Sentence Fragments

What is a sentence fragment?

A sentence fragment is a word, phrase, or dependent clause that is punctuated as a sentence, but the subject, verb, or both may be missing. Though sentence fragments may be used for effect in certain types of writing, fragments are generally not used in academic or professional writing.

How can a sentence fragment be revised to create a complete sentence?

  • Look for misplaced periods that may incorrectly separate words into incomplete sentences.
    • Series of fragments: The student’s paper. So late. Should have started on it sooner.
  • Add the missing subject or verb to create a complete sentence.
    • The student’s paper was turned in late.
  • Join two or more fragments into a complete sentence (subject and predicate must both be included), using appropriate punctuation.
    • The student’s paper was turned in late; she should have started working on it sooner.
  • Combine the fragment with a nearby complete sentence, using appropriate punctuation.
    • If she had not turned her paper in late, the student could have avoided the penalty to her grade.