can follow them:
1. Take the first two words of a normal English sentence (with a subject-verb-object construction), and put them at the end of the sentence instead of the beginning.
For example:
English: ‘You will find what you are looking for.’
Yoda: ‘Find what you are looking for, you will.’

2. To make a negative statement, take the negative word out of where it belongs in the sentence and put it at the end of the sentence instead.
For example:
English: ‘I will not help you.’
Yoda: ‘I will help you not.’
Hint: Yoda does not use contractions (i.e. don’t) because this will work not with his grammar.

3. Add the word ‘yes’ to positive statements.
For example:
English: ‘You are here for my help.’
Yoda: ‘Here for my help, you are, yes.’ (This sentence uses rules 1 and 3.)

4. Add ‘hmmmm…’ to the end of questions.
For example:
English: ‘Do you know what I am talking about?’
Yoda: ‘Know what I am talking about, do you, hmmm…?’ (This sentence uses rules 1 and 4.)

If you are still having trouble keeping proper English grammar straight then learning “Yoda grammar” might not be the best thing for you to do right now; maybe wait a year or two and then come back and re-read this post. But for all you ‘Star Wars’ fans and advanced students out there this might be a fun way for you to practice your English (you will really have to think about English grammar to get Yoda grammar right!).

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About the Author: Gabriele

Hi there! I am one of Transparent Language's ESL bloggers. I am a 32-year-old native English speaker who was born and raised in the United States. I am living in Washington, DC now, but I have lived all over the US and also spent many years living and working abroad. I started teaching English as a second language in 2005 after completing a Master's in Applied Linguists and a Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults' (CELTA). Since that time I have taught ESL in the United States at the community college and university level. I have also gone on to pursue my doctorate in psychology and now I also teach courses in psychology. I like to stay connected to ESL learners around the world through Transparent Languages ESL Blog. Please ask questions and leave comments on the blog and I will be sure to answer them.