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Sentence Completion: Writing Review Study Guide

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Updated on Aug 25, 2011

Practice exercises for this concept can be found at Sentence Completion: Writing Review Practice Exercises.

One thing is certain. You can't have an essay without sentences. Aside from each individual word, the sentence is the most basic component of any essay. An essay composed of a bunch of lousy sentences is not going to be a good essay. That doesn't mean that if each of your sentences is fabulous, you automatically have an award-winning piece of writing. Of course, there's more to it than that. But the sentence is fundamental. Without sentences, you have no building blocks. You have no way of paving the road for your reader to follow.

What Makes a Sentence Complete?

A complete sentence must have two parts: the subject and the predicate.

The subject is what or who the sentence is about, and the predicate is what the subject is doing. So, generally speaking, the subject will be a noun and the predicate will be some kind of verb. Here are some sentences with the subject and predicate identified so you can get the idea.

SUBJECT PREDICATE
[Sally and I] (went) to the pool.
SUBJECT PREDICATE
[The cat] (jumped) onto the fence.
SUBJECT PREDICATE
[My sister] (is reading) a science fiction novel.
CAUTION!

More stylized writing will have incomplete sentences, but you shouldn't use them in a formal essay.

Sentence Fragments and How to Spot Them

The most common mistake that people make when forming sentences is leaving out either the subject or the predicate. If either the subject or the predicate is left out of a sentence, it's not complete. It's a sentence fragment. The good news is, once you are easily able to identify subjects and predicates in sentences, you'll be able to check for sentence fragments in your essay.

Pace Yourself

Write a whole paragraph using only sentence fragments. Show it to someone and see if he or she can understand what you wrote.

Sentence Completion Questions

Some tests you take may have some sentence completion questions that test your vocabulary and logic skills. A sentence completion question gives you a sentence with one or more words missing and then asks you to identify the missing word or words from a list of options. In general, to solve any sentence completion question, you will need to determine what word or words best fit in the given sentence. Don't worry, though. Each question will have clues to help you solve it. Here are the four types of sentence completion questions and some clues for each type.

Fuel For Thought

If there are five answer choices and you have to guess, you have a 20% chance of getting it right. If you eliminate one answer, your odds of picking the right answer go up to 25%. Eliminate another and your odds go up to 33.33%. Eliminate yet another and your odds jump to 50%.

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