Sentence fragments are an important idea to improve your writing. This lesson will show you how to avoid fragments in your writing, You can find the tests at the bottom of the page.
Sentence fragments do not contain a complete thought. They are a mistake in writing. Let’s start with an example:
- Although it was a beautiful day.
This is not a complete idea. It is called a sentence fragment. It is a mistake. You need more to make this a complete sentence. Here is the correct example:
- Although it was a beautiful day, I still stayed inside.
Here are a few more sentence fragments. Remember, they are mistakes.
- If I had a puppy.
- The most exciting day I have ever had.
- The children who live near the school.
Complete sentences need a subject and a verb. These are some example of complete sentences:
- I live in Toronto.
- She plays baseball.
- They are teachers.
Sentence fragments are missing the subject or the verb. Here are some more examples with explanations:
This sentence is only a subject:
- The dog.
That one seems easy. But look how only subjects can seem like sentences even though they are not:
- The first day I worked in that company.
- Most offices located on the second floor.
Those longer subjects seem like full sentences, but they are fragments. There is no action.
You can also be missing a subject:
- Buy a new computer.
That is easy but, again, look what happens when the actions are longer:
- Completed the report in time without any mistakes.
- Singing along with the rest of the choir.
These are long, but they don’t have a subject. Who is doing these actions? Who completed the report? Who is singing? They are sentence fragments and mistakes because they have no subject.
Every sentence needs a subject and a verb.
You can also make a mistake by thinking a dependent phrase is a complete sentence. It is not, so you end up with a fragment.
A dependent phrase is a part of a complete idea, but it needs more information. Look at these three examples:
- Since I arrived in Mexico.
- The last time I saw you.
- If you are ready to leave at 7:30 pm.
What happened since you arrived in Mexico? These examples are missing information. These are fragments. They need more information. Here are some common types of dependent phrases.
Sentences can start with time phrases, like these examples:
- Since 1987,
- When you told me,
Just remember they need more:
- Since 1987, I have lived in three different houses.
- When you told me, I changed my password.
Dependent phrases often set up a contrast:
- Although I don’t like pizza,
- Despite the cold weather,
Don’t forget the contrasting idea in the second part of the sentence:
- Although I don’t like pizza, I love cheese.
- Despite the cold weather, we still had the picnic.
Fixing the Problem
How can you fix sentence fragments? Add more information! If you are missing a verb, add a verb. If you are missing a subject, add a subject. For dependent phrases, add the independent clause.
Remember, it’s not how many words a sentence has that makes it complete. Full sentences have a subject and a verb. Full sentences have one complete idea. Follow those rules and you will never have sentence fragments mistakes again.
Sentence Fragments Test
Ready for some tests? Try these: