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Author Topic: Is 'No' a complete sentence?  (Read 3782 times)

app103

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Is 'No' a complete sentence?
« on: September 03, 2006, 11:04:15 AM »
no.png

Interesting discussion on whether or not 'No' is a complete sentence.

http://www.everythin...ex.pl?node_id=588312

mouser

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Re: Is 'No' a complete sentence?
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2006, 11:09:39 AM »
i love debates like this, nice find app. www.everything2.com looks interesting too.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Is 'No' a complete sentence?
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2006, 11:14:49 AM »
Interesting discussion on whether or not 'No' is a complete sentence.

LOL .... Too much time on your hands April !!

Actually "Go!" isn't a complete sentence either because it could mean "Go away", "I go", "You go", "We go" or "They go" which are distinct different meanings - and a further part of the thought is required "I go to work." etc.

I would say both No! and Go! are exclamations which only have meaning in context.

KenR

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Re: Is 'No' a complete sentence?
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2006, 11:18:56 AM »
Interesting discussion on whether or not 'No' is a complete sentence.

I would say both No! and Go! are exclamations which only have meaning in context.

As Carol Haynes indicated, these would be exclamations. That being the case, however, I fail to see how that preclude them from being sentences and I was certainly taught that these ARE examples of one word sentences. Not that it matters, but in all likelihood, there would be a context in print for them.

Oh yes, and one more thing: a sentence requires a subject and a verb. The subject here would be implied as the receiver of the command. The verb, no, is a modification of "do not". As there is a subject and a verb, this IS a complete sentence.

Ken
Kenneth P. Reeder, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychologist
Jacksonville, North Carolina  28546
« Last Edit: September 03, 2006, 11:24:16 AM by KenR »

Carol Haynes

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Re: Is 'No' a complete sentence?
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2006, 11:32:01 AM »
To quote the Oxford English Dictionary:

Quote
6 a. A series of words in connected speech or writing, forming the grammatically complete expression of a single thought; in popular use often (= PERIOD n. 10), such a portion of a composition or utterance as extends from one full stop to another. In Grammar, the verbal expression of a proposition, question, command, or request, containing normally a subject and a predicate (though either of these may be omitted by ellipsis).

from www.oed.com


There are actually 9 full sections on sentences but this is the one that seems to get to the heart of what a sentence is.

On this basis "No!" seems an unlikely candidate for a sentence.

mouser

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Re: Is 'No' a complete sentence?
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2006, 11:40:24 AM »
It's a bit of a tough call, but i guess i'd put myself in the camp of "it can be considered a sentence", mostly on the basis of the first commentor's argument on that page, that a standalone "No." can be viewed as implying "It is not so."  While it doesn't make much sense out of context, the same could be said for many sentences.

KenR

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Re: Is 'No' a complete sentence?
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2006, 11:44:56 AM »
Well, if we are getting out our dictionaries, here's what Webster has to say about it:

Quote
Gram. a grammatical unit of one or more words, bearing minimal syntactic relation to the words that precede or follow it, often preceded and followed in speech by pauses, having one of a small number of characteristic intonation patterns, and typically expressing an independent statement, question, request, command, etc., as Summer is here. or Who is it? or Stop!

I would paricularly point out the intial part (one or more words) and the very  last example of a sentence they use "Stop!" which seems fairly consonant with "No!" to me.

Ken
Kenneth P. Reeder, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychologist
Jacksonville, North Carolina  28546

mouser

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Re: Is 'No' a complete sentence?
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2006, 11:52:06 AM »
yes, they do seem similar in spirit, though of course the argument that would be made against this reasoning is that "stop!" is a verb, and so can form a proper sentence, wheras "no" is not a verb.

KenR

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Re: Is 'No' a complete sentence?
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2006, 12:15:50 PM »
Actually, no can be a transitive verb as well as an intransitive verb.
Kenneth P. Reeder, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychologist
Jacksonville, North Carolina  28546

mouser

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Re: Is 'No' a complete sentence?
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2006, 12:47:19 PM »
This thread is the perfect place to post about one of my favorite language books of all time:

Fowler's Modern English Usage Dictionary (make sure you get 2nd edition not 3rd!)

