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The Shortest Sentence In the World

What is the shortest sentence in the English language?

Jelly donuts (ice cream is better)

The typical answer to this is “I am,” but some argue that it’s not a complete sentence. However, if someone asked a man named Rupert if he was Rupert, he could reply, “I am” and it would make a complete sentence in my book.

But that’s not the whole answer. There is an even shorter sentence using an imperative with an implied subject (how’s that for an English terminology-filled sentence?) With “Go,” the “you” is implied. For example, if your wife wanted you to go with her to pick up some donuts and you were busy, she might say, “I really want to get some donuts, I’m starving!” and you might reply, “Go!” The implication being you never wanted to get donuts in the first place because you like ice cream more anyway and if you’re busy you’re probably doing something worthwhile and important and can’t be disturbed for such trivial matters as acquiring sweet pastries with holes in them, no matter how much of a waste of time your wife says your pursuits are. In short, “Go” is the shortest sentence in the English language that also has the longest implied meaning. Do you want to get get some ice cream? Go!

Ava pointed out in the comments that No is another viable alternative.

Posted in Brain Teasers

 

70 Comments on "The Shortest Sentence In the World"


aryaman says
January 9, 2014 @ 10:51

maybe…”what?”


Palochka says
January 14, 2014 @ 17:34

It is “Go”, isn’t it?


Dan says
January 14, 2014 @ 21:04

That’s what the answer says :)


Ava says
April 17, 2014 @ 08:16

If “Go” works as a sentence , then “No” would also have to be a “one” word sentence.?


Dan says
April 17, 2014 @ 14:37

@Ava No.

Hah! I kid. Yes, you’re absolutely right. I updated the answer.


Renike says
June 14, 2014 @ 22:26

Go


Lori says
July 22, 2014 @ 19:07

Jesus wept.


Imaaz Shaikh says
August 6, 2014 @ 23:39

It might be” GO”


Tony says
August 21, 2014 @ 02:00

Am coming.


Ciara the Wolfpup says
November 21, 2014 @ 14:40

What about “Hi!”


richard says
December 22, 2014 @ 18:13

I agree with ‘i am’.


Person says
February 14, 2015 @ 21:32

“Hi” and “No”


Hannah says
March 5, 2015 @ 03:25

The mere reason that it is a reply to a question does not make it a sentence. In fact, a lot of the replies we make on a daily basis are still fragments; they just make sense in context. Also, interjections do not count just because they have punctuation — it is still an interjection and not a sentence. A sentence consists of a subject and a verb. I would say that “Go.” makes the most sense, since you could argue for the “understood you” making it: “[You] go.” which still follows the subject then intransitive verb pattern. But, you know, if that is too crazy for people, “I am.” and “To be.” are both very short sentences that are obviously sentences.


Jack says
March 17, 2015 @ 17:43

“I exist.” —– is the shortest valid sentence.

It makes total sense, because “I” is the most concrete term in a dictionary & “existence” is the most abstract term in a dictionary…


Mahwish says
March 30, 2015 @ 14:29

“I am” is the shortest sentence!


Jazmaan says
June 1, 2015 @ 19:37

Alexander Dumas uses it frequently when a character denies an accusation.

I?

Much of the verbiage is implied. It’s basically a short way of saying “Are you suggesting that I did that?”


Chelsea says
June 4, 2015 @ 19:59

Stop. Because the “you” is also implied.


Chase says
July 30, 2015 @ 00:16

Technically “I’m” would work as the shortest sentence if contractions are allowed. It’s the same as “I am” and there is no implied “you” in the sentence.
(In Spanish, “es” is the shortest sentence, meaning “it is”, since Spanish does not use pronouns as heavily as English does.)


Devang says
August 4, 2015 @ 07:31

I too agree with “I am.” But my teachers scolded me for that and even deducted my marks. I think that they might not be knowing but they should have thought about it.


sweety says
September 2, 2015 @ 06:07

Go is a sentence or not.


sathisse says
September 3, 2015 @ 18:18

One common understanding of the requirements of an English sentence are: 1) starts with a capital letter and ends with a punctuation mark, 2) has subject and predicate, 3) contains a complete thought.

With that in mind the shortest two English sentences that satisfy the rules are likely “Go.” and “Be.”, with the latter being a bit existential.


John Doe says
September 19, 2015 @ 15:25

Ava, no.


Senor Avocado says
October 29, 2015 @ 19:23

Actually, the shortest sentence is “O.” “O” is a word that means about the same thing as “oh”, but when you say it, it is just a quick “o”, not an ohhhhh.


Senor Avocado says
October 29, 2015 @ 19:24

IT’S AN EXCLAMATIVE!!!


salman khan says
November 21, 2015 @ 08:11

i maybe ‘go.


Veronica says
November 25, 2015 @ 14:40

Go! Correct answer. “You”, the noun (subject singular or plural) is understood because of the interjection of the commanding verb “go”, hence, (you) go (get it), whatever…just “go”…School House Rock Rocks! So does an education.


fivebee says
December 8, 2015 @ 09:10

I!


Sumanth says
December 30, 2015 @ 11:34

………………….. is the shortest sentence in English language that also has the longest implied meaning.


Milan Patel says
January 12, 2016 @ 00:11

Closed


DNaundorff says
February 11, 2016 @ 19:40

So is also one


DNaundorff says
February 11, 2016 @ 19:43

So is also one also hi


ujla says
February 13, 2016 @ 08:40

World’s smallest sentence is ‘DO’


Oliver says
March 11, 2016 @ 00:00

Since “I am” is a sentence ( I being the subject, am being the predicate), would “I’m” be a sentence?


