Nope? It’s a Yup! Or a Yep. Which Affirmative Is the Truth?

Photo: Universal Pictures

Jordan Peele’s highly anticipated horror film Nope premiered July 22, making it his third thriller to kill at the box office with $44 million in its opening weekend. As reviews and reactions to the film invaded social-media timelines, something started happening — the same joke popped up over and over. “Nope? Yep!” or “Nope? It’s a yup!” Get it? You’ll see the occasional “Nope’s a nope,” but overall, the verdict leans “yup” or “yep” — never a “yes,” for obvious wordplay reasons (sorry, BBC). Even though the movie is loved by critics, fans, and aliens alike, there’s a problem. The great Team Jacob or Team Edward of 2022 is here: Are you a “yep” girl … or a “yup” girl? Which is the superior word to represent a positive review of Nope? Let’s turn to some experts to see which is reigning supreme.

​​At Vulture, a very scientific Slack poll revealed the staff is overwhelmingly pro-yup. When asked to justify their reasoning, one writer argued, “The letter ‘E’ gets too much play in the English language. I am representing for the under-loved ‘U’ with ‘Yup!’” Another explained the nuances of each term: “‘Yep’ is for slightly lighter situations, like ‘Yep! I had some ice cream.’ Or ironically light situations, like ‘Yep! I did accidentally trip and twist my ankle.’” They also explained that “yup” expresses a greater magnitude of emotion. For example: “‘Yup! I did indeed hook up with my ex,’ or ‘Yup! I adore that movie.’” But for Nope, is a light, ironic “yep” more powerful than a deep, slightly confessional “yup”?

In their reviews, critics from CNN, Rolling Stone, and Parade all jumped onboard team “yep.” But “yup” seemingly took home the winning prize, with six publications mentioning it in their reviews, as well as their red-carpet fashion coverage and news coverage. Fans online, meanwhile, remain neck and neck on “yup” versus “yep”: As of July 28, 338 Letterboxd users used “yup” in their reviews of the film, while a lesser 306 users elected “yep.” A close encounter, but “yup” prevails.

So, what does the cast of Nope have to say about the “yep” versus “yup” movement? Well, not much. Only one of the four main cast members (Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Steven Yeun, and Brandon Perea) has tweeted either word. Perea tweeted his excitement for Nope’s wrap gifts, which included a custom skateboard, “YUP to these!!” The whole cast did, however, play a game called “Yep or NOPE” with Screenrant and another called “Yup or Nope” with Dead Meat, basically canceling each other out. However, writer-director Jordan Peele made his choice clear with one simple tweet eight years ago. Sequel, anyone?

Nope? It’s a Yup! Or a Yep. Which Affirmative Is the Truth?