Bethany is a certified Special Education and Elementary teacher with 11 years experience teaching Special Education from grades PK through 5. She has a Bachelor's degree in Special Education, Elementary Education, and English from Gordon College and a Master’s degree in Special Education from Salem State University.
Whether through blogs, on-line forums, or social media, we all communicate with strangers and friends in print. In a digital world full of internet slang and emoticons, it is tempting to take shortcuts in writing, assuming our readers will figure out our meaning.
But in professional and academic writing, and even in personal writing, the ability to write in complete sentences is a powerful tool. Complete sentences make us look and sound good and make it most likely that we actually say what we mean.
Let's explore the components of a complete sentence: the subject, predicate, punctuation, and capitalization.
The simple subject of the sentence is a noun (person, place, thing, or idea) or pronoun (word that replaces a noun: 'he', 'she', 'we', 'they', etc) that tells who or what the sentence is about.
- Jennifer cried.
The simple subject is ''Jennifer.''
- The phone rang.
The simple subject is ''phone.''
The complete subject of a sentence contains the simple subject, as well as any modifying words or phrases that go with it.
- The loudly ticking clock hung on the wall.
The complete subject is ''The loudly ticking clock.'' The simple subject is ''clock,'' which is described by ''The loudly ticking.''
Now, let's take a closer look at sentence predicate. There are two types here as well. The simple predicate of the sentence is a verb (word that shows action or being) that tells what the subject does or is.
- Marco sang.
The simple predicate is ''sang.''
- The new neighbor is friendly.
The simple predicate is ''is.''
The complete predicate of the sentence contains the verb and any modifiers. If the verb is an action verb, the predicate could also contain direct and indirect objects - words that receive the action of the verb. If the verb is a linking verb, the predicate contains the subject complements - adjectives or nouns that identify or rename the subject.
- Benjamin ate three cookies.
The simple predicate is ''ate.'' The complete predicate is ''ate three cookies.'' ''Cookies'' is the direct object, telling what was eaten, and ''three'' describes how many cookies.
- Susanna is Benjamin's mom.
The simple predicate is ''is.'' The complete predicate is ''is Benjamin's mom.'' The word ''mom'' is a subject complement. The word ''Benjamin's'' describes mom.
Capitalization & Punctuation
A complete sentence begins with a capital letter and ends with a punctuation mark. These are the sentence parts that we tend to skip, especially when texting, emailing, and commenting on social media.
But in writing, these two conventions help to shape the text. They tell us where one thought ends and another begins, and they make writing more visually appealing. Punctuation marks also add information about the tone and inflection of a sentence.
The first letter of the first word of a sentence must be capitalized. After that, the only words that should be capitalized are proper nouns such as the names of people and places.
We show that a sentence has ended with one of three punctuation marks: a period ( . ), question mark ( ? ), or exclamation mark ( ! ). The majority of sentences end in a period. Use a question mark if the sentence is asking a question. Exclamation points demonstrate strong emotion or emphasis. They're fun to use, but they should be used sparingly in academic and professional writing.
Mistakes to Avoid
Before we wrap this up, let's take a few moments to look at some common mistakes you should avoid when writing complete sentences.
1. Run-on Sentences
A run-on sentence occurs when two sentences are pushed together without the proper punctuation in between.
- Seth ate an apple it was juicy.
This sentence is a run-on. We could correct it by making it into two separate sentences:
- Seth ate an apple. It was juicy.
We could also combine the two sentences:
- Seth ate a juicy apple.
A fragment is a sentence that is missing either the subject or the verb.
- Ran a mile after work.
This fragment has no subject. We could correct it by adding a subject:
- Craig ran a mile after work.
- The shiny speedy black car.
This is a fragment without a verb. We can add a verb to make a complete sentence:
- The shiny speedy black car drove past my house.
Writing in complete sentences is a good way to increase the quality and credibility of your writing. A complete sentence contains a subject and predicate, begins with a capital letter, and ends with a punctuation mark.
The components we looked at included:
- Simple subjects, which are nouns or pronouns that tell who or what the sentence is about
- Complete subjects, which contain the simple subject, as well as any modifying words or phrases that go with it
- Simple predicates, which are verbs that tell what the subject does or is, and
- Complete predicates, which contain the verb and any modifiers
We finally learned that it's important to try to avoid run-on sentences, which occur when two sentences are pushed together without the proper punctuation in between, and sentence fragments, which are sentences that are missing either the subject or the verb. Now, you should be able to create complete sentences without a problem!
To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account
Register to view this lesson
Unlock Your Education
See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com
Become a Study.com member and start learning now.Become a Member
Already a member? Log InBack