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If someone answers "Yes, I am." to some question of mine, I might say that she gave a monosyllabic answer.

If someone answers simply "Yes." and I want to emphasize that her answer consists of only one word, would I say that she gave a monoword answer? Or something else?

  • What I'm saying is that the answer has already been given there. If you like, pretend the close vote is for 'easily answerable by using generally available resources' (that thread); I thought I'd use the 'duplicate' option so that the hyperlink would automatically appear here. A one-word sentence with no verb is an impossibility from the way a sentence is defined: A grammatical unit that is syntactically independent and has a subject that is expressed or, as in imperative sentences, understood and a predicate that contains at least one finite verb. [AHD] – Edwin Ashworth Oct 30 '13 at 17:54
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    I frankly don't understand the question. If you're prepared to label an utterance of three syllables (Yes I am) as "monosyllabic", you might have to go into negative numbers to describe Yes. – John Lawler Oct 30 '13 at 19:16
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    Aren't one-word instructions like "Relax." and "Go!" complete sentences? They have an implied subject, but then so does "Don't take my word for it." – Sven Yargs Oct 30 '13 at 19:31
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    Why would we have a tag "single-word requests" if there was better term for that? – Kris Oct 31 '13 at 13:32
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    I suspect that “monosyllabic” was meant to indicate that “Yes I am” comprises only monosyllabic words. It's a bit of an odd usage, true. Anyway, I'm voting to reopen because the “duplicate” question does not answer this question at all. – Bradd Szonye Oct 31 '13 at 13:54
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In ‘The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language’, David Crystal recognises a minor sentence as one ‘where there is limited productivity, or where the structure lacks some of the constituents to be found in the major type.’ He gives as an example No way. The description would seem to apply to sentences that have only one word.

  • A 'minor sentence' is characterized by the absence of a verb, not the number of words. – Kris Oct 31 '13 at 13:45
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The Wikipedia article on the topic calls these kinds this a sentence word or word sentence, but also gives such terms as volzinwoorden and Wortsätze.

It also discusses the use of such words among children, and refers these words as holophrases:

single-word utterance which is used by a child to express more than one meaning usually attributed to that single word by adults

More info found in the article on holophrasis.

  • Wikipedia mentions 'word sentences,' though I think that's more of an academic term. The link under that term contradicts, in a way, the very sentence from where it is drawn! – Kris Oct 31 '13 at 13:46
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One should consider this a general reference question. However:

Why would we have a tag "single-word requests" if there was a better term for that? Technically, there's no such thing as a monoword, though polyword is well known, mostly as an adjective.

If you chose to be informal:

  1. monoword. Being of few words, being quite cold in the reply.

Wikipedia mentions word sentences, though I think that's more of an academic term. (The link under that term contradicts, in a way, the very sentence from where it is drawn!)


sentence:

a set of words that is complete in itself, typically containing a subject and predicate, conveying a statement, question, exclamation, or command, and consisting of a main clause and sometimes one or more subordinate clauses.

A "set" can consist of any number of words, including one, or even none.

Further to that, everything else is qualified with "typical" but not necessarily.

"Yes." is a sentence. QED.

By the way, "Yes, I am." is not monosyllabic.

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