Avoiding Sentence Fragments

Avoiding fragments

We don’t always speak in complete sentences – usually we do not. We do not always text or email each other in complete sentences. However, writing in memos, letters, essays and reports has to be proper.  It is essential that we write in complete sentences. A complete sentence has a subject and a verb.

1. MAKE SURE EVERY SENTENCE HAS A SUBJECT AND A VERB.

eg. Joshua plays football.

The verb, plays, tells what kind of action the subject, Joshua, takes.

Another way to identify the verb is to test if it can be changed to past, present, and future tenses. Joshua played football (past tense). Joshua will play football (future tense).

EXERCISE

In each of the following complete sentences, draw one line under the subject and two lines under the verb.

eg.   1. Ozone levels are decreasing over the north pole.

2. A pizza slice  lies hidden in the refrigerator.

3. Many people read best-selling magazines during the summer.

4. The internet provides writers with useful information.

5. Exercise improves one’s health.

ANOTHER EXERCISE

Mark “C” for a complete sentence. Mark “F” for a fragment.

Make the fragments into complete sentences by adding a subject, a verb, or both. Draw one line under the subject and two lines under the verb.

eg. 1. Doris rents rooms to international students.

2. in the library.

3. Had breakfast already.

4. They won the Super bowl last year.

5. Thomas must have left already.

2. WATCH OUT FOR “ING” WORDS. NO WORD ENDING IN “ING” CAN EVER BE THE COMPLETE VERB OF A SENTENCE.

The following examples are fragments: What could you add to them to make them complete sentences?

1. Sitting on the beach feeding the seagulls.

2. Wondering about his math mark.

3. The woman singing in the shower.

4. Was calling his friends, rounding them up, and handing out tickets for the game.

None of the above is a complete sentence. However, each can be completed by adding a subject and/or verb. Don’t be fooled by length. There is much action in the last example, but we don’t know who is doing all of it.

We will take this a step further in our next blog.

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