Sentence fragmentsIntroduction
A complete sentence must have a subject and a verb. It should express a complete thought or idea. It is not unusual to see a word group which lacks either a subject or a verb and fails to express a complete thought. It is called a sentence fragment. A sentence fragment is only part of a sentence.[1] A sentence fragment can be caused by one of several reasons. If one recognize these, one will be able to avoid the mistakes in the writing. images.jpeg

Table of Contents

table.pngwriting-color.gif



Examples of sentence fragments:
1 Luis works in a video store. He enjoys the fringe benefits. For example, seeing the new movies first.
(This is one of the most common mistakes English-studying students will make. “seeing the new movies first is only part of the sentence. It lacks a subject and a real verb. We can correct it by adding the subject and verb he sees.)
2 Electronic devices keep getting smaller. Such as video cameras and cell phones. Some are so tiny they look like toys.
(In this example, the second part is a sentence fragment. It is not a compete sentence. It should be inserted into the preceding sentence and become part of it as the illustration.)

Four Types of Fragments Basically, there are four major types of sentence fragments:
  1. Missing-subjectfragments[2]
  2. –ing and to fragments [3]
  3. Added-detail fragments [4]
  4. Dependent-word fragments [5]

Next, these four types will be explained in detail. Once we understand what kinds of fragments we are likely to write, we should be able to eliminate the mistakes.
orangeusd-k12-ca-us-loving-writing.gif

1 Missing-subject fragments
When a sentence is included with verb but lacks the subject, it is a missing-subject fragment.
1.Fenny made an appointment with Lyle. Then never showed up.
2.After the party they had double the milkshakes. Also apple pie.
In the aforementioned two examples, the writer thought that the subject of the first part also applied to the second part. It does, but only when the second half joined into the first sentence by a conjunction, or simply write them in two separate sentences.[6]
So, the two examples can be corrected to
1Fenny made an appointment with Lyle, but she never showed up.
2 After the party they had double milk shakes and apple pies
Or,
1 Fenny made an appointment with Lyle. Then she never showed up.
2After the party they had double milkshakes. They also had apple pies.
To sum up, the ways to correct the missing-subject fragments are:
First, attach the fragment to the complete thought that precedes it;
second, add a subject. [7] 4.jpeg

2 –ing or to fragments When an –ing word appeared at or near the beginning of a word group, it usually generates a sentence fragment.[8]Such kind of sentence fragment often miss the subject and part of the verb, since the –ing word is not the real verb. The mistake is probably due to the misunderstanding that the subject in the preceding sentence also serves as the subject of the word group starts by –ing word. Here are some examples:

  • Linda walked all over the neighborhood yesterday. Trying to find her dog. Several people claimed they had seen it only few hours ago.
  • We sat back to watch the movie. Not expecting anything special. To our surprise, we clapped, cheered, and cried for the next two hours.
  • I telephoned the balloon store. It being the day before our wedding anniversary. I knew my wife would be surprised to receiver a dozen heart-shaped balloons.
Here are three ways to correct –ing fragments show follows: First, attach the fragment to the sentence that comes before it or comes after it.[9] So, the first example can be improved as “Linda walked all over the neighborhood yesterday, trying to find her dog.” Second, add a subject and change the –ing verb to the correct verb form.[10] So, the second example can be changed to We sat back to watch the movie. We did not expecting anything special.” Third, change being to the correct form of the verb be[11]So, the last one could be corrected to “I telephoned the balloon store. It was the day before our wedding anniversary.” tofragments are similar to the –ing fragments. It appears when to starts a word group. To correct a to fragment, one can just add the fragment to the preceding sentence. [12]


3 Add-detail fragments Details which are added to a sentence can also cause a sentence fragment. Here are some words students should pay attention to.[13] They often lead to add-detailed fragments. They are especially, except, particularly, in addition, including, not even, such as, for example. Let us see some examples of add-detail fragments. Abraham Lincoln saw violence as the supreme threat to America. Particularly war. To correct a fragment caused by added details, we can just attach the fragment to the previous sentence.[14] So, the example should be corrected as Abraham Lincoln saw violence as the supreme threat to America, particularly war.
When the detail is too long, it is also fine to make the fragment as a compete sentence stand by its own.For instance,[15]
Kelvin tends to antagonize people because he acts like a real asshole. Let’s say, never being on time, thinking and talking only about himself, interrupting others, and talking with his mouth full.
In this example, it is very difficult to insert the second sentence into the previous sentence. The best way to correct it is to add a subject and make it a sentence by its own.[16]
Kelvin tends to antagonize people because he acts like a real asshole. Let’s say, he is never on time, thinks and talks only about himself, interrupts others, and talks with his mouth full.


4 Dependent-Word fragmentsDependent-word fragments are triggered by the misuse of relative pronouns and subordinate conjunctions. When a word group starts with the dependent word and has only this part, then it is a fragment. Here is a list of such relative pronoun and subordinate conjunctions.[17]Relative pronoun: what, whatever, when, whenever, where, wherever, whether, which, whichever, while, who, whoever, whose. Subordinate conjunctions:after, although, though, as, because, before, even though, how, if, even if, in order that, since, that, so that, unless, until.
The easiest way but also the most effective one is to join the fragments with the previous sentence or the sentence that comes after it to create a sentence expressing a complete thought.[18] Look at the following fragments and their correctness respectively. 1. After I cashed my pay check. I treated myself to dinner. X
After I cashed my pay check, I treated myself to dinner. 3.png(The fragment has been joined to the sentence comes after.)
2. I won’t leave the house. Until I hear from you. X
I won’t leave the house, until I hear from you.(The fragment has been joined to the previous sentence.)

