A Straight Dope Classic from Cecil's Storehouse of Human Knowledge

Is "I am" the shortest English sentence?

May 29, 1998

Dear Cecil:

A page of fun facts making the rounds says "I am" is the shortest complete sentence in English. Can this be true?

Cecil replies:

No.

You object: "No" isn't a sentence! A sentence needs a predicate!

Oh, OK. Ready?

Go.

You object again: That's cheating! The subject is only implied! Who could possibly call that a sentence?

I.

Yeah, right, you say. And we're supposed to just take your word for it?

!

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