Avoiding Sentence Fragments


The Rule:

Sentence fragments are INCOMPLETE sentences. Fragments often can be corrected through the use of a comma or other punctuation; sometimes, though, you may need to rewrite the sentence slightly.

In the following examples, the fragments are underlined.

Examples:

Fragment: I need to get to the Writing Center. Because I can’t figure out my paper’s thesis!
Solution: I need to get to the Writing Center because I can’t figure out my paper’s thesis!
Discussion: The fix for this sentence fragment was simple. Removing the period and connecting the fragment to the main clause made the sentence complete; no new punctuation was needed.

Fragment: Space has many different dangers. Such as aliens, black holes, exploding stars, and a severe lack of oxygen.
Solution: Space has many different dangers, such as aliens, black holes, exploding stars, and a severe lack of oxygen. Discussion:Again, removing the period and connecting the fragment to the main clause with a comma fixes the fragment issue.

Fragment: Our current fire safety plan is incomplete. Which is why we had an emergency family meeting to finish it.
Solution:Our current fire safety plan is incomplete, so we had an emergency family meeting to finish it.
Discussion:Fixing this fragment involved rewriting the sentence and the use of a conjunction (so) and a comma.

Fragment: Toys of all kinds thrown everywhere.
Solution: Toys of all kinds were thrown everywhere.
Discussion: This fragment lacked a verb (an action), so adding one made it a complete sentence.

Fragment: By paying too much attention to the polls can make a political leader unwilling to propose innovative policies.
Solution: Paying too much attention to the polls can make a political leader unwilling to propose innovative policies.
Discussion: Sometimes using prepositions incorrectly can lead to confusing phrases, particularly if the expectation the preposition sets up is not delivered on by the end of the sentence. Simply removing the preposition at the beginning of this sentence fixes the fragment.


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