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I understand that a finite verb serves as a 'direct link' between a subject and a predicate. I also understand the grammatical aspect of why a finite verb makes a sentence complete.

For instance, these sentences would make no sense:

  1. The car.
  2. The car driving.
  3. The car driving on the road.

However, with the presence of a finite verb, the sentence suddenly makes sense because the subject is now directly related to the predicate through time.

  1. The car drove.
  2. The car was driving.
  3. The car was driving on the road.

What I don't understand is the linguistic aspect of the importance of finite verbs. Is the requirement for finite verbs a cultural one or a logical one? Can a sentence be valid without the use of a finite verb?

Without any context, the above sentences can still mean something. To elaborate,

  1. The car. In our minds, we form an image of a car. However, it can be any car, wherever, whenever, and doing anything. We simply lack information, but can it still be construed as a complete sentence nonetheless?
  2. The car driving. Here, we do not have information about its location and when it occurred. Similarly, can this still be construed as a complete sentence?
  3. Lastly, "the car driving on the road" simply lack the information about when it occurred.

Can this be solved by adding the word "now" to the last sentence, as in "the car driving on the road now"? I can still see how this sentence is still grammatically incorrect, but logically the sentence still makes sense. We now have the subject's spatial, temporal, and verbal information. Why then, is the sentence still considered incomplete? Is there a missing piece of information that is required to logically complete the sentence, or is it simply incorrect because finite verbs have been a cultural requirement in linguistic through time?

  • "The car." could make perfect sense in context, for example in response to the question, "Do you want the car or the motorbike?" – nnnnnn Oct 18 at 3:46
  • The explicit verb is not always crucial to understanding. For example, I remark that in Russian there are common constructions of sentences with no present tense to be verb. Она врач, один из наших врачей. Translated literally: She doctor, one of our doctors – Anton Oct 18 at 7:13

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