Complete Sentences Exercise

Complete Sentence Exercise

by Deb Brammer

 

This test will tell you if you understand what a complete sentence is. Jot down the number of each sentence you think is a complete sentence.

 

1. On one side of the field runners stretching before the race, spectators talking noisily, kids running around as they waited for the race.

2. The phone continually ringing, with people wondering what time the activity begins.

3. Composed of all kinds of students, many who had never studied music before.

4. On the icy road where the snow plow had not plowed yet, another accident waiting to happen.

5. Tell me something I don’t know.

6. A large golden retriever, sitting in the sun, panting heavily.

7. Palm branches waving in the breeze, welcoming tourists to the resort.

8. An eight-year-old kid with an attitude problem.

9. The sick, rancid stink of moldy yogurt that makes you gag and makes you feel sick even when you thought you were hungry.

10. Help me by telling me when my sentences are incomplete.

11. The largest, bounciest, most obnoxious dog I have ever seen.

12. Great waves of water, lapping to and fro on the sand, eroding the beach little by little.

13. I’m sure I’m right.

14. Duck!

15. Like the first crocuses that peek through the snow.

 

Now check your answers. Only these are complete sentences: 5, 10, 13, 14.

 

15 correct and sure of your answers: Find something better to worry about. You don’t have any trouble with complete sentences.

13-14 correct and fairly sure of your answers: You could use more confidence. Continue reading.

Less than 13 correct and feel quiet unsure about the whole thing: Continue reading. This problem may be keeping you from expressing the wonderful things you have hidden inside of you. Work through each number below and work to understand what makes a complete sentence. You can master this if you keep working at it.

 

Compare the incomplete sentences above with complete sentence alternatives below. What changed in each sentence to make it complete?

 

1. On one side of the field runners stretched before the race, spectators talked quietly, and kids ran around as they waited for the race.

2. The phone rang continually with people wondering what time the activity begins.

3. The class was composed of all kinds of students. Many had never studied music before.

4. On the icy road where the snow plow had not plowed yet, another accident was waiting to happen.

OR

 On the icy road where the snow plow had not plowed yet, another accident waited to happen.

5. Complete.

6. A large golden retreiver, sat in the sun, panting heavily.

OR

A large golden retriever was sitting in the sun panting heavily

7. Palm branches waved in the breeze, welcoming tourists to the resort.

OR

Palm branches were waving in the breeze, welcoming tourists to the resort.

8. He was an eight-year-old kid with an attitude problem.

9. It was the sick, rancid stink of moldy yogurt that makes you gag and makes you feel sick even when you thought you were hungry.

10. Complete.

11. It was the largest, bounciest, most obnoxious dog I have ever seen.

12. Great waves of water, lapped to and fro on the sand, eroding the beach little by little.

13. Complete.

14. Complete.

15. Like the first crocuses that peek through the snow.

 

If you’re still having trouble, shorten each line of writing to its basic structure (subject and verb) with just a few other words. Take out adjectives that describe nouns. Take out adverbs that describe verbs. Take out prepositional phrases that start with prepositions (like at, by, in, on, under, of, to, about, before, after, etc.) Then look at the basic sentence and see if it sounds like a complete thought.

 

1. Runners stretching, spectators talking, kids running as they waited.

2. The phone ringing, with people wondering.

3. Composed of all kinds of students.

4. Where the snow plow had not plowed yet, another accident waiting.

5. Tell me.

6. A retriever, sitting, panting.

7. Palm branches waving, welcoming tourists.

8. A kid.

9. The stink that makes you gag and makes you feel sick.

10. Help me.

11. The dog I have ever seen.

12. Waves, lapping, eroding the beach.

13. I’m sure I’m right.

14. Duck!

15. Like the crocuses that peek.

 

If this is a big problem for you, don’t give up. Write something each week and have someone you trust point out the incomplete sentences. Then work to change them.  In time you can develop an ear for complete sentences and they won’t give you problems anymore.