Avoiding fragments Part Two

A GROUP OF WORDS CONTAINING A SUBJECT AND A VERB IS CALLED A CLAUSE. ONLY AN INDEPENDENT CLAUSE CAN STAND ALONE AS A COMPLETE SENTENCE.

a) An independent clause has a subject and a verb.

eg. The book fell from the bookshelf.

b) A dependent clause has a subject and a verb but cannot stand alone because it begins with the following conditional words or word groups:

if, because, when, since, before, after, until, which, as, as if, as soon as, although, though, unless

eg. Because I was sick.

If I cannot get my Porsche started.

who, which, whom, whose, what, that

eg. Frank who was the general manger of the restaurant.

The book on space shuttles that I have been looking for.

The following is an independent clause (a complete sentence):

He ran to the store.

But if we put any of the conditional words in front of it, it becomes a dependent clause (a fragment):

Because he ran to the store.

When he ran to the store.

If he ran to the store.

We can, however, turn these fragments into complete sentences by adding an independent clause (a complete sentence):

Because he ran to the store, he made it there on time.

He tripped and hurt his knee when he ran to the store.

Why was he late if he ran to the store?

EXERCISE:

Mark “I” for an independent clause and “D” for a dependent clause. If the clause is dependent (a fragment), add an independent clause  to make it a complete sentence.

1. I we went to the movies

2. ___                  since I am a student

3. ___                  Frank and Susan are married

4. ___                  although she is a fast runner

5. ___                  if it is a good place to shop

6. ___                  the Rockies look magnificent

NOTE: WHEN A DEPENDENT CLAUSE COMES AT THE BEGINNING OF A SENTENCE, IT IS FOLLOWED BY A COMMA, AND THEN AN INDEPENDENT CLAUSE.

eg.   When he spoke, the audience was silent.

Before they arrived, I set the table.

Since you asked, I will tell you.

HOWEVER, IF THE INDEPENDENT CLAUSE COMES FIRST, A COMMA IS NOT NECESSARY–EXCEPT IF IT IS NECESSARY TO MAKE THE MEANING CLEAR

eg.   The audience was silent when he spoke.

I set the table before they arrived.

I will tell you, since you asked.

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