What makes a complete sentence?

Grammar Tutorial

What makes a complete sentence?


Recognizing a complete sentence is the first step to correctly adding punctuation to it.
The three basic elements of a complete sentence are easy to learn.

Sample Problem

When I found out about my friend’s problem.
Is this a complete sentence? No, this is a fragment of a sentence. It begins with a conditional word that will always make the sentence incomplete unless it also has a clause that completes the meaning.


When I found out about my friend’s problem (add a comma here followed by a complete clause)

When I found out about my friend’s problem, I telephoned her immediately.

I telephoned her immediately is a complete clause because it contains a subject (I) and a verb (telephoned) and a completion of thought (immediately).

When I found out about my friend’s problem is simply an introductory and must always be followed by a complete and independent clause. An independent clause will always have a subject and a verb and (to make the information more clear) it should have a word or two that helps us know about when or how the action took place. In this case, the word immediately.

About The Author

English Instructor In Writing And Grammar And All
I love teaching English! I believe learning should be enjoyable and useful. As a certified instructor, my teaching includes college as well as elementary students. I am uniquely qualified to teach writing and English grammar because I am a published writer and a retired newspaper syndicate edit...
4 Subjects
KnowRo Tutor
1 Tutorial
Clovis, CA
Get Tutoring Info

Suggested Tutors for Grammar Help

Bridget S

Arlington, VA

Humanities, Language, And Organizational Support

Sophia G

Washington, DC

General Tutor

Khoi T

Mclean, VA

Math, Writing, And SAT Tutor

Emily V

Alexandria, VA

Versatile And Flexible Tutor