A simple complete sentence consists of a subject and a predicate.

A fragment sentence is an incomplete sentence, which lacks a predicate, a subject, or both a subject and a predicate.  It is a section of a sentence and has no meaning when standing alone; for example, a subordinate or dependent clause.

 

Fragments result if you punctuate certain phrases such as participial, gerund, appositive, prepositional, and infinitive. They must be attached to the sentence in which they belong.  Do not punctuate a dependent clause as an independent clause.  Do not confuse participles or gerunds as verbs. 

  

  

1.  Missing subject

Example: 

(a)  Went to Paris last week.

  

Correction: 

(a)  He went to Paris last week.

 

  

2.  Missing predicate

Example: 

(a)  That young man.

(b)  John hit by a bus. (Participle Phrase Fragment)

  

Correction: 

(a)  That young man is jumping off the bridge.

(b)  John was hit by a bus.

(b)  John, hit by a bus, did not survive.

(b)  John, who was hit by a bus, did not survive.

 

 

3.  Missing subject and predicate:

Example: 

(a)  Unbelievably heavy.

(b)  Traveling to Paris.  Tom was able to find peace in his life. (Participle Phrase Fragment)

Correction: 

(a)  It is unbelievably heavy to carry a bag of sand.

(b) Traveling to Paris, Tom was able to find peace in his life.

 

4.  A subordinate or dependent clause:

Example: 

(a)  He did not go to work.  Because he is sick.  (Subordinate Clause Fragment)

(b)  Although he is such a talented player. 

(c)  Not knowing what to do.  He cried. 

(d)  To prepare for his speech.  (Infinitive Phrase Fragment)

(e)  Yesterday, I saw John.  My high school classmate.  (Appositive Fragment)

Correction: 

(a)  He did not go to work, because he is sick.

(b)  Although he is such a talented player, he lacks the patience to finish a game.

(c)  Not knowing what to do, he cried. 

(d)  To prepare for his speech, he has gone through several sleepless nights. 

(e)  Yesterday, I saw John, my high school classmates. 

 

Note:  Sentence fragments are sometimes acceptable in situations like poetry, quotes, and plays to capture what was actually said or felt.

 

 

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