7 says
March 29, 2016 @ 16:42

‘I?’ Is the shortest because u could ask “do u no the letter I?” And they could say “I?” Then the other person replys with “yes, I”


Andrew says
May 5, 2016 @ 16:42

Isn’t it “Hi”?


KARAN.M.K says
May 22, 2016 @ 01:00

I can’t be a sentence.There is no verb.Go and Do can be the shortest sentences with the subject you is implied.


Saurabh goel says
June 22, 2016 @ 02:20

I AM.


DDDDDUUUUUUDDDDEEEE says
June 25, 2016 @ 07:27

Just because it is a response does not make it a full sentence if we were saying that responses are full sentences then someone could say “do you want cake” if I replied yes this would be the same as replying I am to the example given the full sentence would be “yes i am Rupert”


EngProf says
September 16, 2016 @ 13:17

I would agree that “I AM” is indeed a short sentence…

THEREFORE… Since I AM can be trimmed down to a single contraction, I would suppose the world’s shortest is none other than: “I’m.”


FTHRW8 says
November 3, 2016 @ 02:04

I was thinking ‘I am’ too. Then I thought it might be ‘I’m me’ or ‘I am me’. I think ‘I do’ might also work.


John says
January 7, 2017 @ 15:42

I am I do


KATE says
January 24, 2017 @ 06:34

NEED
CORREcT ANSWERPM me aon fb Kate L. Yamson if you know it
PLEASE this is an assignment
1/25/2016 should it be passed


James C says
March 19, 2017 @ 20:58

The shortest sentence for the longest sentence is LIFE.


Owl Eagle says
April 17, 2017 @ 18:59

I think the shortest sentence is I am


Angela says
July 29, 2017 @ 05:33

God told you already. I am!!!


some random person says
August 6, 2017 @ 15:37

btw, although I am and I go are both three letters, I am is considered shorter because it is “before” I do alphabetically (I learned this in English class at some point). Then I randomly thought up, what about I’m??? Isn’t that the shortest sentence??


Kayla says
September 13, 2017 @ 22:32

Yes is one of the shortest sentence


Jack says
March 20, 2018 @ 11:12

It can be argued that “I do” is BOTH the shortest and could be the LONGEST sentence in the English language as well !


Tucker says
February 14, 2019 @ 14:22

Go. It’s technically by definition a full sentence


Josiah says
May 7, 2019 @ 11:55

For a sentence you need to have a subject, verb, and complete thought, go would be a verb, but not a subject or complete thought, you should go would be a complete sentence, but go is not


Grace says
May 7, 2019 @ 20:14

“go” is the shortest sentence because go is the verb and it’s talking to us, the subject.


J says
May 28, 2019 @ 15:20

“Hi” is, also!


Harry says
June 17, 2019 @ 10:44

what about “no”


Becky says
September 3, 2019 @ 18:38

Go is the shortest sentence in the world guarenteed.


Becky says
September 3, 2019 @ 18:39

go has is a verb and it is understood you so it is a sentence and it is very short


Anwarul Islam says
September 17, 2019 @ 12:44

If you are standing at the door asking for permission like “May I come in ?”
The answer might be “yes, come in.”
OR simply yes.
OR “NO, You can’t.”
OR simply NO.
Yes and NO in these regard express the full meaning that is necessary to be a sentence.
NO IS the smallest sentence.


Jackie Chan says
October 31, 2019 @ 17:08

I- sksksksksk


Muhammad Xamurani says
December 8, 2019 @ 14:16

(Go!) is the shortest sentence of grammar.


Nick says
January 17, 2020 @ 20:38

I would argue that since “you” is the implied subject that “I am” is grammatically the shortest complete sentence.


Andrea says
March 7, 2020 @ 16:15

“I am.”


Bethany says
April 7, 2020 @ 03:12

Technically, this is incorrect, as a sentence needs a subject and a doing word. ‘Go’ is ‘the doing word’. There is no subject and therefore cannot be classed as a sentence. ‘I am’ or ‘I do’ would be the shortest sentences possible.


TheBlondeWarrior says
April 14, 2020 @ 04:30

Yes, “Go,” Is the verb, but the subject, “You,” is implied, and therefore, doesn’t need to be present in the sentence.


beaner says
May 13, 2020 @ 00:23

you is the implied subject of “Go.” there is no subject in the phrase “No.” as “No” is not a verb, it is simply a response that can be used regularly to answer a question, or as an adverb or adjective ( or a subject as i am currently using it in this sentence ).


Dr. Ferg says
May 17, 2020 @ 15:47

“I am” because a true sentence requires both a SUBJECT and a VERB, otherwise it is a FRAGMENT. “I” is the world’s shortest fragment sentence.


Chima says
August 13, 2020 @ 07:50

Well, so what is the conclusion.

I think ‘Go’ is the shortest sentence.

A sentence must have ‘ a verb’ and the verb should be finite.
A sentence must have a ‘subject’
‘Go’ is an imperative sentence with an implied subject ‘You’
‘No’ is not a sentence because it is not a verb.


Shah says
September 1, 2020 @ 14:04

This is


Nishaaj says
October 9, 2020 @ 15:45

“Yes” is a sentence.


Vander says
October 28, 2020 @ 12:36

go is the worlds shortest sentence


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