Complete sentence or a fragment

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Sentence

⭕ Complete sentence or a fragment? ⭕

Sentences are used to express thoughts, many errors can occur when writing sentences. Hence, sentences are the pillar of all writing, especially essays. Learning the basic sentence form involves making sure that you understand what a sentence is and what parts must be included to create and write a complete sentence.

A sentence is a group of words that:

  • Tells a complete thought.
  • Tells who or what the sentence is about. 
  • Tells what happened.
  • Begins with a capital letter.
  • Ends with a punctuation mark, either a period [ . ], question mark [ ? ], or exclamation point [ ! ].

Ex:

-The girls are washing the dishes.

⭕ This group of words tells you that there are some girls. It tells you what the girls are doing. It tells a complete thought. It is a complete sentence!

-Miguel’s team won the game!

⭕ This group of words tells you that there is a boy named Miguel. He is on a team. It tells you who won the game. It tells a complete thought. It is a complete sentence!

-The kitten played with the yarn.

⭕ This group of words tells you about the kitten. It tells you what the kitten did. It tells a complete thought. It is a complete sentence!

When you speak or write use complete sentences! Your message may not be clear if you use sentences that are not complete. A complete sentence has two parts, a subject and a predicate.

Think of it like this:

SUBJECT + PREDICATE = COMPLETE SENTENCE

The subject tells who or what the sentence is about. It can be one word, or more than one word.

The predicate tells what the subject does. It is the action.

Keep this important point in your mind: Without a subject and a predicate, a sentence is not a complete sentence.


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.

A fragment is a group of words that:

  • Is missing the who, what, or what happened.
  • Does not express a complete thought.
  • Is not a sentence.

⚠ If a sentence is missing one of those things, it’s a fragment.

Ex:

-The waves at the beach.

⭕ Who? The waves at the beach. What are they doing? We don’t know! This is not a complete sentence! This group of words tells the who, but does not tell what happened. This group of words  is a fragment.

-Is flapping in the wind.

⭕ Who? We don’t know! What is it doing? Flapping in the wind. This group of words tells what happened, but does not tell who it happened to. This group of words is a fragment. 

-Because my math homework is taking every waking hour.

⭕ No completed idea.  Because of this, what? Just because a group of words begins with a capital and ends with a period doesn’t mean it is a complete sentence!

Sentences are the backbone of all writing, especially essays. The best tip for finding fragments in your essays or writings, read your essay out loud from end to beginning (last sentence to first). This might sound strange at first, but it really works! Reading our sentences out of logical order forces our brains to read our words out of context; this causes us to really see if what we have written expresses a complete idea. Give it a try. You’ll see that it works.

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⭕Now that you’ve learned about complete and incomplete sentences, it’s time to get tested by taking the quiz below. Good Luck!


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