Foundational Knowledge: Complete Sentences

Ubiquitous building blocks of communication

Derby Roan, Managing Editor

What starts with a capital letter, contains a subject and verb and ends in a punctuation mark?
If you said a complete sentence, you’re on the right track.
Sentences are a key to good communication. When structured properly, they express thoughts and feelings that we want others to understand.
But when sentences go wrong, the results can be confusing to say the least. An incomplete sentence is called a fragment. Which isn’t cool. Notice that the previous sentence has no subject or verb. That makes it a fragment. To spot a fragment, say “it is true that” before reading your sentence.
“It is true that which isn’t cool” doesn’t make sense.
“It is true that I used a fragment” does make sense; so, “I used a fragment” is a complete sentence.
Another incorrect sentence is a run-on it is two complete thoughts that aren’t separated by punctuation. I hope you noticed that the previous sentence was a run-on. Those are pretty easy to correct. Just separate them by a period or a comma and conjunction.
Another type of run-on is a comma splice, that’s when you separate two complete sentences with only a comma. That problem can be fixed in the same way as any other run-on.
Make sure you’re communicating clearly by using complete sentences. They’re your best friends in composition class and in scholarship essays.

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