Writing Complete Sentences

Although you would imagine that all writers know that it is important to write complete sentences. They do not always follow the rule.

That’s true. In fact, only one of the phrases above is a complete sentence. Which one? If you chose the second one, you are correct. The first one is a sentence fragment. Most of the time, it is obvious whether or not a phrase is a complete sentence. At other times, it may be a bit more difficult to tell.

A complete sentence does not need to be long. The following, for example, are complete sentences:

I am listening.

She is coming.

John is home.

He won.

It arrived.

What makes those very short sentences complete is the fact that they each have a subject and a predicate. Simply put, a subject is the who or what of a sentence. In other words, it designates who or what the sentence is about. The subjects of the sentences above are, in order, I, she, John, he, and it.

A predicate is what the subject did or does or will do or what happened to it or is happening to it or will happen to it. The predicates of those sentences above are, in order, am listening, is coming, is home, won, and arrived.

Sometimes, recognizing a complete sentence or differentiating between a subject and a predicate is not simple. In the case of the two phrases at the beginning of this essay, the first one is only a subject. It needs a predicate in order to be a complete sentence. Even though the second phrase is, in actuality, a complete sentence by itself, if it is added to the first phrase, a new, complete sentence is formed: Although you would imagine that all writers know that it is important to write complete sentences, they do not always follow the rule. In this case, the predicate, the part that indicates what is happening to the subject is do not always follow the rule. All of the words preceding that phrase make up the subject of the sentence.

So…how does this information help in terms of writing full sentences? The truth is, most of the time, you can tell, upon re-reading your writing, whether or not the sentences are complete. If you are not sure, then, by all means, look for the who or what (the subject) and the what happened or is happening or will happen to the subject (the predicate).

If you are still not sure about this or any other writing skill or if you want your paper to be professionally proofread or edited, then submit it to proof-reading.com.