LEARN A WORD A DAY

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sentence Fragments

Sentence fragments are groups of words that don't express a complete thought. They are only part of a sentence.

On the table.

Over there.

This thing.

If I walk home.

They are fine to use in conversation, but they are a no-no when it comes to any kind of formal writing.

We talk about sentence fragments in contrast to complete sentences.

A complete sentence expresses a complete thought. Here are a few complete sentences.

My hat is on the table.

The dog ran over there.

This thing is bothering me!

I'll call you if I walk home.

But, when a group of words is missing important information, it no longer expresses a compete thought.

There are four reasons why a group of words is a fragment.

1. It is missing a subject.

2. It is missing a verb.

3. It is missing a subject and a verb.

4. It is a subordinate clause.

Let's look at each of those reasons, shall we?


1. Missing Subjects

Subjects tell whom or what the sentence is about.

If the subject is missing, we are left wondering who or what performed the action.

Ran around the tree. (Who ran around the tree?)

Will walk into the room. (Who will walk into the room?)

Shot through the sky. (What shot through the sky?)

We can fix each of those fragments and turn them into sentences by adding a subject.

The dog ran around the tree.

The President will walk into the room.

A rocket shot through the sky.

Yippee! Now they are all complete sentences!


2. Missing Verbs

Verbs tell what the subject did or is.

If the verb is missing, we are left wondering what the subject did or what the subject is.

My little sister. (My little sister did what?)

My cute little dog. (The cute little dog did or is what?)

We can fix these types of fragments by adding a verb.

My little sister ran away.

My cute little dog is cuddly.

Now, both of those groups of words are complete sentences.


3. Missing Subject and Verb

Some fragments are missing both subjects and verbs. That means that we don't know whom the sentence is about or what they did or are.

On the table.

Over there.

Do you know how to change these from fragments into complete sentences?

You guessed it! We need to add a subject and a verb.

The corn is on the table.

My doggie ran over there.

Those two groups of words are now complete sentences.


4. Dependent Clause

Subordinate Clauses (also called dependent clauses) are groups of words that have a subject and a verb, but don't express a complete thought. They are sentence fragments.

Whenever I walk the dog.

Until my little sister walks into the room.

You can fix these kinds of fragments by connecting the dependent clause to an independent clause (a group of words with a subject and a verb that expresses a complete thought).

You can add the independent clause to the beginning or the end of the dependent clause.

Whenever I walk the dog, I feel great.

Here, I added I feel great, an independent clause, after the dependent clause.

If you add your independent clause after the dependent clause, notice that you need to use a comma to separate them.

I will stay here until my little sister walks into the room.

For this one, we added the independent clause I will stay here before the dependent clause. When you do this, you don't need a comma between the two.

Now that you know about sentence fragments, it's time for you to learn about sentence diagramming, or, if you'd like, you can learn more about sentence structure.

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Collection of SPM English Language Question Papers

2005
Terengganu Trial [Paper 1]

2007
Johor Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2], Terengganu Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2], Pahang Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2] [Answers], Melaka Trial 2007 [Paper 1] [Paper 2], TIMES [Paper 1] [Paper 2] SPB [Paper 1] [Paper 2]

2008

Terengganu Mid Year [Paper 1] [Paper 2],
Trial
MRSM Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2], SBP Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2], Kelantan Trial [Paper 1 & 2], Terengganu Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2], Kedah Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2], Pahang Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2], Johor Trial [Paper 1 & 2], Perlis Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2], Sabah Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2], Sarawak Trial [Paper 1 & 2], Melaka Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2]

2009

Terengganu TOV [Paper 1] [Paper 2] Terengganu Mid Year [Paper 1] [Paper 2]
Melaka Trial , Johor Trial , Sabah Trial , Kedah Trial , Perlis Trial , Times , SBP , Pahang Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2]

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