Last Chance! [Complete sentence?]

  • stez

    Senior Member
    english - australia
    What would you say about "Want some cake?":)
    Our expectations of sentences are usually modeled on written syntactical norms where we would see full subject and predicate. Conversational utterances often leave much to be understood. 'Want some cake?' lacks a subject and is thus, technically, fragmentary.
     
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    JamesM

    Senior Member
    "Last chance!" could be an interjection or an exclamation but I wouldn't call it a complete sentence. That's not to say that people always speak in complete sentences. :)
     

    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    I suppose I've spent too many years correcting the kinds of sentence fragments that require incorporation into a complete sentence before they make any grammatical sense at all::(

    John was hungry. Having gone without lunch. Whereas there was no reason he couldn't have eaten a sandwich at his desk.

    By comparison, "Last chance!" and "Want some cake?" are in a different category.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    Agreed, but that category wouldn't be "complete sentence", would it? It's not that they are unacceptable. There are many short exclamations that are very useful, such as "Why now?" :) I wouldn't mark that as wrong in an essay, but it wouldn't count as an example of a complete sentence on an exam, in my opinion.
     
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    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    I think we're debating what a complete sentence is without having defined "complete sentence.":) If the technical definition is what stez gave in post #3--a sentence with a full subject and predicate--then a case could be argued that "Please don't touch anything on that plate" is also not a complete sentence, since the subject "you" is omitted but understood.

    I suspect there are different definitions of "complete sentence" out there, but the logic I'm going by is the kind described here: http://libweb.surrey.ac.uk/library/skills/Grammar Guide Leicester/page_02.htm
     

    stez

    Senior Member
    english - australia
    Hi artichoke, I would say that your example, notwithstanding the 'please', is an imperative. The subject is not expressed in imperatives - they are a different type of sentence and are not considered incomplete.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    I think we're debating what a complete sentence is without having defined "complete sentence.":) If the technical definition is what stez gave in post #3--a sentence with a full subject and predicate--then a case could be argued that "Please don't touch anything on that plate" is also not a complete sentence, since the subject "you" is omitted but understood.

    I suspect there are different definitions of "complete sentence" out there, but the logic I'm going by is the kind described here: http://libweb.surrey.ac.uk/library/skills/Grammar Guide Leicester/page_02.htm
    The logic described there includes:

    A complete sentence always contains a verb, expresses a complete idea and makes sense standing alone.
    So, "Want some cake?" would qualify under that definition but "Last chance!" wouldn't.
     

    crotuca

    New Member
    English
    Our expectations of sentences are usually modeled on written syntactical norms where we would see full subject and predicate. Conversational utterances often leave much to be understood. 'Want some cake?' lacks a subject and is thus, technically, fragmentary.
    What you say is usually true. Not all sentences have a subject, however: for example, "Stop!"
     
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