Sentence Fragments


Sometimes to understand a word's meaning you need more than a definition.  A set of words that expresses a complete thought, which may be a simple phrase, containing a subject and a verb is called a Sentence.  

A sentence has three requirements: 
  1. a subject 
  2. a verb or a predicate 
  3. a complete thought that can stand on its own.

If teachers have returned your test papers with “frag,” “S.F.,” “R.O.,” or “run-on” written in the margin, you may find that the sentence lacks fragments.
A Sentence Fragment fails to be a sentence which means it cannot stand by itself. A sentence fragment is an incomplete sentence because they lack either a subject or a verb, or both. It does not contain even one independent clause. The most problematic fragments are dependent clauses — they have a subject and a verb, hence look like complete sentences, but they don’t express a complete thought..

Look at these dependent clauses below they beseech for more information to make a complete thought:
  • Because his bike was in the shop (What did he do?)
  • When you finally take the test (What will happen?)
  • Since you asked (Will you get the answer?)
  • If you want to go with jack (What should you do?)
  • After the rain stops (What happens then?)
Each of these examples has a subject, and a verb. So why is the thought incomplete? It’s the first word such as (Because, After, When, Since, If). These words are appropriate to a special class of words called subordinators or subordinating conjunctions.

Subordinating conjunctions - 
  • join two sentences together
  • make one of the sentences dependent on the other for a complete thought (making one a dependent clause)
  • indicate a logical relationship
Recognize the common subordinating conjunctions and the relationships they indicate:
  1. Time: after, before, when, until, as, since, while, whenever
  2. Relation: that, who, which
  3. Comparison or Contrast: although, whereas, though, while, even though, 
  4. Cause or Effect: because, so that, since
  5. Place and Manner: wherever, how, where, however
  6. Possibility or Conditions: if, unless, whether
Every dependent clause needs to be attached to an independent clause hence let’s check on the Example sentences once again:
  • Because his bike was in the shop, John took the cab.
  • When you finally take the test, you will know what the problem is.  
  • Since you asked,it isn't confirmed if Joanna left to Texas. 
  • If you want to go with jack you must be prepared to go to the dance party this evening. 
  • After the rain stops lets go shopping together. 

Types of Sentence

A sentence is the result of connecting sentences with a comma or connecting sentences with no mark of punctuation.
  1. Declarative Sentences
  2. Imperative Sentences
  3. Exclamatory Sentences
  4. Interrogative Sentences
  5. Declarative Sentences

Declarative Sentences

Declarative sentences make a statement to pass on the information or ideas. Formal essays are composed almost entirely of declarative sentences.They are punctuated with a simple period. 

Examples of Declarative Sentences:
  • The concert begins in three hours.
  • Sharon and Chris found a lost puppy.
  • We get lots of snow in the winter.
  • Declarative sentences make a statement.
  • You’re a good man, Charles Brown.
  • Blue is my favourite colour.
  • Hawaii is a tropical climate.
  • Imperative Sentences
Imperative Sentences

Imperative Sentences give commands or requests or they can express a desire or wish. Exclamatory sentences can consist of both single verb or they can be more long and intricate. They are punctuated with a simple period or an exclamation mark. It all depends on the strength of emotion that is being expressed.

Examples of Imperative Sentences:
  • Halt!
  • Watch for oncoming traffic.
  • Mom, buy me a remote car for my birthday. 
  • Please lower your voice.
  • Pick up the book and clean your room.
  • Meet me at the library in an hour.
  • Drop what you’re doing and come have dinner with us!
Exclamatory Sentences

It doesn’t really matter what the emotion is, an exclamatory sentence is the type of sentence needed to express a strong emotion. Exclamatory sentences always end in an exclamation mark.  

Examples of Exclamatory Sentences
  • The river is rising!
  • Please don’t go!
  • I can’t wait for the party!
  • I don’t know what I’ll do if I don’t pass this test!
  • Oh, my goodness, I won!
  • I can’t find the butter!
  • Suddenly, a bear appeared in my path!
  • This is the best day of my life!
Interrogative Sentences

Interrogative sentences are also easy to spot because they always ask a question and end in a question mark.
Examples of Interrogative Sentences:
  • Is it snowing?
  • Do you want Coke or Pepsi?
  • Have you had breakfast?
  • Who are you taking to the prom?
  • You like Italian food, don’t you?
  • When did dinosaurs live?
  • May I borrow your pencil sharpener?

Identifying Sentence Fragments 

It’s easy to identify your sentence fragments keeping the following things in mind. If your sentence does not have a verb, then the sentence is actually a sentence fragment. In such a case ask, "Where's the verb? If it can be underlined. In case the verb has been located, the next step is to look for the subject in your sentence. If there is no subject in the sentence, then it is actually a sentence fragment. In all cases, a subject is essential for a sentence to be complete. A subordinate clause is a clause made known by a subordinating conjunction or a relative pronoun. A subordinate clause is a sentence fragment. 

To help you edit your paper, use the following check list:
  • Find the verb.
  • Find the subject.
  • Ensure the sentence is not a subordinate clause.

Determine which of the following words are sentence fragments and which are complete sentences.
  1. They should see the clothes people wore in the Teen Ages.
  2. Patterns of floral or geometrical shapes popular.
  3. Liked clothes that were half one colour and half another.
  4. Tights of velvet or silk.
  5. The academy frustrated him he could learn in a way that interested him
  6. These people there to study many things.
  7. My favorite Mediterranean spread is hummus it is very garlicky.
  8. When clothes were edged and lined in fur.
  9. On top of the head, would wear a veil, a linen crown, or a small, round hat.
  10. If your parents think today’s fashions are weird.
  11. Ninety-five percent of Antarctica covered with ice.
  12. Current fashions a little boring in comparison.
  13. Examine the ozone layer, sleep patterns, and fish survival in subzero temperatures.
  14. Although scientists and other workers live in Antarctica for about a year at a time.

Sentence Fragment Examples

Below mentioned are a few sentence fragment examples:
  • When we got in the car. We rolled down the windows.
  • Fred was in Paris.
  • I worked from morning until night.
  • Brave Vanessa dipped the tortilla chip into Pedro's infamous hot sauce.
  • Her 20th birthday was approaching. 
  • Jerry felt much better after seeing the doctor.
  • She would have to marry King Joblen of Far Land. 
  • My dog is cute, his name is George. 
  • James counselled his clients in a relaxing environment and encouraged them to meditate after the session.
  • Mom always asked me to walk the dog, who never had to go out anyway.
  • Lea, Natalie and April walked around town and ate ice cream.
  • Martha gave me a computer game for my birthday last week.