I was reading a grammar book where the author said " what happened? " as a complete meaningful sentence. I am not clear how can it be a complete sentence? Can someone explain me the logic behind it? I consider a complete meaningful sentence as a sentence which has both subject and verb. In this sentence which is subject and which is verb. Please help me in getting this understood. Thanks in advance.

  • I find it cool that your name kinda means 'complete', too! Commented Nov 24, 2013 at 14:59
  • Thanks Armen for the explaination. So depending on the sentence "what" can be a subject or object? Also, in your second sentence "what are you thinking?" whats the subject. I framed it as below. Can you correct me if i m wrong? " what(object) are you thinking(verb) " . so is there a subject in this sentence? If there is no subject, how can it be a meaningful sentence? Can you pls explain? Commented Nov 24, 2013 at 15:30

2 Answers 2


What is the subject, happened is the verb. It's an interrogative sentence. In order to understand the role of the interrogative word in a question, answer it. Example:

What happened? An explosion happened.

An explosion is the subject, therefore what was also the subject.

What are you thinking? I am thinking bananas.

Bananas is the object, therefore what was the object.


What stands as a pronoun, and so is the subject. That said, the subject can be elided in certain cases. So too can the verb in some like the sentence:


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