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I am learning the concept of complete sentence. An ELL post (Is "It is" a complete sentence?) says

A complete sentence must contain at least one main clause that contains an independent subject and a finite verb and has a complete meaning.

which uses a term independent subject, what does that mean?

I searched on ELL and got only one hit, namely, that post itself.

I also searched on google, no luck.

So, what is an independent subject?

Note: I am aware of the concept of subject, I just don't know the term independent subject.

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  • The poster seems to have got the expression from the site he quotes,(www.chompchomp.com/terms/completesentence.htm) Mar 5, 2020 at 9:58
  • @KateBunting Yes. And I've gone through that site, didn't find a clear definition of independent subject.
    – WXJ96163
    Mar 5, 2020 at 10:05
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    The site just mentions 'an independent subject and verb', perhaps meaning that they are independent of one another. Don't get fixated on the phrase independent subject - it isn't helpful in understanding sentence construction. Mar 5, 2020 at 10:21
  • @KateBunting Thanks for a new aspect of reading that. And then that would lead me think about "what is the situation of dependent subject and verb".
    – WXJ96163
    Mar 5, 2020 at 10:27

1 Answer 1

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A complete sentence must contain at least one main clause that contains an independent subject and a finite verb and has a complete meaning.

It isn't clear, but I believe it is meant to refer to independent clauses.

A sentence can have multiple clauses, but it must have at least one main clause which should stand on its own as a complete statement.

For example:

I was late for work this morning because my alarm clock didn't go off.

In this sentence, there are two clauses. The main clause can stand on its own as an independent clause because it is a complete statement:

"I was late for work this morning".

The second clause is dependent on the other because it cannot stand on its own:

"...because my alarm clock didn't go off".

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  • I can't see the clause "My alarm clock didn't go off" cannot stand on its own, would you please explain more about this?
    – WXJ96163
    Mar 5, 2020 at 12:13
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    @WXJ96163 You've missed the word "because". You can't have the word "because" and not give a reason. You could write the sentence this way around: "Because my alarm clock didn't go off I was late for work". The first clause would still be dependent.
    – Astralbee
    Mar 5, 2020 at 13:25

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