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Monday, February 18, 2008

What is a fragment?

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.
  • 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

  • because
  • if
  • when
  • although
  • as
  • until
  • since
  • so that
  • 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.


  1. Thank you Mar, this post really helped with my English. I'm no native English speaker. Keep it up.


  2. Now that I am a blogger, I wish I paid more attention during grammar class. I know that I am a terrible writer but I don't know how to change...most of it is probably habit.

    I'll definitely be back to read your How-To's on grammar.

  3. Good news! I will create short How To's, one every week hopefully for those of you who wish a short, simple and easy to understand explanation on grammar terms. Remember, there are lots of exercises and quizzes on my website also. If you want more in depth review click on Prof Cueto's Webpage in the right column.

    Thanks for the feedback.

  4. That is just what I need. I need to know more about English grammar. I am not born to speak to English but I am born to be a learner. Thank you.

  5. Hi Jojo

    Next week-- The comma splice....

  6. HI, I really enjoyed and couldn't stop myself without leaving comment... Beautiful pictures and GRAMMAR. Hope to see you soon :=)


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