Sentence Fragments

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify sentence fragments.
  • Correct sentence fragments.

LESSON
In this lesson, you will learn how to identify and correct sentence fragments. A fragmentA grammatical error that occurs when a sentence is missing either a subject or a predicate, making it incomplete. is a grammatical error that occurs when a sentenceA group of words, phrases, or clauses that expresses a complete thought. A complete sentence has these characteristics: a capitalized first word, a subject and a predicate, and end punctuation, such as a period (.), question mark (?), or exclamation mark (!). is missing either a subjectIn grammar, a part of speech that refers to the “doer” in the sentence (who or what). A subject is usually a person, place or thing. or a predicatePart of a sentence or a clause that has a verb and any modifiers or objects. Example: The girl went for a walk. The subject is the girl. The predicate is went for a walk., making it incomplete. Sentences are made of clausesA group of words in a sentence that contains a subject and a predicate.. These include independent clausesPart of a sentence that contains a subject and a predicate and can stand on its own as a complete sentence. Example independent clause: The boy ate the freshly picked apple with delight. The subject is the boy, the predicate is the verb ate, plus the modifiers the freshly picked apple with delight. and dependent clausesPart of a sentence that contains a subject and a verb but is unable to stand on its own because it is incomplete in some way. Example of a dependent clause: Because it was a freshly picked apple, the boy ate it with delight. In this sentence, Because it was a freshly picked apple is a dependent clause. It has a subject (it) and a verb (was), but it cannot stand on its own without the second part of the sentence..

An independent clause contains a subject and a predicate (a verbA part of speech that refers to what is happening, the action, what the subject is doing, or how it is “being.” Examples include: sleep, to be, think. plus any modifiersA word or phrase that changes or specifies the meaning of another word, usually the subject or the verb. Example: The red ball quickly bounced over the fence. The adjective red modifies the subject, the ball. Also, the adverb quickly modifies the verb bounced. explaining what the subject does) and can stand on its own as a complete sentence. For example, consider the sentence, I love the sound of birds chirping. The subject is I. The predicate is the verb love, plus the modifiers the sound of birds chirping.

Dependent clauses are unable to stand on their own as sentences because they are incomplete in some way. Although a dependent clause contains a subject and a predicate, the meaning of the dependent clause is completed with (or depends on) the remainder of the sentence.  

You can often identify sentence fragments by reading them out loud. If you cannot find a subject, predicate, or both, the sentence is a fragment. You can correct it by including what is missing.

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