In an earlier posting, I discussed what elements need to be present for a sentence to be born in English. However, it’s a little misleading to say that a sentence is created whenever a subject, verb and completed thought come together.
This may sound silly, but you still need a period to make a completed grouping of words into a sentence. When you string together subject, verb and complete thought in English, what you really end up with is called an [tag]independent clause[/tag]. Add a period to an independent clause, and it becomes a sentence. However (and this is a pretty big however), a sentence normally contains more than just one independent clause. It may also contain dependent clauses, various phrases, parenthetical thoughts, and yes, even more independent clauses.
Consider these four independent clauses: | I got up | I took a shower | I ate breakfast | I went to work |. You could indeed convert each one of them into a sentence, but you’d sound like a doofus if you made every independent clause into a sentence. More likely, the speaker/writer in this case would start combining these four independent clauses. "I got up, took a shower, ate breakfast and went to work" would be one way to do this, but there are a slew of other possibilities.
Stay tuned. Tomorrow we’ll study those possibilities as I present the five rules for dealing with independent clauses in English.