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Have you noticed that Ash sometimes concludes his sentences with "Yes?"? I have just finished watching Alien for the 1000th time and I think he adds "Yes?" every time he is telling a lie, somehow circumventing his programming not to do so.

Is this observation correct? Yes? Is there any other evidence supporting this theory?

Here are some examples of such exchanges between Ash and the crew:

  1. RIPLEY: Have you tried putting that transmission through the ECIU?
    ASH: Mother hasn't identified it... Yes?

  2. RIPLEY: Ash, that transmission... Mother's deciphered part of it, it doesn't look like an SOS.
    ASH: What does it look?
    RIPLEY: It looks like a warning. I'm gonna go right after them.
    ASH: What's the point? I mean by the time it takes to get there you'll... they'll know if it's a warning or not. Yes?

  3. RIPLEY: It's a pretty big risk for a science officer. It's not exactly out of the manual, is it?
    ASH: I do take my responsibilities as seriously as you, you know. You do your job and let me do mine. Yes?

  4. RIPLEY: Okay, what about temperature? What happens if we change it?
    ASH: Let's try it. Well... most animals retreat from fire. Yes?

  • Interesting observation. Will have to watch it again.. Having said that, adding 'yes' at the end of a statement turns it into a question (or challenge) rather than a simple statement of (supposed) fact. Can a question be a lie? (I know there is the phrase 'an honest question' but that is more meaning 'genuinely asked - really wants to hear what others think'..) – Andrew Thompson Jul 30 '15 at 16:53
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    +1 Any chance you can add some example quotes to the question? – Shiz Z. Jul 30 '15 at 17:06
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    I've not seen Alien in a while, but the script has no semblance of any "Yes?"; though interestingly the only occurance of "yes" in the script is from Ash. Could have been a flourish on the part of the actor though – Etheur Jul 30 '15 at 20:35
  • Well, I could rewatch Alien, +1 – Dannie Jul 31 '15 at 0:14
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    Maybe you should take a look at this site: avp.wikia.com/wiki/Ash No mention is done to the Yes?, but it seems clear that Ash has no problem in lying. – mattiav27 Oct 21 '15 at 8:57
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That certainly could be an explanation for why Ash adds "Yes?" at the end of many of his sentences. However, I believe there are at least a couple instances in the film where he says, "Yes?" at the end of a sentence that does not contain a lie.

Also, his mission on the spacecraft is solely to preserve the Xenomorph and return it to The Company who sent the crew to the Nostromo for that reason and considered the people onboard the spacecraft as expendable. By effect, this would require Ash to be very deceptive and force him to lie quite a lot. So I do not think it would make sense for The Company to require Ash to constantly use loop holes in order to lie to his human colleagues. Although, the addition of the word "Yes?" may serve as a way to affirm his lies and, in a way, disguise them.

Another explanation could be that the line is simply be an expression that Ian Holm or Ridley Scott thought made Ash sound more robotic. I actually know someone who has the habit of adding "No?" to the end of statements which is pretty much the same speech behavior except it has a negative connotation. In this case, if we were to follow Occam's Razor I think the final explanation would be the most probable as, like someone previously mentioned, these "Yes?" lines do not appear in the script and there is really no evidence provided by the film to support any of our theories.

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