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Teacher Tips and Answers

Writing Complete Sentences

painting blue

All sentences must have a subject and a verb and express a complete thought.

Emily climbed a ladder.

      (The subject is Emily—what the sentence is about. The verb is climbed—what Emily did.)

A sentence fragment occurs when a group of words is missing a subject or verb (or both) or doesn't express a complete thought.

While she painted the wall.

      (These words have a subject (she) and a verb (painted) but do not express a complete thought. What happened while she painted?)

While she painted the wall, she spilled some blue paint on the ground.

      (The incomplete thought is joined to a complete sentence.)

At first glance, a fragment may look like a complete sentence because it starts with a capital letter and ends with period. However, on closer inspection, you'll see something essential is missing—a subject, a verb, or a complete thought.

Cleaned up the mess with a rag and soap.

      (Who cleaned up the mess? The fragment is missing a subject.)

Emily cleaned up the mess with a rag and soap.

      (A subject is added to create a complete sentence.)

Find subjects and verbs.

Read each sentence. Write down its subject and verb. Make a copy of this Google doc.

  1. The ladder wobbled.

    Subject?

    ladder

    Verb?

    wobbled

  2. Emily descended one step.

    Subject?

    Emily

    Verb?

    descended

  3. She sighed with relief.

    Subject?

    She

    Verb?

    sighed

  4. The wobbling stopped.

    Subject?

    wobbling

    Verb?

    stopped

  5. She dipped the roller in blue paint.

    Subject?

    She

    Verb?

    dipped

  6. Drops dribbled off the roller.

    Subject?

    Drops

    Verb?

    dribbled

  7. She painted the wall with smooth strokes.

    Subject?

    She

    Verb?

    painted

  8. A cloud might have rolled outside the window.

    Subject?

    cloud

    Verb?

    might have rolled

  9. When she glanced outside, Emily saw a bird fly by.

    Subject?

    Emily

    Verb?

    saw

  10. The robin swooped into a bird feeder. 

    Subject?

    robin

    Verb?

    swooped

Fix fragments.

Read each sentence fragment. Use your imagination to create a sentence, adding a subject or verb or complete thought. Make a copy of this Google doc.

dog barking at Earth
  1. On the camping trip, Theo.

    (Answers will vary.) On the camping trip, Theo slept in a tent.

  2. Roasted marshmallows under the stars.

    (Answers will vary.) He roasted marshmallows under the stars.

  3. To cool off a flaming marshmallow.

    (Answers will vary.) To cool off a flaming marshmallow, Theo blew as hard as he could.

  4. Helped him pitch the tent.

    (Answers will vary.) His mom helped him pitch the tent.

  5. When it started to rain.

    (Answers will vary.) When it started to rain, they raced into the tent.

  6. Dreamed he was sleeping on the moon.

    (Answers will vary.) Theo dreamed he was sleeping on the moon.

  7. When he woke up

    (Answers will vary.) When he woke up, he wasn't sure where he was.

  8. Glanced out the tent and saw it.

    (Answers will vary.) He glanced out the tent saw it.

  9. A shooting star.

    (Answers will vary.) A shooting star dashed over the night sky.

  10. After the sun rose.

    (Answers will vary.) After the sun rose, Theo and his mom made breakfast.

Write complete sentences.

Write four complete sentences about a great outdoor adventure. Underline each subject once.  Underline each verb twice if you are working on a printed copy. Make the verb bold if you are working on your computer. Check to make sure each sentence expresses a complete thought.

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