THE BLANK LINE TECHNIQUE Professor Peter Adams, who works in the English Department at Essex, offers this suggestion for creating complete sentences: Rei Noguchi has come up with a way of testing for sentences that my students love. Here it is. Don't worry about subjects, verbs, or complete thoughts. Just place the group of words on the blank line below: They refused to believe the idea that _________________________________________. If it makes sense on the blank line, it's a sentence (also called a complete thought, or an independent clause). If it doesn't, it's not a sentence, complete thought, or an independent clause. RECOGNIZING SUBORDINATING CONJUNCTIONS You might eliminate the use of fragments by recognizing some subordinate words, like subordinate conjunctions. When these words appear at the beginning of a phrase at the beginning of a sentence, they must be followed by a comma and a complete thought. Alone, phrases that begin with these words are usually not independent clauses. Here are some examples of subordinating conjunctions: after, although, as, as if, as long as, because, before, even though, if, once, since, though, unless, until, when, that Incorrect Examples-These ARE NOT complete sentences: As long as you live here. Because, I am the father. Although, I often arrive late to work. Since I have extra money. Correct Examples- These ARE complete sentences: As long as you live here, you will follow my rules. Because I am the father, I make the rules. Although I often arrive late to work, I usually stay later than my scheduled time, as well. Since I have extra money, I am going on vacation. In the correct examples above, phrases that begin with subordinating conjunctions are followed by a comma and a complete thought.