In order to write a complete sentence, you must include a subject, a verb and a complete thought. If you omit any of these three pieces, you have written a fragment. Therefore, a fragment is the opposite of a complete sentence. If you omit the subject, it is a fragment. If you omit the verb, it is a fragment. If you omit the complete thought, it is a fragment. Now the next important question is "What is a complete thought?" To explain, it is best to look at some examples.
- FRAGMENT (missing a complete thought)
- When he left the house this morning.
- SIMPLE SENTENCE
- He left the house this morning.
To correct the fragment, which is missing the complete thought, I removed the word when. Words that create incomplete thoughts are words called subordinating conjunctions.
There are many subordinators
- so that
- COMPLEX SENTENCE
- When he left the house this morning, I went to sleep.
- Another way to correct this fragment is to add an independent clause, also known as a simple sentence. Again, you need at least one subject, one verb and a complete thought in oder to write a complete sentence.
- To eliminate unintentional fragments, you must always proofread and edit carefully after you complete your rough draft. As you proofread, look at each word in the sentence. You are looking for the presence of three important parts: at least one subject, one verb and a complete thought.
- For further review, you can visit my website and scroll down to the fragment exercises and quizzes.
- If you have questions, post them and I will answer. I will regularly post brief "Grammar How To's" so check back for more.