I know that in speech we say "the bigger the better", but is this ok in written English as there is no verb....

  • It's an idiom. An accepted expression with a peculiarity of grammar and / or definition of word/s involved. This one is an extragrammatical idiom; most would probably call it a 'sentence fragment'. It's probably not overly formal, but is fine in most registers. Jun 25, 2019 at 18:42
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    Sentence fragments? Fine in writing, as long as you can carry it off. Not for amateurs, and not for formal writing, but okay in more places than you might think.
    – Robusto
    Jun 25, 2019 at 18:42
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    There is the sentence "Yes." in written English. Coincidentally, that's also my answer to this question. Two birds with one stone.
    – RegDwigнt
    Jun 25, 2019 at 18:47
  • Great example of a non-trivial sentence that no verb. I wonder if there are others.
    – Mitch
    Jun 25, 2019 at 18:52
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    Where is it enacted that we are only allowed to communicate in sentences with verbs? This question is, in a way, the wrong way round: why, given the universal use of verbless sentences by educated native speakers, does anyone think there is some kind of rule forbidding such use? Not every verbless sentence good, though. Some verbless but clear, others not even clear.
    – JeremyC
    Jun 25, 2019 at 21:56

1 Answer 1


Except for idioms, proverbs and informal speech, all sentences do require a verb. But now a day we are explicitly using informal speech, so most of the time these things are seen as normal and hence are a part of 'modern English'. Also idioms and proverbs at times lack verbs just in order to sound more rhetorical. There is a lot of everyday stuff we say which lacks the usage of verb and is grammatically 'incomplete' but we consider them because they sound 'too obvious' and thus acceptable.

Here's an article telling how now-a-days people aren't following grammar rules and still their work is acceptable: Modern English Grammar by The University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Also, here's a complete professional research paper for the usage of verbless sentences: THE USE OF VERBLESS SENTENCES IN ENGLISH LITERATURE.

Here's some more example of verb-less speeches: (These are grammatically incorrect but are recognised as a part of modern English.)

True, no doubt.

So far, so good.

Of course not.

Down to earth!

Can you please..

No comments.

Good job. etc.

Here's detailed explaination for it's usage: Verbless Sentence (Scesis Onomaton)

Hope, this helped :)

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    Many thanks for your answer. Plus one
    – tom
    Jun 25, 2019 at 20:22
  • Hey Riya, welcome to EL&U, be sure to check out the site's rules and requirements. Some notes for your question: "Who is that" has a verb in it. "It's a pleasure" also has a verb in it, inside the contraction.
    – A. Kvåle
    Jun 25, 2019 at 21:58

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