Eliminate incomplete sentences from your writing

June 30, 2013pdf

We have already learned that a sentence must have a subject and a finite-verb of its own. An independent clause can make a sentence because it has a subject and a verb. Phrases, on the other hand, cannot be sentences.

A phrase is a group of words that does not have a subject or a verb. A phrase can consist of any number of words; however, most phrases are not all that long.

Students sometimes mistake phrases for sentences. Examples are given below.

  • I think that the new shopping mall will bring many benefits. For example, more jobs and economic development.

Here the group of words ‘for example, more jobs and economic development’ is a phrase. It cannot make a sentence.

It should, therefore, be attached to the previous sentence.

  • I think that the new shopping mall will bring many benefits, for example, more jobs and economic development.

We can convert a phrase into a clause by supplying a suitable subject and verb.

Consider the example given below.

  • I think that the new shopping mall will bring many benefits. For example, it will create more jobs and economic development.

Another example is given below.

  • I support the decision to build a new theater. To improve the economy and entertain people.

Consider the group of words ‘to improve the economy and entertain people’. Although it contains the verb ‘to improve’, it cannot be a clause because infinitives are non-finite verbs.

Therefore, the sentence should be rewritten as:

  • To improve the economy and entertain people I support the decision to build a new theater.
Free Grammar Guide: "120 Deadly Grammar and Vocabulary Mistakes."