What is a Fragment?

A fragment is an incomplete sentence: it lacks either a subject, a verb, or both. Most fragments need to add a conjunction or to delete a preposition to become a complete sentence. A complete sentence has:

  • A subject: the actor in the sentence.
  • A verb: the action posed by the subject.
  • A complete thought: it makes sense; it can stand alone.

Examples of Fragments:

  • After the rain stops. (What will happen?)
  • Since you asked the question. (You receive an answer?)
  • If you want to come with me. (What should I do?)
  • For the player to score. (What does he have to do?)

These sentences are incomplete because of the conjunctions/prepositions they use at the beginning: after, since, if, for.

How to find and fix fragments:

To eliminate fragments, writers should either delete these conjunctions/prepositions or join the fragments with other clauses to indicate a logical relationship.

  • After the rain stops, John will ride his bike.
  • Since you asked the question, an expert will come over to answer it for the whole class.
  • If you want to come with me, you must be prepared to bring your passport.
  • For the player to score, he must receive the pass in a split of a second.

A checklist to remember:

  1. Remember the basics: subject, verb, complete thought.
  2. If you have a conjunction, identify which part goes with it; that is the dependent clause.
  3. Make sure the dependent clause (incomplete thought) is attached to an independent clause (complete thought).

Because his car was in the shop (Dependent clause) + John took the bus (Independent clause) = Because his car was in the shop, John took the bus.

Kaylan | 2016

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