Cleveland State University

The Writing Center

A Definition of a Complete Sentence

The Writing Center

A complete sentence has to have a subject and a verb, and the verb has to be a "finite":

A sentence with its main verb in an ‘-ing’ form will not be a complete sentence

*Marge swimming.

A sentence with its main verb in an infinitive form ("to" + verb) will not be a complete sentence.

*Homer to swim.

Complete sentences must be combined correctly if they are to continue to be complete sentences. The following methods will make two or more complete sentences into another complete sentence:

Use the coordinating conjunctions (connecting words) listed below with a comma.

Complete Sentence , and

but

for

or

nor

yet

so

Complete Sentence.

Use a semicolon between two complete sentences.

Complete Sentence ;

Complete Sentence.

Use the conjunctive adverbs (connecting words) listed below with a semicolon and a comma.

Complete Sentence ;

accordingly

also

besides

consequently

furthermore

however

moreover

nevertheless

otherwise

then

therefore

thus

still

, Complete    Sentence.

Use subordinating conjunctions (connecting words) listed below, but remember, subordinating conjunction + Complete Sentence = Dependent Clause/Incomplete Sentence

Basic Sentence Patterns

1. "Simple Sentence" straight through

Subject + Predicate

2. "Simple Sentence" linked with a semi-colon and transition

Subject + Predicate

;

Subject + Predicate.

3. "Simple Sentence" added info

Subject,

Added Information

, Predicate

 

4. "Simple Sentence" with series

Subject + Predicate

W, X, Y, and Z.

5. "Simple Sentence" with intro element

Introductory Element

,

Subject + Predicate.

6. "Compound Sentence"

Subject + Predicate,

and

but

for

or

nor

yet

so

Subject + Predicate.

6. "Complex Sentence" with a leading dependent clause

se the subordinating conjunction at the beginning of the first clause and use a comma:

After

AlthoughEven thoughThoughAs As ifAs thoughAs long asBecauseBeforeIf In order thatSo thatSinceSo (meaning so that)UnlessUntilWhateverWhenWheneverWhereWhereverWhether

While

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sentence ,

(without the subordinating conjunction this sentence would be a Complete Sentence; with the subordinating conjunction it is now a Dependent Clause)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Complete Sentence.

6. "Complex Sentence" with a following dependent clause

se the subordinating conjunction at the beginning of the second clause without a comma:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Complete Sentence

After

AlthoughEven thoughThoughAs As ifAs thoughAs long asBecauseBeforeIf In order thatSo thatSinceSo (meaning so that)UnlessUntilWhateverWhenWheneverWhereWhereverWhether

While

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sentence

(without the subordinating conjunction this sentence would be a Complete Sentence; with the subordinating conjunction it is now a Dependent Clause)

 

Questions, comments, and other sundry things may be sent to CSUwriting@csuohio.edu

 

The Writing Center

 

engaged learning
Mailing Address
Cleveland State University
Provost Office
2121 Euclid Avenue
RT Library 124
Cleveland, OH 44115-2214
Campus Location
Rhodes Tower 124
1860 E. 22 Street
Office Hours
Mon - Thurs : 9:30 am-7:00 pm
Fri : 9:30 am-4:00 pm

For appointments call:
216.687.6981
Dr. Mary McDonald
216.687.6982
Fax: 216.687.6943
Dr. Mary McDonald, Director


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