It's said that a sentence must always contain a subject and a verb but I have read somewhere that the word "No" itself is a complete sentence. How? Also a sentence always has at least one clause and clauses are s+v combo, So how "No" acts as both sentence and a clause?

  • Perhaps in a similar way to your own single-word sentence, "How?".
    – Lawrence
    Commented Apr 10, 2020 at 17:00
  • @Lawrence What? Commented Apr 10, 2020 at 17:31
  • @Bitterdreggs. Indeed.
    – Lawrence
    Commented Apr 10, 2020 at 23:30
  • @Lawrence Autological...... Commented Apr 10, 2020 at 23:36

4 Answers 4






Insert any other intransitive verb used in the imperative mood.

An imperative construction is considered complete (complete sentence, independent clause), even though you can't see a subject in it.

Have a talk with your grammarian or linguist regarding the classification of pro-forms (such as No.) and elliptical constructions.


You can consider it as an abbreviation. When you say No/Yes it may refer to a sentence such as "Yes, it is," or "No, it isn't"


There are many "One word sentences"

  • Interrogative - Who? How? When?
  • Imperative - Stop! Halt! Jump!
  • Declarative - Me. Him. Her
  • Locative - Here. There. Everywhere.
  • Nominative - Jane. John. Harry.

And so on. In these cases, the subject and the verb are tied to the context of the situation and are implied.

For instance,

  • A asks - "Where is your father?"
  • B answers - "Inside"

Here the subject and verb are implied.

In short, I think a single word sentence is not grammatically wrong unless it is devoid of context which supplies the verb and the subject.

  • I think nominative and declarative are same. What you mention as declarative is objective, or accusative. It looks like a mix up of sentence types and cases. Sentences are a) Declarative/ assertive/ statements, b) Interrogative, c) Imperative, and d) Exclamatory. Cases are: a) Nominative, b) accusative, c) dative, d) genitive, and e) vocative. You may check it. I may be corrected if I am wrong.
    – Ram Pillai
    Commented Apr 11, 2020 at 4:04

There is an important part of speech that some people forget about, called Interjections. I believe "yes" or "no" could be considered an interjection when used alone. Yes/no are not nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, or conjunctions when used in this context.

  • No, interjections are spontaneous expressions of emotions and do not include "yes" or "no" apart from single cases in which they might index joy or disappointment respectively.
    – user373710
    Commented Apr 11, 2020 at 15:54

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