Fragment Check: How to Fix Sentence Fragments

A sentence fragment is a group of words that looks…

A sentence fragment is a group of words that looks like a sentence but isn’t a complete one. Sentence fragments usually miss a subject or verb or do not express a complete thought.

What are Sentence Fragments?

Fragments are incomplete sentences. They typically consist of two or more words that do not express complete thoughts. A complete sentence must include:

  • A subject (person or thing doing the action).
  • A verb (the action the subject undergoes).
  • A complete thought.

A group of words without these factors is a sentence fragment and cannot stand on its own. Sentence fragments are often left out of speech because they can make writing sound awkward and disjointed. 

However, sentence fragments can be used in casual writing or informal speech. They are less common in formal writing, such as a business letter, because they can confuse readers. 

For that reason, it’s essential to be careful when using sentence fragments. 

The Types of Sentence Fragments

There are three major types of sentence fragments.

1. Sentence Fragment Missing a Subject

A group of words is a sentence fragment when it lacks a subject. The absence of a subject makes the sentence incomplete and challenging for the reader to understand. In the example below, the sentence makes no sense as it does not show ‘who’ is acting.

Fragment: Ran across the room.

Complete: James ran across the room.

2. Sentence fragment missing a verb

A sentence may lack a verb, making it incomplete and meaningless. Example of a sentence fragment that lacks a verb:

Fragment: They lunch after Church.

Complete: They ate lunch after Church.

In the example above, the fragment lacks the verb ‘ate’ and is difficult to understand. However, the introduction of the verb ‘ate’ in the second sentence makes the sentence complete.

3. Sentence fragment that is a dependent clause

A group of words that contain a verb and subject but do not express a complete thought is a fragment. Dependent clauses are sentence fragments that cannot make sense without adding an independent clause.

Fragment: Because he passed the exam.

Correct: John was promoted because he passed the exam.

The fragment contains a verb and a subject in the example above but does not express a complete thought. The introduction of an independent clause makes the sentence complete and meaningful.

Fragment Check: How to identify incomplete sentences

A complete sentence must contain a verb, a subject, and must express a complete thought. When a group of words lacks any of these, it is a sentence fragment.

Identifying sentence fragments by proofreading your work may be challenging and time-consuming. It is also not a guaranteed way to discover incomplete sentences.

To quickly check incomplete sentences in your writing, use online sentence fragment check software. Such software helps you identify sentence fragments and adjust them.

How to Fix a Sentence Fragment

Fixing sentence fragments can be a challenging task. But with the following practices, you can quickly fix a sentence fragment.

1. Your sentence must always have a subject.

A group of words must have a subject to be complete. You can fix a subject fragment by adding a subject to it.

Your sentence must contain a verb

To complete your sentence, introduce the appropriate verb to it. A sentence without a verb makes no sense to the reader and is thus a sentence fragment.

Your sentence should have a dependent and independent clause

A group of words that cannot stand on its own is a dependent clause; they usually begin with subordinate conjunction like because, when, although. To fix a sentence fragment, introduce an independent clause or remove the subordinate conjunction.

A laptop on a brown wooden table, with a hands typing on its keyboard.
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Bottom line

Sentence fragments can be significant in an informal or casual context to convey feelings or emotions. However, it is best to avoid them in formal writing, as it leaves your writing incomplete and meaningless.

A complete sentence must have a subject and a verb and express a complete thought. This article has provided tips on how to fix a fragment to make it a complete sentence.

Frequently asked questions

How do you avoid fragments?

Fragments should not be avoided, since they depend on sentences around them to make sense. It is important that all sentences make sense on their own and make even greater sense when read in context with the sentences that precede and follow. Clarity is guaranteed only then.

What is a fragmented sentence example?

Here is a striking example of a sentence fragment:. Rain doesn’t make a complete thought on its own due to its ominous nature. We wonder what happened to us with this rain.

How do you check if a sentence is a fragment?

A clear subject and accompanying verb phrase or predicate help it get its point across, so it does not need to rely on other parts of the sentence. If the whole thought is not expressed because either the subject or verb is missing, you have a fragment of a sentence.

Does Grammarly check for sentence fragments?

Grammarly and its strengths. You can rest assured that your writing always looks polished and professional with Grammarly Premium’s ability to identify and fix sentence fragments in just a few clicks.

How do you correct a sentence?

Subject-Verb Agreement. A sentence must be grammatically correct, if the subject and verb are both singular or plural. Also, subject and verb must agree in their tense. Subjects in plural form should also be in plural (and vice versa).

How much money does Grammarly make?

One source reports that Grammarly had already earned $10 million a year, three years after it was founded.

How do you fix a sentence?

  • Feel free to add the missing parts. To complete the thought, add a subject or verb.
  • Join Clauses. Make the thought complete by joining the dependent clause with an independent clause.
  • Rewrite the Sentence. I am not making a complete thought out of the sentence.

Does Grammarly fix run on sentences?

Grammarly lets you avoid run-on sentences. In addition to looking for grammatical errors or the clarity of your writing, our writing suggestions flag when sentences are too long and therefore not as readable or understood by your audience.

How do you fix a fragmented sentence?

  • Attach. Attach the fragment to a nearby sentence. I forgot to eat breakfast.
  • Revise. Add whatever is missing – subject, verb, complete thought – to your fragment.
  • Rewrite. The fragment or the entire passage that contains the fragment.

What are the 3 types of sentence fragments?

Three main types of sentence fragments exist: sentences without a subject, sentences without verbs, and subordinate clause fragments.

What are four types of fragments?

  • -ing Fragments
  • Dependent Clauses
  • Infinitive Fragments
  • Relative pronoun fragments
  • Prepositional Phrase Fragments. Fragmentation of prepositions (for, to, during, through, etc.) can result from preposition fragmentation.
  • In subordinate clauses, fragments are created.

How do you fix a run on sentence?

  • Use a period. Use a period to break a sentence into smaller sentences in order to fix a run-on.
  • Use a semicolon
  • Use a comma and a co-ordinate conjunction.
  • An additional subordinate conjunction might be helpful.

How do you correct a dependent word fragment?

If you are using the dependency-word fragment, you can usually just correct it by attaching it to the sentence that follows it or to the phrase that follows suit.

Fragment Check: How to Fix Sentence Fragments

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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