Grammar

Sentence Fragment: Examples and Corrections

Can you tell what a sentence fragment is? It is important to make good use of a whole sentence...

Hristina Yordanova Written by Hristina Yordanova · 3 min read >
sentence fragment

Can you tell what a sentence fragment is? It is important to make good use of a whole sentence when writing and avoid using a sentence fragment.

Contrary to what some professionals would have you believe, everyone can end up writing in sentence fragments. Yes, this kind of poor construction is not limited to amateurs and less skilled non-writer folks.

What is a Sentence Fragment?

In English grammar, a fragment is a group of words that starts with a capital letter and ends with a period, question mark or exclamation mark, but is grammatically incomplete. Also known as a sentence fragment, a verb-less sentence. Sentence fragments are groups of words that look like sentences but are not.

Uses of Sentence Fragments

Although fragments are usually treated as grammatical errors (or punctuation errors) in traditional grammar, they are sometimes used by professional writers for emphasis or other stylistic effects.

So for it to be a sentence, groups of words must at least have one independent clause.  Independent clauses are any group of words that contains both a subject and a verb and can stand alone. we can take this example, “I like bread”  is an Independent clause.

While dependent clauses are clauses that cannot stand alone as a complete sentence because they can not express a complete idea. Like all clauses, a dependent clause has a subject and a verb.

Sentence fragments do not have independent clauses but are instead dependent clauses or sentences. Fragments can disguise themselves as real sentences because they start with a capital letter and end with a period. If you read them carefully, you will find that fragments do not form a complete thought.

Fragmented sentences are a bit like putting only half of the pieces together to form a puzzle. Without all the pieces, you don’t have the whole picture.

How do you identify sentence fragments?

Put them to a simple test to detect sentence fragments.

  1. Do the sentences have a verb?
  2. Do the sentences have a subject?
  3. Do the sentences make sense if it stands alone?

If your answer is “no” to any of the above questions, then you have a fragment.

There are two usual ways to fix it:

  1. Add a comma and connect it to the sentence, either before or after the sentence. Do this only if the resulting sentence does not become too long.
  2. Add the necessary subject or verb to the construction and make it a separate sentence.

Difference between fragments and sentences

What is a sentence?

A sentence is a collection of words that conveys a complete idea. It contains a subject and a predicate. It can be as short as two words, but it can also contain a whole paragraph. Also, Sentences can be divided into several types depending on their structures.

Simple sentences: A sentence that contains a single independent clause.

Example:

He ate rice.

The child ran fast.

John didn’t go to class on Friday.

What is a fragment?

As we defined it early that it is a collection of words used as a sentence, but does not express an overall idea. Despite the fact that we often use fragments in spoken language, they frown upon written language. In composed language, fragments are considered to be errors.

Examples of fragments are:

Because Rita was a good reporter.  

And talked with the poor people to support them.  

The young lady sitting on the chair, wearing a neon blue t-shirt.

After he talked to me.

How can you complete a sentence fragment?

These are some examples of the  sentence fragments with the missing subject:

– “cried with her uncle. (Who cried with her uncle?)

 Complete sentence: Joy cried with her uncle.

– Suggested another week of training. (Who suggested another week of training?)

Complete sentence: The sports teacher suggested another week of training.

– Drank the whole carton of milk in one go. (Who drank the  whole carton of milk in one go?)

My younger brother drank the whole carton of milk in one go.

These are examples of the sentence fragments with the missing predicate:

-The city with good streets. (What about the city with good streets?)

Correct way: The city with good street lights had finally repaired its streets.

-The blue cat with yellow eyes. (What about the blue cat with yellow eyes?)

Correct way: The blue cat with yellow eyes has been our pet since John was ten years old.

-The man that gave a long introduction in class (What about the man that gave a long introduction in class?)

Correct way: The man who gave a long introduction in class actually introduced a high personality from the media.

What is a sentence fragment example?

– A day to remember

– This could be corrected as follows: The last time I ate rice on the deck of Titanic was a day to remember.

– Seeing him again

– Seeing john again reminds me I shouldn’t eat rice.

For example, fire! (This fragment contains no theme. It’s short for “There’s a fire!”)

Example: Can you see that? Not really! (“Not really!” does not contains neither a verb nor a subject “Not really!” can be used as a sentence for stylistic reasons, but we can usually avoid this during  informal writing).

Example: We can have more food later. When John come back. (“When John come back” is not a complete thought,  For stylistic reasons the sentences are broken into two parts here).

Example: Because John said so. (It is not a complete thought, it does not contain an independent clause).

When I  got in the Van,

I rolled down the windows.

‘When I got in the Van’ is a dependent clause( clauses that cannot stand alone).  It clearly belongs to the independent clauses that follow it and should be rewritten.

When I got in the Van I rolled down the windows.

Or like this:

We rolled down the windows when we got in the car.

Written by Hristina Yordanova
Hristina Yordanova has a Cambridge CPE certification in English and is now pursuing her International Journalism for Media Professionals at the Edinburgh Napier University. She regularly contributes to Cryptopolitan.com and EnglishForward.com from their inception. Her well-written perceptive articles have attracted a steady audience. Profile

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