Complete Sentence: Examples & Definition

Complete Sentence: Examples & Definition
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  • 0:05 Definition of Complete…
  • 1:18 Examples of Complete Sentences
  • 1:46 Examples of Fragments
  • 2:46 Examples of Run-On Sentences
  • 3:55 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Susan Nami

Susan has taught middle school English for five years and has a master's degree in teaching.

Although it seems simple, writing in complete sentences is a necessity that can trip up even seasoned writers. In this lesson, we will examine how to write in a complete sentence and why it is so important.

Definition of a Complete Sentence

A complete sentence contains a subject and a predicate. First, let me clarify some of these terms. A subject is the main noun or pronoun that the sentence is about. The predicate contains the main verb that either demonstrates the subject's action or is linking the subject to another noun or adjective in the predicate (as in a linking verb). Not only does the predicate contain the verb, but it also contains complements, which are any words that modify or accompany the verb. In order for a sentence to be complete, it must have at least one subject and one predicate. Another word for a complete sentence is an independent clause.

The opposite of a complete sentence would be an incomplete sentence, or a fragment. Usually, a fragment is missing one of these necessary components (a subject or a verb) and is not an independent or complete thought. It generally doesn't make any sense. In addition, another opponent to the complete sentence is the run-on sentence. Unlike the fragment, the run-on contains both a subject and a verb; however, it usually consists of multiple sentences crammed together. It goes on and on and on without proper punctuation or conjunctions to help join ideas.

Examples of Complete Sentences

I love writing in complete sentences.

The subject is 'I. '

The predicate is 'love writing in complete sentences.'

The main verb is 'love.'

Let's look at another one.

Complete sentences are important in writing.

The subject is 'complete sentences.'

The predicate is 'are important in writing.'

The main verb is 'are.'

Now, let's looks at some incomplete sentences.

Examples of Fragments

Writing in complete sentences.

This sentence is a fragment because it is missing a subject or a predicate. This fragment could work as part of the predicate (as in 'I am writing in complete sentences') or as the subject ('Writing in complete sentences is important').

Important in writing.

This is not a sentence. Besides the fact that there is no verb, it just doesn't make any sense. What is important in writing? Why? It doesn't make sense because it is missing 'something,' which is the predicate or verb.

Complete sentences are.

Are what? This sentence technically has a main noun ('sentences') and a verb ('are'), but it is lacking the rest of its predicate. Since 'are' is a linking verb that links the subject to a noun or adjective in the predicate, it needs that word to follow 'are' in order to be a complete sentence. It needs a complement.

Examples of Run-on Sentences

Unlike the fragment, a run-on sentence has a subject and a predicate, but it often has too many joined together without proper punctuation or conjunctions. There are two sentences in this one sentence.

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