Tips Sentence fragments are one of the most common mistakes that students will make. Yet, it is not that difficult to avoid once you comprehend the specific classifications and the way to correct them. Now I would like to recommend some tips to check for the sentence fragments.
First of all, read whatever you write sentence by sentence out loud.[19]We can be more sensitive to the fragments by doing this. Second of all, consciously cultivate the ability to correct sentence fragments.[20]You can ask yourself whether the sentence contain a subject, a verb and has a complete idea that stands by its own.
Last, more specifically, look out for the signs for the most common fragments:After, because, since, when, -ing, to, such as, especially, etc.[21]


Sentences fragments VSMinor sentencesStudents should also aware of the difference between sentence fragments and minor sentence.
A fragment is by definition a non-sentence. A minor sentence, on the other hand, is a group of words or simply a word that is not a complete sentence, but is understandable in the context.[22]Questions and answers in our daily communication are usually minor sentences. For instance:
-What are you doing?-Nothing. (Minor sentence)
-I feel terrible today.-Why? (Minor sentence)
-Where did you go?-Out.(Minor sentence) images2.jpeg


Exercises
The sentences below appeared in papers written by students. Act as their editor, marking a C if the sentences in the group are all complete and an F if any of the sentences in the group is a fragment. Could you tell these writers why the fragments are incomplete sentences?
1. Then I attended Morris Junior High. A junior high that was a bad experience.
2. The scene was filled with beauty. Such as the sun sending its brilliant rays to the earth and the leaves of various shades of red, yellow, and brown moving slowly in the wind.
3. He talked for fifty minutes without taking his eyes off his notes. Like other teachers in that department, he did not encourage students' questions.
4. Within each group, a wide range of features to choose from. It was difficult to distinguish between them.
5. A few of the less serious fellows would go into a bar for a steak dinner and a few glasses of beer. After this meal, they were ready for anything.
6. It can be really embarrassing to be so emotional. Especially when you are on your first date, you feel that you should be in control.
7. The magazine has a reputation for a sophisticated, prestigious, and elite group of readers. Although that is a value judgment and in circumstances not a true premise.
8. In the seventh grade every young boy goes out for football. To prove to himself and his parents that he is a man.
9. She opened the door and let us into her home. Not realizing at the time that we would never enter that door in her home again.
10. As Christmas grows near, I find myself looking back into my childhood days at fun-filled times of snowball fights. To think about this makes me happy.
KEY
F1. Then I attended Morris Junior High. A junior high that was a bad experience. (dependent clause)
F2. The scene was filled with beauty. Such as the sun sending its brilliant rays to the earth and the leaves of various shades of red, yellow, and brown moving slowly in the wind.(dependent clause)
C3. He talked for fifty minutes without taking his eyes off his notes. Like other teachers in that department, he did not encourage students' questions.
F4. Within each group, a wide range of features to choose from. It was difficult to distinguish between them. (no main verb)
C5. A few of the less serious fellows would go into a bar for a steak dinner and a few glasses of beer. After this meal, they were ready for anything.
C6. It can be really embarrassing to be so emotional. Especially when you are on your first date, you feel like you should be in control.
F7. The magazine has a reputation for a sophisticated, prestigious, and elite group of readers. Although that is a value judgment and in circumstances not a true premise.(dependent clause)
F8. In the seventh grade every young boy goes out for football. To prove to himself and his parents that he is a man. (dependent clause)
F9. She opened the door and let us into her home. Not realizing at the time that we would never enter that door in her home again. (dependent clause)
C10. As Christmas grows near, I find myself looking back into my childhood days at fun-filled times of snowball fights. To think about this makes me happy.

External Links
More exercises, please go to:
**//http://owl.english.purdue.edu/exercises/5/18/38//**
**//http://owl.english.purdue.edu/exercises/5/18/39//**
**//http://owl.english.purdue.edu/exercises/5/18/40//**
**//http://www.cliffsnotes.com/study_guide/Quiz-Sentence-Fragments.topicArticleId-251364,articleId-251298.html//**
More about sentence fragment, please go to:
**//http://www.cliffsnotes.com/study_guide/Sentence-Fragments.topicArticleId-251364,articleId-251297.html//**
You may also be interested in these topics:
Comma splice, please go to:

http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/607/02/
Sentence structure, please go to:
http://xiamenwriting.wikispaces.com/comma+splice

Comma use, please go to:
http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/607/02/

Reference

[1][6][7][8][9][10][11][12]Winkler, Anthony C., and Jo Ray McCuen. Writing Talk: Paragraphs and Short Eassys with Reasings. Second ed. USA: Prentice-Hall, 1997.Print.

[2][3][4][5]J, Langan. Writing Skills With Readings. Suxth ed. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching And Research, 2007. Print.

[10][11][21][22]Messenger, William E., and Peter A. Taylor. Elements of Writing: A Process Rehtorical for Canadian Students. Scarborough: Prentice-Hall Canadian, 1984. Print.


[13][14][15][16][17]Beaufort, Anne. College Writing and Beyond: a New Framework for University Writing Instruction. Logan, UT: Utah State UP, 2007. Print.

[18][19][20][21]Björk, Lennart, and Christine Räisänen. Academic Writing: a University Writing Course. Lund: Studentlitteratur, 2009. Print.


Part of the earlier history: http://mand3222.wikispaces.com/page/history/home