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.

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