http://www.amazon.co.../detail/-/0192813897

read some oft the comments on amazon for a flavor of why this is such a beloved book:
Quote
For me two things stand out in this much admired Second Edition: (1) the absolute delight one finds in the many pronouncements on language; and (2) the odd but satisfying mix of the old-fashioned prescriptive grammarian commingled with someone who disdains pedantry for its own sake, and condemns what is seen as unnecessarily purist. Perhaps more than anything what one loves about this book is Fowler's incisive dry wit.

again, make sure you order the 2nd edition! (H. W. Fowler, Ernest Gowers (Editor))

anyone else have favorite language websites/books?

app103

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Re: Is 'No' a complete sentence?
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2006, 01:34:19 PM »
A mandatory reference for any poet:

Quote
An easy-to-use, alphabetical guide for creating rhymes.
- Features 55,000 headwords with pronunciations at every entry
- Lists arranged alphabetically and by number of syllables
- Thousands of cross-references guide readers to correct entries



Carol Haynes

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Re: Is 'No' a complete sentence?
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2006, 02:55:00 PM »
Actually, no can be a transitive verb as well as an intransitive verb.

True - but I don't think in the context of a one word sentence. As a verb it is used to describe actions.

Here is the OED again (the definitive work on the English language - OK I know it doesn't apply to American's 'cos they don't really speak English :P)

Quote
no, v.

[< NO adv.2 Cf. earlier NAY v.]

    1. intr. To say no (to a person), to refuse approval.
1820 Blackwood's Mag. 8 271 Yes-ing and No-ing to the great man's will. c1843 W. L. REDE Our Village I. ii. 20 The more we keep on imploring, the more she keeps no, no, no-ing. 2001 N. WEINSTOCK As Long as she needs Me 140 There were days, entire years of his life, spent yessing and noing on the phone.

    2. trans. To answer (a person) with no, to reject (a person).
1835 Court Mag. 6 168/1 It is of the utmost importance..that you should No the world. 1965 D. IRELAND Chantic Bird vii 69 The ordinary bloke only gets these ideas when his woman Noes him.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2006, 02:57:19 PM by Carol Haynes »

KenR

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Re: Is 'No' a complete sentence?
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2006, 03:07:27 PM »
Actually, no can be a transitive verb as well as an intransitive verb.

True - but I don't think in the context of a one word sentence. As a verb it is used to describe actions.

No is, or a least can be describing an action. It is an action to desist as in the following text: "The baby crawled toward the edge of the table. Her mother, saw this and became quite alarmed. No! The baby stopped and oriented toward the mother who rushed to get her infant."

Ken
Kenneth P. Reeder, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychologist
Jacksonville, North Carolina  28546

Carol Haynes

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Re: Is 'No' a complete sentence?
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2006, 03:52:10 PM »
By that argument almost any exclamation can form a sentence - including non-words such as ARGHHHH !

Exclamations (including "No!") are contractions used in common speech.

The main thing is that sentences are a written construction. Speech rarely follows lterary convention being used in a much less structured and more flexible ungrammatical way.

Most examples of the use of "No!" are in the context of speech. It would rarely appear as a sentence in writing without speech associations or some for of qualification.

KenR

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Re: Is 'No' a complete sentence?
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2006, 05:41:51 PM »
By that argument almost any exclamation can form a sentence - including non-words such as ARGHHHH !

Here are my final thoughts on the matter:

App103s original question is "No!" a sentence is probably best answered by it can be. As I understand the English lanuage, as I stated earlier, this is the command form of the language. The subject (you) is implied by the individual speaking to whom the speaker is talking or to whom the speaker is commanding. If "no" means desist as in the example I gave, then it is a verb and then sentence, if in written form could be taken as "You stop" where there is a clear subject and verb.

When there is no subject and the verb is a non-word, it is a very different case. I already indicated, through referencing Webster's dictionary that No can be a verb, whether common or not. I also find this example very similar to the example of a one word sentence from Webster's dictionary "Stop!"

If my first example wasn't clear enough. Here's another. A would-be mugger/rapist moves toward a woman. She screams at him. No! The thug moves off concerned that her scream will bring unwanted attention. Here the implied subject is the thug. No, as in my previous example is used as desist, stop (like Webster uses), or quit. Hence, as in all the other examples I have given, we have a subject and a verb, the minimum requirement for a sentence, even though the subject is implied.

While this might be an unusual and perhaps an infrequent sentence in prose, that does not make it agrammatical or not a sentence since it meets the minimum requirements for a sentence (at least according to my and Webster's understanding of the language).

Ken
Kenneth P. Reeder, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychologist
Jacksonville, North Carolina  28546