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Fragments

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What Is a Fragment?

  • A fragment is only a piece of a complete thought that has been punctuated like a sentence.
  • Fragments can be phrases or dependent clauses or any incomplete word group.
  • We often think in fragments and use them when we speak, but they are not appropriate in formal writing.
  • Some expert writers use fragments in their writing to show a certain tone or style, but it is technically incorrect.

How to Identify a Fragment?

  • If a sentence is missing either a subject or a verb, it is considered a fragment.

For example:

This is a fragment because there is no subject.

If we add a subject, it is a complete sentence.

This is a fragment because there is no verb.

  • Loves eating vanilla ice cream! (Who loves eating vanilla ice cream?)
  • My dog loves eating vanilla ice cream!
  • Delicious vanilla ice cream!
  • Vanilla ice cream is delicious.

If we add a verb, it is a complete sentence.

  • It's also important that a sentence contain a complete thought. You need to add more information to finish what you are saying.

For example:

This is a fragment because it doesn't finish the thought - you are left wondering: What does the dog do when he eats vanilla ice cream?

  • When my dog eats vanilla ice cream.
  • When my dog eats vanilla ice cream, he gets it all over his face!

Now this is a complete sentence.

How to Correct a Fragment?

1. Connect the fragment to a complete sentence.

For example:

  • Brian was reading his book.
  • In the library.

Here, "In the library" is a fragment. It can be corrected to:

  • Brian was reading his book in the library.

2. Remove words to make a complete sentence.

For example:

  • Since we never do our chores.
  • Our mom always yells at us.

Here, "Since we never do our chores" is a fragment. If you remove "since," it becomes a complete sentence:

  • We never do our chores. Our mom always yells at us.

3. Add words to make a complete sentence.

For example:

  • Because they practice a lot.
  • They win all their games.

Here, "Because they practice a lot" is a fragment. If you add a few words, it will become a complete sentence:

  • The baseball team is well-prepared because they practice a lot. They win all their games.
Summary
  • fragment is only a piece of a complete thought that has been punctuated like a sentence.
  • How to identify fragments:
    • If a sentence is missing either a subject or a verb, it is considered a fragment.
    • It's also important that a sentence contain a complete thought. You need to add more information to finish what you are saying.
  • We can correct fragments in the following ways:
    • Connect the fragment to a complete sentence.
    • Remove words to make a complete sentence.
    • Add words to make a complete sentence.

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