Fragments happen when you punctuate an incomplete sentence as if it is complete. This can distract your reader, and reduce your credibility as a writer. Let’s work on identifying and fixing these grammar no-nos!

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:

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


After the rain stops. (What will happen?)

Since you asked the question. (You received 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 | 2019

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